If you are trying to lose weight, waist size measurements are an excellent way of gauging whether your current program is helping you achieve your goals.
The scale can be inaccurate when you consider water weight, muscle mass, etc. It is hard to accurately measure body fat on a regular basis (calipers, bod pod). Everyone is able to measure their waist and with inexpensive equipment!
There are a couple of different ways to measure your waist
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For all measurements, you will need a seamstress tape and preferably someone to help or a mirror. You will always measure from the right side of your body. When you find the markers (described below) you will wrap the tape around the waist, make sure it is even all the way around, and pull so that it is snug, not tight.
Always check the back side of the person because the tape tends to go crooked. You should be able to stick your finger between the skin and the tape and feel that it is snug. If you can’t or the tape leaves indentions, it is too tight. There should not be any gaps either. All measurements should be rounded down to the nearest half inch.
The first way to measure is the traditional waist measurement. To measure here, you want to mark the narrowest part of the waist between your umbilical and your xyphoid process. After the tape is set, inhale big, and on the exhale, take the measurement.
The second way is an abdominal measurement. You will find the iliac crest (top of hip) and place the tape directly above it. Again, when the tape is set, inhale big, and take the measurement on the exhale.
Now that we have our waist measurements, why is this so important? Here are 5 things that the scale might not tell you:
1. It tells us where body fat is placed around your body.
For the waist specifically, for men >37 inches and women >31.5 inches, your health is at risk.
If you are a male >40 inches and a female > 34.5 inches, you are at high risk for health issues. The deposits of fat in the abdominal area are an indicator that internal fat may be effecting the heart, kidneys, liver, and pancreas, all increasing the risk of chronic disease.
Remember what was mentioned above about the scale? There are many factors that can contribute to that number…and it may not be as accurate as you think! Your body can fluctuate between +-5-10 lbs simply due to water weight.
As you are gaining muscle, your body is becoming more dense. Ultimately, the scale won’t move much but you will be getting smaller…and so will your waist!
3. Life Expectancy.
The larger your waist, the shorter you live. For males >43 inches, they are at a 52% greater risk of death then men with a 37 inch waist. For females >37 inches, they are at an 80% higher risk of death than women with a 27.5 in waist.
The estimated life expectancy lost is approximately 3-5 years for both men and women.
4. Pants size.
There is good and bad news here. The bad – you can’t rely on clothing for an actual waist measurement.
Think of it like this: if you have a 32 inch waist and you buy pants that have a 32 inch, they have the potential to not stay up. You would have to buy 30 inch pants to hold them up!
The good news, though, is that your clothes will always fit better when you are making progress and the scale is lying!
5. Immediate, accurate feedback.
The scale fluctuates. BMI doesn’t factor muscle mass into their measurement. The waist measurement is what it is.
Remember, if you don’t like your number, you can fix this! Utilize the help of Watch Fit and their experts to come up with a plan that works for you!