Are you trying to lose weight through diet or exercise? Do you rely on a weighing scale to keep track of your progress? A study published in the International Journal of Obesity indicated that a weighing scale isn’t enough to measure healthy weight loss effectively. You will need other tools and indicators to ensure you’re losing weight properly.
Here is how you can Track Your Weight Loss
Measure Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body mass index (BMI) factors both your weight and height to calculate your body fat in the simplest, easiest, and non-invasive way. Doctors and medical workers use BMI to determine if you are in the underweight (below 18.5), normal (18.5 to 24.9), overweight (25 to 29.9), or obese (30 and beyond) range.
But because BMI does not directly measure body fat, doctors don’t rely on it as a diagnostic tool for weight problems or a person’s health. BMI also doesn’t account for the muscles that your body develops if you keep with your fitness plan. If you’ve bulked up after a few months of diet and exercise, your BMI might register under the obese range.
Hence, BMI is best tracked at the beginning of your fitness training as it sets the standards you have to achieve. You can measure your BMI using the CDC’s calculator.
Feeling the Fit of Your Clothes
Another easy and non-invasive way to determine if you’re on track in your plan to lose weight is to feel the fit of your clothes. While there is no scientific or medical basis for this, some fitness trainers attest that it’s a good motivating factor. People trying to lose weight definitely think it’s an achievement if they can finally wear smaller-sized pants with ease.
Sometimes, however, your clothes might fit better or feel loose but the weight on the scale remains unchanged. It could be because your body fat has turned into muscle mass, which is a good thing (muscle is denser than fat and weighs more by volume). You might, however, want to change your exercise routines to tone your body, especially around the waist, abdomen, and the arms.
Taking Your Circumference Measurements
Measuring the circumference of your arms, chest, waist, hips, and other body parts is also a good and easy way to determine loss of body fat. As with checking the fit of your clothes, however, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your weight loss plan isn’t working if the measurements haven’t changed. It could simply indicate that your body hasn’t started losing fat in areas where you want to slim down. Thus, it’s important to take regular measurements to keep track of how you’re doing.
Bust. Take the measurement around the nipple line. Relax and don’t tighten the tape measure.
Chest. Take the measurement under your bust area.
Waist. Take the measurement half an inch above the belly button, where the smallest part of your waist should be.
Hips, thighs, and calves. Take the measurement around the widest area.
Upper arm and forearm. Do the same and measure the largest part.
Checking Your Blood Pressure
People who are overweight or obese are at higher risk of developing high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease. Early action to curb unhealthy lifestyle habits (like eating a healthier diet, exercising, and losing weight) can go a long way in preventing the need for blood pressure medication down the line.
A study has shown that a nine-pound drop can lower blood pressure by 4.5 points and if the person manages to lose about seven pounds a year, then blood pressure can lower to 11 points. Monitoring and understanding your blood pressure reading can give you a general idea of your overall cardiovascular health and physical fitness as well as indicate other areas where weight loss is paying off.
With today’s technology, it’s also easier to measure and track your progress using installed fitness apps on your smartphone. You can customize your app so that it notifies you if you have failed to achieve your goals for the day. You can even share and connect with people who have the same fitness goals as you do so you can guide, support, and motivate each other.