For many weight-loss patients, standing on the scale can be a frustrating experience, especially when you feel as if you’re working hard and are not seeing an improvement in pounds lost.
At times when scale readings do not seem to make sense, you can turn to take body measurements to track your weight loss more accurately and effectively.
Weight loss happens differently for everyone. Some patients will drop a number of pounds immediately following surgery as a result of having a smaller stomach and eating smaller portions; whereas others may start losing weight after starting a fitness routine. If you’re exercising regularly, it’s important to remember that body fat takes up more space on the body than lean muscle. As you start converting fat into muscle, your body weight may stay the same for a while, and instead, you may start losing inches in various places all over your body.
To better understand the difference between pounds of fat and pounds of lean muscle, imagine the difference in appearance between a pound of lean meat and a pound of gelatin. A pound of lean meat is more compact and smaller in appearance — whereas a pound of gelatin is larger in size and jiggles when it moves. Would you rather your body composition contain mass that resembles lean meat, or would you rather have the gelatin?
Follow these tips to obtain the most accurate body measurements:
- Plan on taking body measurements on the same day every month. As long as you’re working hard, a month provides you with the time needed to improve your results from the month before. Taking monthly measurements will also allow you to set and accomplish realistic weight-loss goals.
- Wear the same, thin clothing each time you take measurements or wear no clothing for the most accurate results.
- Use a flexible measuring tape.
- Relax your muscles and exhibit good posture while taking measurements.
- Take measurements of your neck, shoulders, chest, wrist, upper arm, forearm, waist, hips, thighs, and calves.
- Ask a close friend or family member to help you take measurements.
Additionally, take note of other cues that may indicate you’re losing weight and making good progress. If your clothes are starting to fit looser, and you feel more vibrant and energetic on a daily basis, you’re most likely doing very well with your weight-loss program! As long as you continue to stay consistent with eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, you’ll be sure to meet your weight-loss goals soon.