Keeping track of your weight loss can be full of mixed emotions. If your numbers go down: elation. If your numbers go up: despair. So no one can be blamed for wondering if they are using the best tool for measuring weight loss, a tape measure or a weigh scale?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Perhaps most surprisingly, neither one might be giving you an accurate measurement of how much weight you’ve lost.
Still, you need a way to know how well your weight management program is working.
So let’s take a closer look at some of the details of each method to find out more about which one is best.
A tape measure may be the best method to use if your goal is to fit into your clothes better. It can confirm what you’re seeing in the mirror. Or even show your progress that you don’t see.
But you must be careful to measure exactly the same spot on your body every time. Also, if you pull the tape a little tighter or looser than before, that too will affect the measurement. So getting an accurate comparison can be tricky.
To get the most accurate measurement of your progress from a tape measure, you should measure four or five different areas of your body every two weeks. The areas you can measure include your upper arms, thighs, waist and hips. Again, do everything you can to measure exactly the same spot, with the same tension on the tape, every time
If you’re trying to lose weight for health or lifestyle reasons, a weight scale may be the best option for you. Even if your scale might be off by a few pounds, it still shows your progress.
But it can be a big mistake to judge all your efforts only by the number on the scale. Your weight can change from one day to another for many reasons beyond what you’re doing to lose weight. For example, if you eat foods that are high in sodium and/or carbohydrates, your body will retain water. And that water retention will show on your weight scale no matter what you’re doing to lose weight.
Some of the other factors that can affect your weight, but that aren’t directly related to your weight loss efforts, include the time of day you weigh yourself, how much water you drink and, for women, where you are in your monthly cycle.
So Which One is Best: Weigh Scale or Tape Measure?
Each method has its pluses and minuses. Ultimately, the weight scale may be the most accurate because there is no risk that you’re not measuring the same spot, or using the same tension on the tape. Still, you must be aware that weight shifts on the scale may not be due to anything you’re doing, or not doing, to lose weight.
If there is one way to improve the accuracy of both methods, it is to look at your progress over time and not let one or two ‘blips’ in your measurement get you down. Even if you’re not using your tape measure in the same place every time, if you’re really making progress, it will show up eventually.
To learn more about healthily losing weight, and getting the support to stay on track, visit your nearest Herbal One location and speak with one of our nutrition counsellors.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article Should You Track Calories Or Macros?