Hello again, savvy savers! Today I am starting another new blog series, Battle Of The Bulge, Budget-Style! I will be focusing on ways to live a healthier, more active lifestyle while be able to afford clean, organic, obtainable foods! I believe this series can be worthwhile for many, who like myself, wish to get more in shape, not through crash-dieting but by small attainable lifestyle changes! All of the changes I propose will be free or affordable, and most meals and plans will contain couponed savings or deals! Fads are fancy, but coupons are a commitment! With that said, here is where I am currently: I have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. I am looking to lose 60 lbs., find affordable non-gym membership options for working out, and change the way I consume food; this includes meals, snacks, and splurges!
Today I am 32 years young, I am 5’6”, and weight 199 lbs; I am down two pounds since last week. I walk my dogs but beyond this am not terribly active. My lifestyle causes sedentary behaviors; I work-from-home, blog, run two internet businesses, and perform advocacy work online as well. I am an internet-based excuser! Today finds my continued yoga, meditation, walking my dogs, using a pedometer, portioning meals, and now I also measure myself monthly!
For this post, I wanted to discuss a new lifestyle strategy I have implemented, monthly measurement logs. Using a seamstress tape, I measure my neck, arms, bust, waist, hips, thighs, and calves, then log my progress each month, good or bad, to see a visible result of my diet strategy. I have found this method daunting at first, but now, in my weight lose, find that seeing my actual results, is amazing and euphoric!
More reasons to measure yourself monthly, as part of a healthy lifestyle plan are:
- There are the best ways to track yourself OTHER than a scale! I generally do not weigh myself. I find that in the process of both losing weight and toning up, there will be periods where you will not show progress on a scale, but you will have instant results when using seamstress tape!
- A photo is worth a thousand words. Stand in front of a mirror in a bathing suit or your underwear with your cell phone camera and take a picture. Then turn to the side and take another picture of your profile view. Store your photos in an album on your computer, and over time, using a slideshow, you will see results more effectively and concretely than by way of a scale; between each segment of photos show a photo of your seamstress tape measurements for effective record keeping.
When you should measure:
- Ideally in the morning, before you eat.
- Measure yourself after your periods. It is normal for most women to slightly gain weight before their period. Delay weighing yourself until after the period.
- Weighing yourself right after exercise is useless because your weight can fluctuate wildly due to changes in water content. You may weigh heavier or lighter than normal.
- If you weigh yourself at night you are also weighing any food you have eaten and any liquids you have drunk during the day.
- Ideally once a week, at the same time of the day. However, if you are tracking your weight loss using a software tool, you should weigh yourself as often as the software requires because the software needs this information to generate recommendations; I use fitbit and also implement a bi-weekly assessment for measurements as well as sleep patterns.
- Weight fluctuates during the month; this is particularly true for women. Be patient. Remember that real weight loss – that is, loss of fat rather than water – occurs slowly, if you follow our recommendations for healthy weight loss.
- Your average weekly loss rate (1.0-1.5 lb) will be more efficient if you weigh every two weeks.
- Don’t get discouraged by short-term fluctuations.
How to measure yourself?
- Use the same measuring tape each time you weigh yourself.
What If the Tape Indicates a Weight Gain?
- You may be weighing extra water. You could have consumed more salt than usual. Your body will naturally retain some water due to the extra sodium intake. Remember, moderation and time when measuring yourself.
- If you have been working out, you may have gained muscle. Bear in mind that muscle is more dense than fat.
- Extra muscle is a good thing because it will help burn off the fat in the longer term. If you have been working out then proceed to taking your measurements.
- Use a flexible measuring tape as used by dressmakers. It can be as long as you need. If you use a plastic or cloth tape, bear in mind that these materials may stretch over time.
- Wear the thinnest clothes possible, or none at all, so as not to add to the measurements you take.
- Try to measure yourself in front of a full-length mirror so that you can see if the tape is positioned correctly.
- Perhaps you could find another person to help with the measuring. They would be able to read the results more easily.
- Keep your muscles relaxed while measuring.
- When measuring, pull the tape just tight enough to keep it from sagging.
What Exactly Should You Measure?
The most common measurements include the circumference of your chest, biceps, waist, hips and thighs. Sometimes the neck, forearm and calf are also measured. Here’s what I check for:
- Neck: this will help you see immediate water lose weight; measure around the largest part of your neck.
- Shoulders: this will help you see toning results further into your weight lose.
- Chest: this will help you see toning results further into your weight loss; for women bust reduction is also a great indicator of carb and fat reduction as well; measure around the largest part of your chest.
- Biceps: this will help you see toning results further into your weight loss; measure midway between the top of your shoulder and elbow.
- Waist: this will help you see immediate results, by way of clothe sizing; measure at the narrowest point, approximately one inch above your belly button. No cheating! Don’t pull in your belly or stick it out.
- Hips: this will help you see toning results further into your weight loss; Measure your hips around the largest part of your buttocks with your heels together.
- Thighs: this will help you see toning results further into your weight lose; Thighs are measured separately. Stand with your legs slightly apart. Measure your upper leg where the circumference is largest.
All-in-all, you will be surprised at how an inch lose in any of these areas will alter the way your clothes will fit, your attitude will change, and you health will better! Taking your body measurements is an excellent way to keep track of your changing shape as you get fitter. Body weight by itself is not a good indicator of improved fitness. I highly recommend pushing your boundaries to the side, and see how you measure up to your own personal, obtainable healthy lifestyle goals!
Here’s to the Journey!