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 an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

Member Comments

  • I was off exercise due to being ill for 5 weeks and gained wt. How can i update my weight and my goal weight without making it Public information right now. ? - 5/24/2016 12:53:18 PM
  • Oh, apparently this is not where you get answers. I see a lot of questions with no responses. I'll just send a message to customer service. Thanks anyway. - 3/8/2016 2:36:00 PM
  • Could someone please answer the difference between Body Fat % and Body Fat Mass? They are two measurements under the trackers that seem the same to me. I'm trying to enter my info from my scale but what's the difference????? Here's a screenshot before you answer so you know exactly what I am asking. I have to share the link from my Google Photos here - it's safe. https://goo.gl/ph
    otos/oAdFvPRX
    eFCMAtsx8 - 3/8/2016 2:34:45 PM
  • Could someone please answer the difference between Body Fat % and Body Fat Mass? They are two measurements under the trackers that seem the same to me. I'm trying to enter my info from my scale but what's the difference????? Here's a screenshot before you answer so you know exactly what I am asking. I have to share the link from my Google Photos here - it's safe. https://goo.gl/ph
    otos/oAdFvPRX
    eFCMAtsx8 - 3/8/2016 2:34:45 PM
  • How do I change the ticker to pounds not kilograms? - 2/11/2016 10:00:51 AM
  • How do I add bust to my measurements?
    - 1/12/2016 4:37:33 PM
  • Why isn't BUST a common measurment on your track measurments screen? You have waist, hips, thigh etc... but no Bust, - 1/11/2016 9:55:03 PM
  • I'm an apple ..been that way my whole life, but I've been proportionate. now trying to lose weight is going to be extremely harder and more frustrating. To lose my middle, I need to do more core work which is difficult with so many issues and exercises I am unable to do now not having the flexibility I used to after having 2 back surgeries, I am limited.
    I am cleared to do anything I can tolerate. I just wish Doctors were more helpful.
    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks! - 11/23/2015 9:23:59 AM
  • trying to enter my new weight for the week somehow cannot figure how to enter my weight change , want to enter my new for the week.
    - 11/1/2015 4:06:01 AM
  • JELLYBEANSODA
    To change your starting weight, click on the START tab on the top left corner of the page. On your start page, there is an 'edit your goal' button right under the 'track your weight' option, with a tiny scale icon. Select to edit your weight goals. On the next page you are redirected to, the last heading says 'Set your weight goal', under the weight goal is also the option to change your starting weight and starting date. - 7/27/2015 6:20:34 AM
  • How do I edit my goal weight and where do I do it?
    - 5/25/2015 7:47:45 AM
  • why is there such a Hugh difference in calories burned when I wear my spark activity on my shoe as apposed to my bra. It almost doubles on shoe. Is it possible to burn 1343 calories walking 6 kms like it calculates, just seems like a lot. That's with counter on shoe if it was on my bra it would only be about half of that . - 5/16/2015 7:16:37 AM
  • My status still shows my "last weight" of 186 that was back in 1999. I have gained the weight back, updated my profile page with current weight, etc., but that 186 is still showing up as my last weight. ANY WAY POSSIBLE to get that off of there? - 5/2/2015 9:50:46 AM
  • how do I edit my goal weight, I am not seeing how to do that - 1/7/2015 12:19:58 AM
  • Very helpful information. I wasn't sure how to measure the chest/bust part. This article is very useful. Thanks! - 9/17/2014 3:28:40 PM

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