Learning how to properly measure for weight loss is critical. As engineers, we always like to say, “What gets tracked gets improved.”

In this article, we explain the best weight loss measuring techniques, including information on how to measure, where, and how frequently.

This is how to measure fat loss and weight loss to track your efforts.

Measure For Weight Loss Ryan and Alex Duo Life

how to measure for weight loss

How do I measure myself for weight loss? I am so glad you asked because there are many ways to effectively do it. Measuring and tracking your weight loss makes you significantly more likely to succeed.

Seeing progress reinforces your hard work and provides motivation to stay the course. But, if you don’t measure, you won’t notice progress. Or at least you’ll miss 80% of it. 

Additionally, measuring is an excellent accountability tool. Like we said, what you track you improve. 

According to one study that followed 2,500 women for two years, stepping on the scale every day helped them lose 17 pounds (7.7 kg) more when compared to women who didn’t.

Clearly, this is beneficial, and what’s more, is there are more (and better) ways to measure for weight loss than just the scale.

What to Measure for Weight Loss

In this article, we’ll discuss five extremely beneficial ways to measure your body for weight loss.

For each method, we’ll discuss where to measure, how to measure, and how often to measure when losing weight.

The Five Best Ways to Measure for Weight Loss

These techniques are listed in order of simplicity and importance.

For example, measuring your waist-hip ratio is very simple and measures weight loss in the most critical area. However, using a body fat caliper is still highly effective, but it requires a bit more work.

1. Waist-Hip Ratio
2. Body Fat Scale
3. Scale
4. Body Fat Caliper
5. Full Body Measurements

Two Bonus Ways to Track Weight Loss

These bonus techniques are also incredibly helpful for tracking your weight loss journey.

1. Photos
2. The Blue Zones Vitality Compass

We’ll cover each of these in detail in this article. Additionally, we’ve created a free Measuring for Weight Loss Tracker available for download.

30-Day Ab Challenge Calendar Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Printable Weight Loss Tracker

Download and get instant access to the printable weight loss measuring guide.

Everything you learn in this article simplified into one tracking chart.

A Word to The Wise

Before we dive into how to take measurements for weight loss, we have two tips.

1. Be happy with your weight

I know it can be hard when you’re not at your goal weight, but there’s something to be said about being grateful for the amazing things our bodies do every day for us. 

Be happy with your weight and grateful for your health. We’re all a work in progress, so while we can acknowledge that, we hope you’re still able to cultivate positive feelings about your body.

2. Be patient with weight loss

Losing weight is important and reaching a healthy weight boosts the quality of your life. Excess body fat is connected to numerous public health conditions.

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Diabetes

Would you put in years of work to avoid (or reverse) those conditions? Because losing weight is a slow process. If you’ve gained 20 pounds in the last 10 years, why would you expect to lose it all in 10 months?

Use the below chart to estimate how much weight you can realistically lose per week.

For more guidance on how to lose weight healthily and sustainably, open the below article in a new tab.

Ways to Measure for weight loss

Since your goal is to lose weight, it’s essential to learn how to measure yourself for weight loss. And, you’ve come to the right article.

We’ve listed the best, most effective ways to track your weight loss journey. Use at least two of, if not all, of these weight loss measuring techniques. 

1. Waist-Hip Ratio

As mentioned above, this is a very simple and effective measurement to track meaningful weight loss.

It’s especially important because it focuses on the visceral fat around your abdomen, which is especially harmful to our health.

Visceral fat is deep inside the body, surrounding the abdominal organs, and it increases your risk for medical conditions.

How to measure?

Use a measuring tape and measure your waist circumference in line with your belly button.

Inhale, then exhale fully, add tension to the measuring tape, and record the number.

Use this self-measuring tape. It applies consistent tension for accuracy and makes it easy to take the measurement yourself.

Next, measure the widest part of your hips and record the number. Take this measurement in the nude, or wear the same shorts for consistency.

Walking to Lose Weight Charts Speeds

To calculate your waist-hip ratio, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement.

For men, the ratio should be less than 0.9 and for females, the ratio should be less than 0.85.

