Understanding Your Measurements and Progress

This program is to improve your health. Weight-related health problems get better when your body fat goes down. The only way to know if your body fat is going down is to measure it! Therefore, measuring yourself is important to understand if your diet program is working.

What if I find weighing myself upsetting?

Taking your weight can be upsetting for some people. Let’s take a moment to reflect on that. It would be best if you can measure your weight during this program. But, if getting on the scale upsets you, it is important that you manage those feelings and make a plan that helps you.

In the past, you may have felt disappointed if you didn’t see a change in weight. Especially if you had been trying hard to lose. This can happen for a few reasons. It may be that you tried a “fad diet” that is hard or impractical to follow. Or, the approach is just not working because the approach is wrong- a lot of bad information about weight loss is out there. Another possibility is your efforts are working, it just isn’t showing yet in the measurements (more on this later, see “What my Measurements Mean” below).

Taking measurements may also be stressful if you feel shame about having fat. But, did you know that there are over 90 different reasons that someone carries more fat? Some reasons for having more fat are related to how your body works, and some are related to your surroundings. Many of these reasons aren’t under your control, so blaming yourself for your weight is not fair or useful because it’s actually not your fault.

You may also dislike taking your weight because of shame about your ability to control your weight. You may have heard from others that losing weight should be simple or easy. But if that were true, everyone would be thin!

Losing weight is not easy and that is why you are in this program. You are taking the right step in keeping your weight under control by working with a medical professional who can give you guidance and tools to help you do so effectively. There is no shame in getting healthy.

If knowing all of this, you still have mixed feelings about measuring your weight and body fat, talk with your doctor. Very strong feelings of shame or concern over your weight and shape can mean you need more support. Also, be open minded to ways you can take measurements to know how you are doing but mitigate any negative feelings. Is there a friend or family member, or trusted healthcare provider than can take them for you to help you through it? Make a plan that’s right for you about how and when you’ll take your measurements.

What measurements should I take?

Here are the different kinds of measurements to take.

Waist Fat stored on your waist is the worst for your health. This program will reduce it.
Hip This program can help reduce fat around your hips. You can check this reduction by measuring around the widest part of the hips.
Weight Your weight is made up of fat, muscle, bone, water, and organs. This program will reduce the total amount of fat you have. Because the total fat is reduced, your weight will also go down.
Body Fat Percent. A special kind of scale in the clinic can measure how much of your body is made up of fat. This program will reduce your total body fat.

What My Measurements Mean- Answers to Common Questions

If my measurements haven’t changed since my last weigh-in, does it mean my diet isn’t working?

Even when a diet is working, weight loss may not happen for a few days. Your measurements will hold steady for a while, and then suddenly drop. Weight loss happens in a step-wise fashion, not a straight line, so it may not change every time you weigh yourself. The important thing is to not panic, and stay the course!

Why do my weight and measurements fluctuate from day to day?

If you take your measurements very often, you will notice that they change from day to day. This is normal. Weight changes when our body holds on to water, which can happen from travel, salt intake, or stage of the monthly cycle for women, as just a few examples. Waist circumference can also change if we are bloated from constipation or gas.

It’s important to understand the cause of day to day changes is not related to the diet and your progress. Instead of worrying about day to day changes, focus on long-term progress. If you have not seen any change in the right direction in any measurement in a month’s time, that is when you may want to discuss it with your doctor and troubleshoot what you have been doing.

What does it mean if my weight doesn’t change, but my waist and hip measurement goes down?

If your waist and/or hip measures are going down, that is a good sign you are losing body fat. This can happen even when your weight does not change. Many things influence weight, like how much water your body is storing, so just because your weight is not changing does not mean you are not losing fat. Waist and hip measures, or a body fat measurement from your local clinic or body fat scale, are the most trusty measure of fat loss.

Why is my weight loss slow?

Everyone’s body responds to dietary treatment differently. You may have in your mind a specific goal for weight loss per week or per month, and it is good to have a goal. Just remember that no one can make a plan that guarantees a specific rate of weight loss because it is impossible to guess how you as an individual might respond.

Weight loss can also slow down over time. If you have lost weight many times before, it may be slower each time. If you are older than you were last time you lost weight, age can also make weight loss slower. Also, if you are later in the stages of weight loss, it always happens fast at first and then slows down. That is normal and nothing to worry about.

You may be tempted to try to lose weight faster. But, faster weight loss can have complications. It requires a more strict diet than can have incomplete nutrition, which is not good for your health. Also, fast weight loss can result in more muscle loss and loss of organ mass, which can also be bad for health. So a moderate pace of weight loss is good.

How much weight should I lose in a week? In a month?

Healthy weight loss usually happens at 1-2 pounds per week. But remember, everyone responds differently to dietary weight loss treatment so your rate may be slower or faster. Also, it may not come down in even amounts each week. For example, it is possible that nothing changes in the first week but it decreases suddenly by 3-4 pounds at the end of a two week time period.

The important thing to look for is that at least one of your measurements is moving in the right direction within a two week period. If it doesn’t, talk with your doctor. It is also important to make sure you are not losing too fast. So if weight comes off very fast, also mention that to your doctor.

What can I do to lose fat from my waist?

Many people are losing weight specifically to lose stomach fat. Unfortunately, there is no way to make the body lose fat from a certain place on the body first. Fat is lost from different places for different people.

The good news is that eventually, as you lose more and more fat, stomach fat will eventually also be lost. There is just no way to make that happen first. For some it may come early, for some it may come later in the process.