Women's Health

Discover everything you need to know about women’s nutrition in this section devoted solely to woman’s issues. Topics covered include weight gain during menopause, and tips on how to detect and avoid breast cancer.

Women's Body Measurements for Weight Loss

Learning how to take accurate body measurements can help you track progress, assess body fat percentage, and stay motivated throughout your entire weight loss journey.

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Learning how to take accurate body measurements can help track progress, assess body fat changes, and even select tailored clothing.

Use the following guidelines and tips to take accurate female body measurements!

Why Take Body Measurements?

A scale is a common measure to track weight loss progress. But weight naturally ebbs and flows throughout the day based on a multitude of factors, including hydration and bathroom patterns.

The scale considers all body weight, too. This includes organs, fluids, bone, muscles, and fat. So really, the scale does not represent true fat loss or gain. It also discredits muscle gain if following a strength training program.

Taking body measurements is a more accurate representation of body transformation and changes in composition. This especially serves true when taking measurements properly and tracking.

How to Take Women's Body Measurements

When taking women's body measurements, use these tips for improved accuracy.

Use a cloth measuring tape for a more exact reading.

A rigid metal tape may skew measurement readings, so use a cloth measuring tape instead.

Avoid using a measurement tape that stretches, too, as this may cause inaccurate measurements.

Place the measuring tape properly around the intended body part.

Hold the tape measure level around the body and roughly parallel to the floor. It is recommended to take body measurements while standing and against bare skin as opposed to over clothes.

Also, do not pull the tape too tight, nor drape too loosely. Ideally, the tape should be slightly snug and no more than one finger should fit through it.

Track progress on a chart after taking body measurements.

Lastly, after taking a measurement, write it down to ensure it is not forgotten. Document into a body measurement chart to track progress every 4 weeks or so.

Because while changes may not be readily apparent to the eye, a tape measure can help reveal the truth. What's more, they often yield a pleasant surprise!

Truly, observing the body's transformation over time can spark ongoing motivation to achieve weight goals.

Specific Body Measurements for Women

Common measurements include the chest, waist, hips, thighs, and inseam:

• Chest: Place one end of the tape measure around the fullest part of the bust. Then, wrap the tape measure under the armpits. It should also be over the shoulder blades and back-to-front for an accurate chest circumference.

• Waist: A waist circumference measures waist size just above the belly button and below the rib cage. Circle the tape measure around the waist, much like a belt at the natural waistline. When taking the measurement, relax the breath and do not suck in the stomach.

The measurement considers fat distribution in the abdomen and is a strong predictor of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Women are advised to keep waist circumference under 35 inches.

• Hips: Starting at one hip, wrap the tape measure around the widest part of the hipbone. Circle it around the glutes and the other hip before returning back to the start point. Standing in front of a mirror for this measurement can help ensure the tape measure is level.

With hip and waist measurements, calculate the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the ideal WHR for women is less than 0.85.

• Thighs: Circle the tape measure around the widest and highest part of the thigh. Then, wrap it back around to the front. This measurement, especially, should be performed while standing for optimal accuracy.

• Inseam: The inseam simply refers to the length from the uppermost point of the inner thigh down to the ankle. Alternatively, ask for help from a friend or a fitting expert at a woman's clothing store.

Again, use these body measurements to track progress when dieting, exercising, or other goals aiming for. And instead of aiming for an unrealistic body image, use all measurements as a guide to bolster progress towards good health.

Truly, too, health is much more than the number on the scale. It can be sized by boosted energy, improvements in cholesterol levels, and simply feeling a greater sense of overall wellbeing!

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on November 14, 2015. Updated on November 02, 2019.

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