Weight Loss Support - How Do you Measure Your Waist?




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Stopfat
07-07-2011, 02:32 PM
How are you supposed to measure your waste?

I just watched a youtube video where the woman said you measure right on your navel--then she said something confusing. She said "if you have any rolls you are trying to maneuver around, measure right around the widest part of your body."

When I was a kid--we measured around the spot above the naval because it was the smallest part of the waist. I am confused. Plus--your waste is often not the "widest part of your body" anyway--so I don't know what the youtube lady was talking about.

Edit: Lol--I just realized that I was using the wrong word-- I mean "waist." I really don't want to measure my "waste"!


Here's a link to the said video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pjjRvY7iKw


zoodoo613
07-07-2011, 02:46 PM
Thank goodness! I mean, I know some people are stricter than I am about their diets, but that's taking things a bit far!

I say don't listen to her. Measure yourself someplace repeatable, as it you'll be able to fiind that spot again. I have a spot on me that's definitely my waist, and thats where I measure.

Stopfat
07-07-2011, 02:53 PM
Oh my gosh! I just looked on the WIN website (Weight Control Information Network)--and it looks pretty legit...

It says you are supposed to measure the spot right above the hip bone! That sounds like the biggest part of the waist!

Oh--my hip bones go up to a little above my belly button--so I was freaking out for nothing.

Alright--I'm sticking to an inch above my belly button. Phew.

Zoodoo--I agree. If I measure using my belly button--which is actually right below where my hips end, then my waist is like, three or four inches wider.


TheBunneh
07-07-2011, 02:55 PM
The main point of taking measurements is to be able to see change, right? So it doesn't really matter much where you measure as long as you are consistent.

Stopfat
07-07-2011, 02:59 PM
Well actually, one of the reasons why I want to measure the right spot is so that I can apply the guidelines about heart disease. I tend to gain weight on my abdomen and upper body, so I want to make sure I am below what is considered to be dangerous (35 inches waist for women by US standards.)

If I measure the belly button I am above the guideline, but if I measure above it I am below.

But that is a good point, to measure change. Some people, I read, measure both the widest part of their waists and the thinnest, to keep record of how they are losing.

Stopfat
07-07-2011, 03:02 PM
This is what WIN says,

"Excess weight as measured by BMI is not the only risk to your health. Where excess fat is located on your body may be another risk. If you carry fat mainly around your waist, you are more likely to develop health problems than if you carry fat mainly in your hips and thighs. This is true even if your BMI falls within the normal range. Women with a waist measurement of more than 35 inches or men with a waist measurement of more than 40 inches may have a higher disease risk than people with smaller waist measurements because of where their fat lies.

To measure your waist circumference, place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above your hip bone. Be sure that the tape is snug (but does not compress your skin) and that it is parallel to the floor. Relax, exhale, and measure your waist."

I think I am going to go with this, and not the youtube lady.

Lori Bell
07-07-2011, 03:09 PM
How Do you Measure Your Waste? -
I poop in a measuring cup.

LOL...Sorry I couldn't resist!! :D

I measure at my navel. It started out at 54 inches (WOW) and now it's 29"!!

Stopfat
07-07-2011, 03:30 PM
I know. I know.

Once I accidentally typed "bowel" instead of "bowl." I must have a thing for potty language slips.

That's great success Lori.

Another thing that I don't understand about the "under 35 inches" rule. If you are six feet tall and your waist is 36 inches--isn't that going to be a different impact on your health than if you are 4'7 and have a 36 inch waist?

It sounds kind of like the "don't go below 1200 calories" rule.

DrivenByAmbition
07-07-2011, 03:32 PM
-
I poop in a measuring cup.

LOL...Sorry I couldn't resist!! :D


I was going to say something to the similar effect!

*waist* not *waste* LOL

SCraver
07-07-2011, 03:39 PM
~giggle~

First you weigh yourself. Then you poop. Then we weigh yourself again. Difference = waste.

Bellamack
07-07-2011, 03:44 PM
By how many garbage bags are at the curb! lol you didn't know we were all so funny did you?

Stopfat
07-07-2011, 03:46 PM
OK--honestly, I noticed and mentioned the typo way before any of you ever called me on it. Notice the edit in the original post is timed way back before any of these posts.

I happen to work with elementary school age kids, so luckily I am used to the potty humor--but seriously, I would love for someone to address the legitimate issue of waist circumference!

If you all must, keep joking about it...although I personally have to say the joke is a bit tired now. Although I have to admit that the mistake in the title is definitely calling for attention.

