How to measure your success best

The problem with the scales

Have you ever experienced this: You took heart and stepped on the scales, but again the display does not show what you expected? Let’s be honest: Many of us connect our well-being to a simple number on a small device. Because we learned it that way. Because it gives us quick information. Because we can do it always and at any time. Because it is simple.

… Too simple! Although weighing has always been the measuring method number 1 for most of us, it is not meaningful on its own.

This is because the body weight is a more complex phenomenon and reflects the sum of quite different and also variable components of your body: Bones, muscles, organs, fat, water, blood etc. All this is reflected in this number which you call your body weight.

Considering that your body consists of about 60% water, which is influenced by countless factors (among others salt/caffeine consumption, carbohydrate intake, sport, stress, time of day, female cycle), every fluctuation literally weighs a great deal. All of this cannot be fully represented by your scales.


Why weighing (alone) is not enough

Sometimes nothing seems to happen for weeks – at least not on the scales. But maybe already in your body! In the meantime you may have built up muscles and lost fat without this being reflected in your body weight. And this fact opens the door to other methods to measure your success!

That does not mean for you to throw your scales out of the window at the next opportunity. It is not an devilish device or an infamous liar. But it tells only half the story, if at all. It is blind to other aspects that are at least as important as the weight. You cannot see the wood for the trees.

Then why should I measure?

The weight should therefore be only one part of the information about your body. If health is a puzzle of 20 pieces, body weight is just one of them. So we should try to complete this puzzle. And in this way measuring other parts of the body is a promising step. And you don’t need fancy equipment for that either, anyone can do it: A simple tape measure is enough.

Measuring allows you to see and document the changes even if the scale indicates a standstill or is driving you crazy. You can see how quickly and, above all, where you lose fat. Not even a body fat analysis can do this, because it cannot distinguish between “good” fat (under the skin) and “bad” fat (on the belly). Sure, measuring alone still doesn’t tell you anything about the exact composition of your body, but it’s a complex matter. However, decreasing measurements while staying the same weight are an indication that you have gained muscles while losing fat. From now on, you will also measure your progress in inches instead of only pounds.


How do I measure correctly?

The best way is to measure the parts of your body whose changes you want to monitor. Chest, waist and hips are considered to be more or less standard, upper arms and thighs a useful supplement. The same applies here as with the scales: It’s quality not quantity that counts! Measure yourself only 1-2 times a month, best always under the same conditions: In the morning or between, not directly after the meals and naked or always in the same, tight-fitting clothes.

And as stupid as it sounds: Write down your results! This is the only way to track your progress over time. That’s why we built the new feature in our BodyFast app. Then you only need a measuring tape made of fabric which should be soft and flexible. We recommend this body tape measure:

And you’re ready to go! Stand relaxed in front of a mirror, keep your legs closed and breathe normally. It’s even better if a friend, the partner or a family member helps you. It is best to work your way through from top to bottom. Don’t over-tighten or over-loosen the tape measure and measure only one side of your body at a time.


Where to measure

Upper arm

Measure the upper arm at the widest point halfway between elbow and shoulder joint.


Miss the chest at the widest point. For most men this is under the armpits, for most women at the nipple line.


Measure the waist at the narrowest point, about 1 inch above the navel. Close the legs, exhale gently and measure the value at the end of exhalation.


Close the legs and measure the hip at the level of the pelvic bones – at the widest point.


Measure the thigh at the widest point halfway between knee and hip.


Measuring success – What really counts

You may be asking yourself: Are my measurements normal? YES, OF COURSE! Just as the BMI is not very meaningful because it does not sufficiently do justice to human diversity, so every human being has a different body shape. A comparison with others is neither possible nor necessary!

Probably you are striving for a certain target weight or some supposedly ideal measurements. Be certain: You don’t have to get it out of your head once and for all. But ask yourself some questions: Is it really the number alone that counts in the end? A few figures that will make you forever happy? Doubtful! Rather, it is about consciously perceiving the change of the body and experiencing personal progress first-hand.

Success does not measure itself in pounds or inches. Success is when you are proud of yourself and your development and are comfortable in your own skin!



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4 thoughts on “How to measure your success best

  1. Joanna Reply

    Thanks for this article. I’m following a method based on BMR (the just cut it method), 7th month now, and I’m halfway through. I knew that I there would come day, when I will stop losing pounds so I wanted to check my body composition. I have downloaded your app and it’s the best 🙂

    • Jenny M. Post authorReply

      Hi Joanna,
      Thank you for your feedback and congratulations on your successes!
      What might also help to overcome a plateau is to vary your weekly plan a bit to avoid habituation and be more effective.
      Keep going, you’re on the right track 😉

    • Svenja Taubert Reply

      Hi Shannon, thanks for your feedback.
      When losing weight, body fat is broken down evenly across the body, so you will definitely also get rid of back and belly fat.
      Kind regards, your BodyFast-Team

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