Fitness Articles

How to Take Body Measurements

Track Your Progress with a Measuring Tape

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It's easy to get discouraged when you work so hard to lose weight and your efforts don't pay off on the scale. Seeing the same number week after week can make you want to drown your sorrows in a pint of Haagen-Daz. But wait! Before you pick up that spoon, take your measurements.

Body measurements can be a useful way to track your progress. Many times you'll see a loss of inches even if the scale isn't moving. To ensure accuracy, measure in exactly the same place and under the same conditions each time. Here are some instructions and tips to help you. When you're done measuring, you can track your measurements on SparkPeople to see how your body changes over time!

Common Body Measurements

Bust: Place the measuring tape across your nipples and measure around the largest part of your chest. Be sure to keep the tape parallel to the floor.

Chest: Place the measuring tape just under your breasts/pecs and measure around the torso while keeping the tape parallel to the floor.

Waist: Place the measuring tape about a 1/2 inch above your bellybutton (at the narrowest part of your waist) to measure around your torso. When measuring your waist, exhale and measure before inhaling again.

Hips: Place the measuring tape across the widest part of your hips/buttocks and measure all the way around while keeping the tape parallel to the floor.

  • You can use your waist and hip measurements to calculate your Waist to Hip ratio, an assessment that can help you determine your health risk. Use SparkPeople's Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator to determine your ratio.
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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is a certified personal trainer, certified health coach and advanced health & fitness specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • Whether you set your weight goal for all the weight you want to lose or you set your goal in smaller increments, you can always change your weight goal at any time to better suit your needs.

    To change your weight goal:
    Click on “Start” in the top left corner of the screen.
    You’ll now see your Start page.
    At the top of your Start page, you'll see "Step 1, Track Your Progress."
    In that section, you'll see "Track Weight & Other Measurements" with a button just below it for "Edit Goals."
    Click on "Edit Goals."
    Scroll down the page to see the "Set Your Weight Goal" section.
    In the "Target Weight" text box, enter your new weight goal.
    If necessary, you can also change your weight goal date by selecting a new date in the "By When" drop-down menus.
    Click "Save Your Changes" at the bottom of the page.
    Note: If you do not have a weight goal listed or see the "my Goals & Progress" section on the left side of your start page, you have signed up for the Spark5 program, which is for weight maintenance only. With the Spark5 program, you are not able to create or edit a weight goal.

    If you are in the Spark5 program, but want to create a weight goal, you will need to reset your program. Once you reset, you will need to choose the weight loss program and set up your goals, including your weight goal. - 5/31/2014 2:22:24 PM
  • FARFROMHOMETOO
    Why isn't BUST a common measurment on your track measurments screen? You have waist, hips, thigh etc... but no Bust, yet you say on your LEARN MORE that it is a common measurment. - 5/19/2014 3:25:24 PM
  • ANDCOWSFLY
    For those of you asking about changing your start weight, I entered mine wrong the first time too. I went back to that day and changed it to the correct weight. You may be able to blank it out as well just update your weight on today's entry. - 5/13/2014 4:45:01 PM
  • CATSUNITE
    It's nice that there's a place to leave comments, but many are questions. WHERE are the answers???? - 4/30/2014 8:50:07 AM
  • I know I am not suppose to but because we were on vacation I was not exercising and eating normal, well Tue when I got on the scale (day we got home) I was the same 192 today, Fri I am 190.. Go figure! - 4/11/2014 8:29:16 PM
  • I want ot change my start weight to a previous date-I have the wrong one in there.

    Can I edit that? - 3/24/2014 10:23:41 AM
  • TISHERSELFXXX
    need to start w/ new weight/goal - 3/22/2014 9:44:49 AM
  • How do I change my start weight? - 3/18/2014 12:07:25 PM
  • DERMICK13
    At the beginning I entered an incorrect weight. How do I change this? - 3/10/2014 11:33:29 AM
  • AJ--HUNTER
    I started 3/4 and put in the wrong weight how do I correct this mistake? - 3/5/2014 7:50:05 PM
  • AUTUMNSKY7
    I have changed my weight goal end date, which I have done before but last time my progress report changed the goal line to reflect this changed, this time it didn't. Do you know why this is? I did log out and log back in. - 3/2/2014 1:34:19 PM
  • At the beginning I entered the incorrect weight and how can i correct this? - 2/21/2014 9:55:35 AM
  • I lost 5 pounds but don't know how to enter it ! Yeah me! - 2/19/2014 5:23:18 PM
  • BOBVICKER
    Indeed - 2/17/2014 3:00:56 PM
  • I spent a lot of time clicking everything and finally figured it out. Sorry - 1/30/2014 11:59:45 AM
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