How to Take Basic Health Measurements
“Treat life like a series of experiments.” Derek Sivers
The very basics of bio-hacking, and the simplest health measures, are weight and girths
In our course, Formula 7, we build in an evaluation week every 8 weeks, and think that every eight weeks is an idea time frame to re-evaluate these most basic measurements.
I know a man who didn’t weigh himself for 6 years, and was absolutely shocked to learn he had gained 40 pounds. Weighing and measuring regularly can be a self motivating way of keeping ourselves on a good healthy track.
So, here’s some thoughts on taking your weight:
1. Ignore people who try to claim “weight doesn’t matter.” While it certainly isn’t the be all and end all of health, the American Heart Association assures us that if we are more than 20 pounds overweight we are shortening our life span, and increasing our risk of heart disease and other illnesses.
The key is to not get too emotional about it, or let it be a source of negativity or reminder of past discouragements or failed diets. If you can take a Zen-like approach of measuring without judging, then calmly work on your health habits, and re-evaluate in eight weeks, weighing can be come a positive, rewarding experience.
Tips about weighing:
1. Weigh at the same time each day. The body can fluctuate a few pounds over the course of the day, so weighing first thing in the morning, before eating, is recommended.
2. Weigh in the buff. Clothes add weight. Weigh yourself in your birthday suit.
3. Use an accurate scale. If you can turn off your scale and re-weigh yourself and get a different result, chuck it. Some digital scales are so inaccurate that you can step on and get one measurement, then turn it off and get on again to discover it’s off by as much as 2-4 pounds. Check yours to be sure it’s accurate.
The most important health measurements are:
-Upper right thigh
These should also be measured every eight weeks, and in some ways will tell you more than the scale. For example, it’s not uncommon for a person who sets out to lose weight to find that after eight weeks in the gym they haven’t lost any weight, but their chest and shoulders are bigger, their waist is smaller, and they feel like a million bucks.
What has happened is that they have lost fat and gained muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. So if hitting the gym is part of your weight loss journey, measurements are critical as they will show you how your body is being re-shaped and improved, even while the pounds may be staying on, creating an illusion of lack of success.
Tips on measuring:
-Use a simple flexible measuring tape.
-When possible, have somebody else do the measuring, so you can stand with your arms hanging naturally at your sides
-Try to take the measurements at the largest possible point
-Take your waist measurement right at your belly button so you have a good reference point each time.
-Create a simple health binder where you keep track of these and other important elements related to your health, so that it’s easy to reference them later.
And like I said before, take them, right them down, then forget them! The focus should be on living a healthy lifestyle, and weight and measurements will improve all by themselves as a natural by product of making good decisions!
To create serious, but simple and methodical improvements in your health, make sure and sign up for our free course, Formula 7! It’s an easy, effective, and fun way to get in shape! Click here to get on the notification list.