“What gets measured gets managed”
While this course is not a weight loss course, changes in body shape and body weight are very common when we change our eating habits. To see and track how our body does change, we will be measuring in 2 different ways over the coming weeks…
- Weight – simply how much we weigh on the scales.
- Circumference – using a tape measure to measure our body shape.
Depending on how our body changes (either increasing or decreasing fat or muscle), the scales and tape measurements should either increase or decrease. We can discuss what these changes mean as time goes by if you like.
This is a very basic measurement. Stand on the scales and record our overall weight. But before I go on, I want to say a very important thing…
Don’t be scared/nervous/anxious of stepping on to the scales.
I have spoken to so many people who refuse to step on the scales through anxiety or fear. This is a very common thing and totally understandable. But please don’t let it have that power over you. The more we are scared/anxious, the more power we are giving it and as a result, the weaker we are making ourselves. Don’t forget, you have already come this far, so bloody well done!
- Be consistent in everything.
- Use the same set of scales each time. All scales will differ from each other a small amount. Eliminate this variable by using the same scales in the same environment on the same surface.
- Weigh yourself at the same time of day. The best time is after you have got out of bed, gone to the bathroom and before you have had breakfast. Eliminate the variable of different foods in your digestive system.
- Weigh yourself in the same clothes. Ideally, first thing in the morning you will be in just your PJ’s or underwear. Different clothes weigh different, so eliminate that variable.
- Make sure you realise that weight change is never a straight line. As long as the general trend of the change is going in the right direction, don’t fret about minor details.
- It weighs everything. This includes body fat, muscles, blood, bone, stomach contents etc. And there is no way to tell which of these are changing over time.
- For women, body weight can change a lot depending on the time of the month. This can mask what is happening to changes in body fat.
The scales will give us a measure of what every part of us weighs overall. The tape measure will give us a better idea of what is happening to the shape of our body.
To do this, you will need a tailors tape measure and a little bit of practice. Don’t worry, you will get the hang of it very quickly.
You will be taking three measurements from your body. The chest, waist and hips. Starting from the top…
Measuring your chest
- Either measure directly onto your skin or over tight, form fitting clothes.
- Find your nipples and wrap the tape measure around your whole chest, directly over your nipples.
- Make sure the tape measure is flat (not twisted)
- Make sure the tape measure is parallel to the floor (not at a wonky angle).
- Make sure it is not loose and hanging off the body, but not tight and digging into you either.
- Make sure you are standing up tall and breathing normally (don’t suck anything in or stick anything out).
- Record the measurement.
Measuring your waist
- Do exactly the same as above, but measure around your belly button (not above or below it, but around it).
Measuring your hips
- Do exactly the same as above, but measuring the widest part of your hips/bum.
- If you don’t measure the same places each time, you can get inconsistent results. That is why we choose consistent landmarks such as nipples and belly button where possible
- It can take a bit of practice to get consistent measurements.
- The clothes we are wearing while measuring can cause the measurements to vary.
- We can fudge the numbers if we deliberately (or subconsciously) suck/puff ourselves in/out.
Each week, make sure you sit down for 10 minutes or so and do a debrief. This is a way you can look back on what you have been doing and what the results of those actions are. I want you to weigh and measure yourself, then ask yourself 3 simple questions:
- What has worked well over the last week? eg – Have you managed to minimise “bad” habits, or increase a “good” habit?
- What has not worked well over the last week? eg – Did you slide back on a “good” habit, or did something get in the way of your goal?
- What 1 or 2 things are you going to change for the better this week? eg – Start on a new “good” habit, or overcome a particular barrier that got in the way of progress?
You can use a document like the one below to keep track of this each week. Over time, this document will become a valuable resource, helping motivate yourself during hard times, identifying things that have/haven’t worked and seeing how far you have come.
You can either:
- Download and print it out for free.
- Use a diary or journal and write it in there.
Once you know how to debrief each week, go to the next page to learn about making a food diary.
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