Edit: And because I am a nice person, and a little embarrassed I have to say that yes--you are all very funny (even though the images are a little disturbing--I guess it will help me lose my appetite which should help with weight loss). But I would still love to hear about actual waist measurement!

berryblondeboys
07-07-2011, 03:53 PM
Another thing that I don't understand about the "under 35 inches" rule. If you are six feet tall and your waist is 36 inches--isn't that going to be a different impact on your health than if you are 4'7 and have a 36 inch waist?

It sounds kind of like the "don't go below 1200 calories" rule.

I agree with you there. I think it's a "35" catch all. And it's not only height, but some people are really petite built and some people are really hugely built. From most things I've read they don't give a measurement but a ration of hip to waiste which is another .7 and below is considered 'safer' for heart disease. Notice I didn't say "you have no risk" because there are so many things that lead to risk.

With that said, in the last 6 months I've lost just under 60 pounds and I've lost 4 inches off my chest, 8 inches off my waist and 5 inches off my hips. I now have a 35" waist, but I'm also just under 200 pounds. I'm 'improving' my health, but I'm not out of the woods yet. Plus, my waist to hip ratio is .8, not .7. It's getting closer, but it's not there yet.

And for measuring, I just always measure where I'm the biggest or the smallest. for chest - the widest, for waist, the smallest, for hips, the widest. The point on my hips where I measure probably changes a bit, but I'm just trying to get where I am the widest so one month it might be more across my gut, the next more across my butt/lower hips.

AnonymouslyYours
07-07-2011, 03:55 PM
OK--honestly, I noticed and mentioned the typo way before any of you ever called me on it. Notice the edit in the original post is timed way back before any of these posts.

I happen to work with elementary school age kids, so luckily I am used to the potty humor--but seriously, I would love for someone to address the legitimate issue of waist circumference!

If you all must, keep joking about it...although I personally have to say the joke is a bit tired now. Although I have to admit that the mistake in the title is definitely calling for attention.

Edit: And because I am a nice person, and a little embarrassed I have to say that yes--you are all very funny (even though the images are a little disturbing--I guess it will help me lose my appetite which should help with weight loss). But I would still love to hear about actual waist measurement!

LOL. To be fair, I only even clicked on this thread because I thought someone here was taking dieting to a whole new level and I couldn't restrain my curiosity. Too bad you can't edit the thread title. :)

Stopfat
07-07-2011, 04:12 PM
BerryBlondeBoys: Thanks for the suggestion of waist to hip ratio. I only weigh 147 which is a normal BMI, but I looked up, and did the waist to hip ratio and I am .75, so I am going to measure my success by my waist instead of weight from now on. That is also a good point about there being other factors to health. I have to keep that in mind as I continue on my journey to health.

AnonYours: I think I discovered some new methods of weight management by this thread. Now I have a "load" of images to conjure up when I feel like eating that off-limit pizza. I may just lose the craving!

Everyone who jokes about the spelling: Thanks for calling the attention to the spelling error. Really, I am totally grateful to you, even if I did sound kind of snippy, because I will never make that spelling mistake again! :o

MariaMaria
07-07-2011, 04:26 PM
Oh my gosh! I just looked on the WIN website (Weight Control Information Network)--and it looks pretty legit...

It says you are supposed to measure the spot right above the hip bone! That sounds like the biggest part of the waist!


WIN is part of NIH (US National Institutes of Health), so yes, pretty impartial and science-based.

fitness4life
07-07-2011, 04:28 PM
Relief! What relief! I didn't read any of the other posts so forgive me if this is repeating...

I read the title and thought that there was a dieting fad that had people weighing their poop and pee. i.d "waste".

Thank Goodness it was a spelling error! "waist" is what you're measuring. And yes, you are supposed to measure the largest part of your waist, but I don't know how that applies to some whose "stomach" has fallen somewhere below their pelvis.

I would think, though, that if this is the case, forget about measurements. There are muscular inefficiencies and high fat % issues that can be addressed without taking measurements. Meaning, at that point, just start living a healthy life and lose fat. At some point, you'll be made aware by your own body where to measure the loss.

MariaMaria
07-07-2011, 04:35 PM
As for BMI and height: From WIN (http://www.nih.gov/news/health/apr2008/niddk-07.htm): [W]omen with waist size equal to or greater than 35 inches were approximately twice as likely to die of heart disease as were women with a waist size less than 28 inches, regardless of their body mass index. Similarly, women with a waist size equal to or greater than 35 inches also were twice as likely to die of cancer as were women with a waist size less than 28 inches.

