How to Use a Weight Loss Chart

White tape measure (tape measuring length in meters and centimeters)
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One important ingredient of successful weight loss is keeping track of your progress and monitoring things like your weight, measurements and body fat on a regular basis. Checking in on these things from time to time can keep you on your game and let you know if you're slipping out of your healthy habits. A weight loss chart can be a helpful tool in keeping tracking of progress, avoiding falling back on bad habits, and increasing motivation.

How to Make a Weight Loss Chart

It's up to you how often you want to take these measurements. You might want to weigh yourself once a week (although many people do this daily) and take your measurements every 4 weeks to check your progress. You can decide exactly what you'd like included on your personalized weight loss chart. Some common things to include are:

  • Date
  • Weight
  • Body fat
  • Resting Heart Rate
  • Circumference Measurements: waist, hips, chest, abs, arms, thighs, calves.

How to Measure Body Fat

There are a variety of ways to get your body fat, some more accurate than others. The simplest is to use a body fat calculator, although it's only an estimate. You can also get your body fat tested by a personal trainer at the gym or at some universities.

Tracking body fat and measuring your body composition can help in measuring your progress throughout a weight loss plan. As you're progressing in your new routine, measuring your body fat allows you to better understand the physical changes your body is undergoing.

How to Measure Resting Heart Rate

Your heart rate reflects how hard your heart works during exercise and tracking your resting heart rate (RHR) over time can help you see your fitness gains as it gets lower and lower. RHR is usually between 50 and 100 beats per minute. Athletes and those who exercise regularly will typically have a lower RHR while sedentary people will have a higher RHR.

Your goal is to lower your resting heart rate.

You should try to measure your heart rate first thing in the morning before you get busy with other things and your heart rate rises. Simply count how many times your heart beats in 1 minute. If you can't measure it first thing in the morning, make sure you measure it after you've been resting (at least 4 hours since exercise or other vigorous activity) and a couple of hours after eating. It helps if you lie down 30 minutes before you take the measurement. Ideally, you want to take your RHR for 5 days to get an average.

How to Take Body Measurements

Taking body measurements is very important for properly tracking your progress, and taking accurate body measurements will help you best understand exactly how your body composition is changing and how your physical activity and dietary changes are taking effect.

  • Waist: Measure your waist without holding the tape too tightly (or too loosely). As a rough guide, your waist is the narrowest part of your trunk or approximately 1 inch above your belly button.
  • Hips: Measure the hips around the fullest part of your buttocks with your heels together.
  • Thighs: Measure the upper thighs, just below where the buttocks merge into the back thigh.
  • Chest: Measure around the fullest part of the chest.

Reasons to Track More Than Your Weight

A few things about your weight. You know that the scale measures everything—your bones, muscles, organs, anything you ate or drank, etc. For this reason, scale weight doesn't always tell you if you're making progress.

  • If you're lifting weights, you may be adding muscle to your body while losing fat, something that doesn't always show up on the scale.
  • Monitoring your weight is important for making sure you're not going in the wrong direction (i.e., gaining weight), but it may not reflect all the changes that are happening in your body.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you measure weight loss on a chart?

Measure your weight loss by tracking your weight, body fat, resting heart rate, and circumference measurements and logging them all on a weight loss chart. Do these measurements regularly and keep tabs on how your fitness and weight loss routine is progressing.

How do you create a weight loss chart in Excel?

Create a new spreadsheet document in Excel. In the top row, list the factors you'll be tracking (weight, body fat, resting heart rate, and all measurements). In the left column, list the dates you'll be performing the measurements. Record and list your weight, body fat, heart rate, and measurements in the intersecting block for each date.

How do you make a weight loss reward chart?

Mark milestones along your weight loss journey by using a reward chart. Stay motivated and reward yourself with a new book, a weekend getaway, or a self-care day. Do it when you reach major moments such as working out for three days in a row or hitting a new fitness personal record.

A Word From Verywell

Don't get discouraged if the scale doesn't change the way you think it should. Focus more on what you're doing and on your measurements. Print and record new measurements every 4 weeks. Try to avoid measuring every day as small changes typically don't show up on measuring tape. Your body is changing even if you can't see it yet.

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