Frequency

How often should you measure this when losing weight? Well, this number won’t fluctuate daily.

Unless you have over 50 pounds to lose, it probably won’t change weekly either. Measure your waist-hip ratio once per month. 

For a more in-depth guide on where to measure for weight loss, check out our fitness tracking body measurement guide. 

2. Body Fat Scale

Of all things to measure for weight loss, body fat percentage is arguably the most important metric to track. It’s the fat we want to lose, right?

Fortunately, it’s easy to measure with a scale.

Body fat percentage is different from your BMI, or Body Mass Index. BMI is just your height divided by your weight, it’s not your body composition.

While your insurance company might use BMI as a screening or diagnostic tool to measure your health, you can ignore it here. It only indicates if you are underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. And, frankly, it’s not always accurate even doing that.

Instead, measure your body fat percentage. This is your body composition and is a critical measurement for weight loss tracking.

How to measure?

To measure body fat percentage, you’ll need a special scale. Or, maybe your gym already has one. The most accurate ones are “in-body” scales that use bio-impedance to measure your fat percentage and body composition.

If you need a personal, in-home scale, this one has stellar reviews, is the clear #1 bestseller, and provides similar readings as the professional equipment.

Below are the calculations (fortunately, the scale will do the math for you) and health targets for body fat percentage. 

Frequency

Take this measurement weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. 

3. Use a Scale Daily

This one is hotly debated in the fitness and nutrition industry. Should you check daily, or trust the process and avoid being disheartened by the number on the scale?

It’s true, the scale alone is not the best tool for measuring your weight loss journey. And if you’re working out and building muscle, it’s even more useless.

You might be losing body fat and gaining muscle weight and the scale tells you you’re going nowhere. But, does that mean we shouldn’t use it?

According to science, we should.

Studies have found that people who weigh themselves every day, weigh less than people who never weigh themselves.

The following two studies were cited in my favorite weight loss and lifestyle book, The Blue Zones Solution.

One study analyzed 63 individuals for 6 months. People who stepped on the scale weekly weighed 7 pounds less than those who weighed themselves once a month and those who stepped on the scale daily weighed 15 pounds less.

Another study followed 2,500 women for two years. Women who self-weighed daily lost 17 pounds more after two years compared to women who didn’t.

How to measure?

Step on the scale in your birthday suit at the same time every day, ideally first thing.

If you don’t already have a scale, you might as well buy this one (pictured below) so you can measure body fat percentage as well.

4. Body Fat Caliper

We already discussed the importance of body fat percentage and how you should track it with a scale. 

While the scale is easier and potentially more accurate, there is one flaw. You don’t know where you’re losing body fat. Is it from your belly, thighs, chest, or arms?

Even though a skin-fold body fat caliper is more work, you can pinch anywhere on your body and track changes in your “problem areas.” It’s an amazing weight loss measuring tool.

How to measure?

This skin-fold body fat caliper (pictured below) is the only one we recommend using. It’s made with rigid plastic (any bending will make the measurement inaccurate) and comes with a simple instruction manual.

Follow the instruction manual, which will teach you where and how to measure yourself. A chart will be provided so that you can convert your measurements to body fat percent.

Frequency

Check your body fat percentage with the caliper once per month. 

The goal for men is 18% or less, and the goal for females is 26% or less.

5. Full Body Measurements

If fitness is a major part of your weight loss journey, it’s best to track your progress with a body measurement chart. Then, if you are gaining inches in your thighs, you know that leg day is working. 

Measuring your body for weight loss and for fitness is one of the single best ways to track your efforts. We’re huge fans. 

That’s why we wrote an entire article dedicated to learning how to measure your body (free body measurement chart included).

How to measure your body for weight loss?

Like the scale, you want to take your body measurements at the same time of the day.

Here’s where we recommend measuring for weight loss. 

  • Waist
  • Hip
  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Legs

Here is a picture showing the proper locations.

Frequency

How often should I measure myself when losing weight?