The research comes from the Nurses' Health Study, like a lot of women's health research.

mandalinn82
07-07-2011, 05:00 PM
The title is all fixed now :D

sumire
07-07-2011, 07:11 PM
There certainly is a lot of conflicting info on how to measure your waist in order to accord with these studies. I was looking at that link MariaMaria posted and noticed that halfway down the article, it says "Waist circumference is determined by measuring around the waist at the navel line."

Then it sends you to another link (NHLBI) for more information... where they tell you: "To correctly measure your waist, stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out." I don't know about you chicks, but if I measure just above my hipbones, I'm between my navel and the smallest part of my waist.

I also wonder how many women they had in those studies with 28" or smaller waists at the navel. I'm 25.5" at the smallest part of my waist and 29.5" at the navel, and I'm a smallish gal who carries most of her weight in her hips and thighs rather than her waist. But I have wide-set hipbones, so maybe that's inflating my navel measurement? :shrug:

painfullystoic
07-07-2011, 11:42 PM
My mum always makes me measure at the puffiest part of the muffin top. And the hip includes the stomach part that "hangs".

Since you probably don't have this problem I'd say your measurement at <=1" above the navel is probably fine. It's around about where I measure.

Chubbykins
07-08-2011, 04:43 AM
For most WOMEN the waist is two inches above the hip bone.
If you aren't an apple shaped girl it is the thinnest part of your midrift when you face the mirror straight.
If you are apple shaped just find your hip bone (It is a hard lump where the legs meet the stomach and count 2 inches up. Notice INCHES and not centimeters.
What the girl on the video says in not the waist but the stomach.

You can always measure your stomach too for cosmetic reasons, but it still isn't your waist.

I for one measure both my waste and my stomach.

Note that the waist remains rather stable around the month while the stomach circumference changes with every meal, TOM, or drink. Your stomach will bloat and deflate 3-4 times A DAY.

April Snow
07-08-2011, 07:37 AM
there was a fairly recent study that says that having a larger waist/being apple shaped is not a higher risk factor for heart disease - it's obesity in general, regardless of how the excess weight is distributed.

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20110309/apple-shaped-obesity-other-forms-equally-risky-study-says

zoodoo613
07-08-2011, 08:00 AM
there was a fairly recent study that says that having a larger waist/being apple shaped is not a higher risk factor for heart disease - it's obesity in general, regardless of how the excess weight is distributed.

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20110309/apple-shaped-obesity-other-forms-equally-risky-study-says

I was always under the impression that the apple-shape risk referred to people who weren't obese. If you're obese, you're in trouble, no matter where your fat is. If you're a healthy weight, but your fat had more apple-shaped distribution, you're at higher risk than a healthy-weight pear or hourglass.

On the typo, I wanted to say a thank you to all of you out there. We all noticed it, including the OP. We all thought it was funny. Isn't it nice to be in a crowd of people for whom that type of thing is the exception rather than the rule? It's not the case for a lot of online dealings. Look at facebook! I appreciate the punctuation, the capitalization, the paragraphing you find on this board.

Stopfat
07-08-2011, 11:41 AM
Thanks for changing the title Mandolin82!

Wow, it sounds like there are a lot of conflicting ideas about how to measure waist circumference--and unfortunately I am an apple. I just found the spot right above the top of the pelvis (I had to dig my hands in to find the exact top) which seems to be right on top of the belly button.

I imagine that the subcutaneous fat probably hangs out around the rolls of the abdomen, whereas the visceral fat (the worst kind) is evident in the thinner parts of the waist--around the naval and the fleshy spot between ribs and pelvis.

It seems like anything measured within the range of the pelvis (below the bellybutton) would probably represent subcutaneous fat more than visceral. Although there are organs all throughout the torso and hips.

Besides, I can't measure on the actual button, or below it--that is just cruel and unusual. ;)

EmmaD
07-08-2011, 01:35 PM
I have always wondered about this... I posted about this topic when I first joined 3fc (and some people gave me a hard time about being concerned about my waist size when I wasn't overweight - 5'6" 152 lbs but a waist size close to "dangerous").

I researched and concluded that I would track my measurements with two numbers - the minimum (which is about 1-2 inches above my navel) and the navel/2 inches above the hip bones, which also happens to be my maximum. When I take that measurement, my "waist" is ~ the same size as my "bust". Depressing.

I am currently around 135 lbs so a perfectly healthy weight for my height. My body fat is around 28%. I just checked...My waist at the navel is 34.5 inches. UGH.

