Losing Weight? Use a Tape Measure to Track Progress

Successful weightloss comes from knowing what you're doing

Take Body Measurements The Old-Fashioned Way!

Use a tape measure to track the inches you lose in your weight-loss programme by measuring key areas. Weighing scales don't tell the full story!

We talk a lot about the weighing scales not being the holy grail of weight-loss/fat-loss.

There are a few good reasons for that.

The scales tell us how much we weigh, and not what condition we’re in. They say nothing about the width of our shoulders, how muscular we are or how much of our bodyweight is fat.

We can’t “see” weight. We CAN see our shape, and that’s how we judge ourselves. It’s what we see in the mirror that makes us feel good or bad about ourselves.

Most of us could be heavier, but be in better condition and look better.

When we’re trying hard to get into better shape, it’s really important for us psychologically to track our progress and to have a reliable way to measure this.

One of the best DIY methods of measuring is the humble measuring tape.

We’re not saying to ditch the scales, they’re important, especially if we’ve a lot of weight to lose. The more weight we’ve to lose, the more accurate a representation the scales give us.

As you get fitter, leaner and tighter, with more muscle mass and less fat, the scales are less relevant as a fat-loss measure.

At this stage we need to use skin fold testing, DEXA scans and other methods.

So, to keep things simple, and to just concentrate on inches and the shape of our body, we can use the measuring tape.

Record all of the measurements so that you can compare for progress. Don’t put the measurements into any templates that you find on the internet that say they’ll calculate your body fat. They’re not accurate.

For a complete picture of your progress when taking body measurements, measure yourself in 8-10 different places.

For a quick test, just measure chest, waist and hips, including either lower or upper body measurements – depending on your problem area (e.g. thighs, arms).

Before you start measuring, remember to:

  1. Use a non-stretchable tape

  2. Make sure the tape measure is level around your body and parallel to the floor

  3. Keep tape close to your skin without depressing it.

  4. It’s always better to have someone else do it, but you can do it yourself.


  • Bust: Measure all the way around your bust and back on the line of your nipples.(Men can omit)

  • Chest: Measure directly under your breasts or pectorals, as high up as possible.

  • Waist: Measure at its narrowest point width-wise, usually just above the navel.

  • Hips: Measure around the widest part of the hipbones.

  • Midway: Measure midway between the widest part of your hips and your waist.

  • Thighs: Measure around fullest part of upper leg while standing

  • Knees: Measure immediately above the knee.

  • Calves: Measure around fullest part.

  • Upper arm: Measure above your elbows – around fullest part.

  • Forearms: Measure below your elbows – around fullest part.

Re-measure yourself every couple of weeks and chart your progress.

Remember, you should be more interested in the trend rather that the precise numbers.

A spreadsheet is ideal because it can total all of your results automatically.

Seeing progress, properly measured gives us a great boost, and we recommend it.

Download our free excel calculator and record sheet here.


Track you weight loss weekly

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