If you’re working out consistently, you can take body measurements weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Bonus Weight Loss Measurement Techniques

The previous five ways to measure weight loss are the best. But, how else can I measure for weight loss?

There are two more ways that we use to track our health, fitness, and weight loss goals.

We highly recommend you incorporate these tracking methods into your weight loss journey.

1. Take Photos

This is so simple but so game-changing.

Even if you think it’s weird, just do it. Nobody else needs to see the photos. In our experience, photos are the best way to see the weight loss transformation, and that makes for a huge motivation boost!

Forgive me for being short with you… just take the damn photos.

‘After’ photos are more rewarding when you have a ‘before’ photo. So, how about you go take a ‘before’ photo right now?

Trust us. Alex was thrilled to see her pre-wedding ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos. She was much less excited about her numbers, but when she saw the photos she knew all her hard work had paid off.

Fitness Tracking Body Measurements_Ryan and Alex Duo Life_Body Beast Transformation

How take photos?

Take photos in workout clothes or a swimsuit. The more skin the more opportunity to see your weight loss transformation. Relax and pose naturally in the photos. 

Take photos from as many angles as you’d like – front, side, back, and at a twist. Put your hands at your sides, on your hips, or flex. This is for you. It’s not for social media unless you decide to share. 

Frequency

Take photos every 1-3 months. 

2. The Blue Zones Vitality Compass

This free tool calculates healthy life expectancy and provides lifestyle tips to improve.

The 5-minute longevity test will make you aware of healthy behaviors, almost all of which are connected to weight loss, and show how much they influence your lifespan.

It’s the best longevity predictor out there, and it uses data gathered from the world’s longest-living populations.

How to take it?

Go to the Blue Zones Vitality Compass page and start the survey.

Since it’s a longevity test, it begins by asking questions that are less related to weight loss such as your income, level of education, and city you live in.

Then you’ll answer questions related to diet, activity level, stressors, sleep, and social activity. These factors affect both your longevity and your weight loss goals.

When you finish, you’ll have to enter your email address to see your results. Here are my results.

When I click “Add 4.7 More Years” the app provides tons of great advice.

Frequency

If you look closely at the above picture, you’ll see that my life expectancy dropped by 0.3 years since the last time I took the test. Must be stress from the renovation.

Retake it at least once per year and it will track your lifestyle improvements.

30-Day Ab Challenge Calendar Ryan and Alex Duo Life

Printable Weight Loss Tracker

Download and get instant access to the printable weight loss measuring guide.

Everything you learn in this article simplified into one tracking chart.

Closing Thoughts

We hope our guide on to measuring for weight loss will help you track progress and reach your goals. 

As you know, there is more to weight loss than just tracking these numbers, such as exercise, nutrition, sleep, and hydration to name a few. Since you’re motivated by the numbers, you should also check our our 30-Day Weight Loss Challenge

As engineers with a combined twelve years of health coaching experience, we needed to create a data-driven way for our clients to sustainably lose weight in 30 days.

The goal of our 30-day weight loss plan (now completed by several thousand people) is to strip away the fluff and track numbers related to weight loss for one month.

You have never tried our 5 numbers approach before. And it’s going to work!

For questions regarding our weight loss measuring techniques, please ask in the comments.

For more helpful weight loss articles, such as our zero calorie foods list, or our walking to lose weight plan, head over to our Healthy Lifestyle page.

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30-Day Weight Loss Challenge Tracker Form V2 Ryan and Alex Duo Life

30-Day Weight Loss Challenge

As engineers with ten years of health coaching experience, we needed to create a data-driven way for our clients to sustain weight loss. The number on the scale matters for weight loss, but other numbers are significantly more important.

Too many weight loss challenges involve a long list of what you can, cannot, and need to do every day. We’ve reduced the overwhelm and only require you to track five numbers a day — calories, steps, fiber, sleep, waistline.

In this 30-Day Weight Loss Challenge, you'll track five numbers daily to give you the highest return for sustainable weight loss.

Learn more or start the free version.

Buy Weight Loss Challenge

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Hey we're Ryan and Alex

The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”

After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.

The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.

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