Most of us hate stepping on the dreaded scales. We have often got it down to an art, having figured out exactly at what point of the day we are at our lightest, and using that as a true picture of our overall weight. Some of us have enough will power to not step on the scales every day (if you have digital scales in particular, it can be really hard to not just have a quick check in the morning), knowing that weight fluctuates quite significantly between days, which is why it is better to stick to fewer measurements. But the reality is that scales are not actually the best way to tell whether or not you’re losing weight.
If you go to your doctor or if you decide to seek help from a dietitian, they will take some anthropometric measurements. These can include weight, height, BMI, waist circumference, skin fold measurements, etc. Changes in some of these anthropometric measurements may be a better indicator of overall health improvement versus your weight on the scale.
Luckily, there are many other measurements that you can use as well. Let’s take a look at some of these.
We all know about the BMI. It is a reasonably simple calculation that measures your weight to height ratio. The downside of this, therefore, is that you do still have to stop on the scales to measure it. But, overall, as a general indication, it tells you whether you are underweight, normal, overweight, obese, or beyond. The BMI as come under a lot of criticism as of late, however.
BMI (body mass index), which is based on the height and weight of a person, is an inaccurate measure of body fat content and does not take into account muscle mass, bone density, overall body composition, and racial and sex differences, say researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
The Waist Circumference
The waist circumference is another pretty good tool for measurement. This doesn’t really tell you whether you overall weight is okay or not, but it does measure your abdominal fat very well. Abdominal fat is the dangerous type of fat and that is what you should be trying to get rid of if you want to lose weight. As a result, while it may not be something you enjoy in terms of seeing the results of all your hard work (progress is usually very slow, because abdominal fat is stubborn fat), it is one of the best types of measurements.
The measurement of waist circumference provides information regarding fat topography – where body fat is stored. This is important because people who carry their weight centrally are particularly at risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Measuring pretty much everything is believed to be by far the best indication of whether or not you’re losing weight. And by losing weight, most of us mean that our bodies become more beautiful, not truly the number that it says on the scales. To properly measure your body, you need a tape measure, a caliper, scales, and a pen and paper. Choose a specific day during the week to measure yourself and a specific time, and stick to that. Step on the scales, measure your thighs, your hips, your waist, your chest, and your upper arms, and note all of these down. This is where you will really see whether or not your efforts are working and, if so, where they are working as well. It is a much better way, overall, to determine you actually are losing weight.