Fitness Articles

How to Take Body Measurements

Track Your Progress with a Measuring Tape

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.
Continued ›
Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

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

  • 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
    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
  • 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
    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
  • 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
    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

x Lose 10 Pounds by March 24! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.