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 monitoring your weight, measurements, and body fat on a regular basis. Checking in on these can keep you on your game and let you know if you're slipping out of your healthy habits. A weight loss chart can help you track progress, avoid falling back on bad habits, and increase 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 to include on your personalized weight loss chart. You might record:

  • Weight
  • Body fat
  • Resting heart rate
  • Measurements (waist, hips, chest, abs, arms, thighs, calves)

How to Measure Body Fat

There are a variety of ways to determine your body fat percentage, 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 your gym or at some university research labs.

Tracking body fat can help you evaluate your progress on 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. If, for example, you're losing fat and gaining muscle, you may not see lower numbers on the scale. But you're still making changes to your body composition.

How to Measure Resting Heart Rate

Your heart rate reflects how hard your heart works during exercise. 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; a lower RHR indicates that your heart is working efficiently.

Measure your heart rate first thing in the morning before you start moving around 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 one to two hours since exercise or other vigorous activity). Ideally, you should take your RHR for 5 days to get an average.

How to Take Body Measurements

Taking body measurements is important for tracking your progress. Accurate body measurements will help you understand exactly how your body composition is changing and how your physical activity and dietary changes are affecting you.

  • WaistMeasure 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.

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. 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.

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. D'Souza A, Bucchi A, Johnsen AB, et al. Exercise training reduces resting heart rate via downregulation of the funny channel HCN4. Nat Commun. 2014;5(1):3775. doi:10.1038/ncomms4775

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."