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4 Ways to Track Your Weight Loss Progress

Take Your Measurements


Updated July 16, 2009

Try these tricks to make weighing yourself a useful and more positive experience:

  • Weigh yourself first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.
  • Weigh yourself once a month instead of daily or weekly to give your body time to respond to your weight loss program. The scale won't reflect small changes happening in your body composition.
  • Remember, the scale weighs everything. Just because your scale weight hasn't changed doesn't mean you aren't making progress.
  • Use scale weight along with body fat percentage for a more accurate view of your progress

If the scale freaks you out and body fat testing isn't an option, your next best choice is taking your measurements.

Take Your Measurements

This is one of my favorite ways of tracking progress because it doesn't require any fancy equipment and anyone can do it. Taking your measurements at certain areas can give you an idea of where you're losing fat, which is important since we all lose fat in different areas and in a different order. Taking your measurements can help reassure you that things are happening--even if you're not losing fat exactly where you want just yet.

Start by wearing tight fitting clothing (or no clothing) and make a note of what you're wearing so you know to wear the same clothes the next time you measure. Here's how to do it:

  • Bust: Measure around the chest right at the nipple line, but don't pull the tape too tight.
  • Chest: Measure just under your bust
  • Waist: Measure a half-inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist
  • Hips: Place tape measure around the biggest part of your hips
  • Thighs: Measure around the biggest part of each thigh
  • Calves: Measure around the largest part of each calf
  • Upper arm: Measure around the largest part of each arm above the elbow
  • Forearm: Measure around the largest part of the arm below the elbow.

You can use this Progress Chart to record your measurements. Take them again once a week or once a month to see if you're losing inches.

Eyeball It

It may seem obvious, but don't overlook one of the simplest ways to track progress--how you look and how your clothes fit. You may want to take a picture of yourself wearing a bathing suit and keep it in your weight loss journal. Each month, take a new picture...you'll be surprised at how many changes you notice in a picture as opposed to just seeing yourself in the mirror. You can also use your clothes to keep track of your progress. Choose pants, shorts and a shirt and try them on every week or month to see how they fit.

Use one or all of the methods above to keep track of how you're doing, keeping in mind that realistic goals are essential for your success. And don't forget, it takes time to lose weight so don't panic if you don't drop 10 pounds in a week. Most people don't see significant results for weeks or even months. If you're losing weight the right way, your progress will be slow and steady.

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