If you’re trying to lose weight you will want to look at your options available to calculate and monitor your weight loss. If you’re working out as well as dieting your body will be changing. For example, you may be building up your muscles and as muscle is denser than fat it could increase your weight even though you’re slimming down.
Different ways to calculate weight loss including BMI
Your methods to calculate weight loss include:
- weight alone
- your BMI
- waist or hip circumference
- body fat ratio and skin fold thickness
These can be used alone or together to gain a more accurate picture of your weight loss. The choice is yours and will be dependent upon your personal preferences.
Measuring your weight alone is simple and allows you to easily calculate how much weight you’ve lost by keeping a record of your weight on a regular basis. You can calculate your weight loss percentage by using the formula: pounds lost divided by starting weight, then multiply the result by 100.
The downside to this method is that body weight scales measure everything including your fat, muscle, bones, organs and even food and drinks that you’ve just had. In addition, muscle weighs more than fat so as you exercise and start to gain muscle you may see an increase in weight.
It’s best to weigh yourself in the morning after using the toilet and before breakfast. This way you are monitoring your weight when it’s most likely to be comparable.
BMI (Body Mass Index)
Your BMI is a measurement of your body weight in relation to your height. You can measure and calculate your BMI with reasonable accuracy at home. BMI values fall into different weight categories that are well established, based on population figures. BMI can be used to monitor your risk of obesity related illnesses.
You can use a BMI calculator to simply find out your BMI. You can regularly monitor your BMI using this tool. As you lose weight your BMI figure will also reduce. It may also give you added encouragement as you move from one BMI weight category to the next.
Waist or hip circumference
You can track your waist or hip circumference to calculate your weight loss. It’s simple to do but you must make sure you always measure at the same point. For the waist you should measure half an inch above your belly button or at the smallest part of your waist and, for hips measure around the biggest part of your hips.
Changes in waist circumference over time can indicate an increase or decrease in abdominal fat. You will also feel your clothes tighten or become too loose which will indicate your weight change.
Body fat ratio and skin fold thickness
Your body fat ratio lets you know how much body fat you have and monitoring this figure can be a useful part of your weight loss monitoring toolbox. It gives you the ratio of lean body mass (bones, muscles, hair, water) to fat body mass.
Tracking your body fat every four to eight weeks is an excellent method of making sure that you're losing fat and gaining muscle.
To measure body fat or skin fold thickness you’ll need special equipment. This can include: a DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) scan (measures bone density as well as body fat percentage), hydrostatic (underwater) weighing, bioelectrical impedance scales or callipers to measure skinfold thickness at several areas of your body.
Types of weight loss calculator
There are a number of different types of online weight loss calculator to help you evaluate your current weight situation and to help calculate and monitor your weight loss.
An ideal body weight calculator will provide you with your ideal weight and could be used to set your ultimate goal.
A BMI calculator simply requires you to input your height and weight and will compute your current BMI and track your BMI as you lose weight. There are many body fat calculators online if you choose to monitor your body fat and skin fold thickness as indicators of weight loss. They make it easy to calculate the results of a pinch test but make sure you use the same online body fat calculator as there are a number of different equations that they may use.
Ensure you keep a log of all your weight measurements from your chosen weight loss calculator, so that you can see the progress you have made in losing weight from your baseline measurement. You could use a journal or there are apps available to make this easy and accessible. You can then celebrate your success as your reach interim targets before reaching your end goal.