I need to research this more ... I know the 35 (actually 88 cm/more like 34.5) inches is just a guideline but this is disturbing information.

uhohitsamb
07-08-2011, 01:45 PM
I've always measured right on or right above my naval. I work measuring men at a tuxedo place, so I'm hoping I'm right since I don't usually measure women.

txladymedic
07-09-2011, 09:01 AM
I lean to one side, where the bend is that is where I measure. I also measure at the belly button just as a way to track any gain or loss. It's the hips that I just never know where to measure.

runningfromfat
07-09-2011, 09:55 AM
If you want to know your waist when you're trying to find your size for clothes/sewing etc then it's the narrowest part of your waist that's roughly 1-2". You can also find it by bending to the right (or left, doesn't matter) and measuring where your waist bends. For me it varies between 33-34" depending on if I'm bloated or not.

Now, if you measure at your navel or below you and you're at all prone to bloating (especially during your TOM) then you're going to see A LOT more variation. For instance, around my built-in muffin top I can be as small as 37" or up to 40/41" if I've had a huge meal or it's TOM or I'm just bloated in general. Your navel can also have many more variations so I'd be pretty surprised if that's where they're measuring for the study because you'd have a lot more factors going into besides just how much fat a person is storing around their waist. Did they check if the woman had just ate? Is she on her period? etc

I do think measuring around your natural waist vs. your lower belly probably also shows more of a difference between visceral and subcutaneous fat. Even thought I don't have a "slim" natural waist yet, I don't have a lot of fat that I can just pinch around there (so it's probably stored more around my internal organs :( ). However, on my lower belly I can grab a huge chunk of fat...

I totally agree about the inch waist thing not making a ton of sense when it comes to one'S height. I read somewhere that ideally you divide your height in inches in half and your waist should be at or below that number. That seems to make more sense to me and for a 5'6" woman that would mean 33" or below. I'm right at the line between obese and overweight so it happens to coincide with that milestone in my BMI too. I've often wondered for other women where those too coincide...

As for Waist-to-Hip ratio. CDC lists being under 0.8 as "safe", although I've heard 0.7 is better and that 0.6 or under is what you see in some beauty icons. Right now I'm under 0.8 and even when I was in the middle of my BMI and VERY athletic I never was at 0.7 or under so I have a hard time believing that's going to happen. Some women are just not going to carry enough weight around their hips to pull that off...

Sorry for the rambling but I've watched my inches closely because my body doesn't like to give up pounds as easily so this is a subject near and dear to my heart. ;)

Wannabehealthy
07-09-2011, 09:55 AM
I measure at the thinnest part of my waist, which is pretty much at my belly button. I have a spare tire above, and a belly pooch below, but I don't consider them my waist at all.

Carol

Michinmn
07-09-2011, 09:59 AM
I always heard we measure at our waist, where it bends. So bend over to see where that bend in your waist is at, then stand up and put the measuring tape around that section.

one small bowl
07-09-2011, 02:54 PM
I am apple shaped and that makes it really hard to determine where my waist is! I have more of an indent in my back than I do in front, so I start by placing the tape measure across the indent and around to the front, looking in the mirror from the side to be sure I am keeping it level all the way around.

BigChiefHoho
07-09-2011, 03:38 PM
I always take two measurements - a "natural waist" measurement around the thinnest part of my waist and a "belly" measurement around the thickest part. I figure I've got it all covered that way.

Stopfat
07-09-2011, 06:51 PM
Thanks again everyone!

Runningfromfat--that's a good point about the waist to hip ratio. Some women simply have bigger hips than others...

EmmaD--this is fairly disturbing to me too.

I think I'll just focus on being healthy--and will not expect to get below .6 on the waist to hip ratio.
I'll also keep an eye on the glycemic index when I eat, since women who tend to gain visceral fat are "predisposed" to insulin resistance (according to the all-knowing Wikipedia). And I have several close relatives with Diabetes.

kimmieval
07-10-2011, 04:35 AM
To preserve my sanity, I measure two measurements:

my natural waist- smallest part about an inch above my navel, or the the natural bend when I go sideways, this is 27 inches while around my navel which is my widest and this is 29 inches

I try to see how they both change as I realize I put on weight faster around the navel. If they both keep going up, then I know I have a problem (doesn't matter if I am using the correct one- I am actually using two and one must be correct..lol)

My hips are down from 42 to 39 and as a pear shaped, i can my weight in my hips and thighs. For me, Waist-to-Hip ratio is between .71 and .74 depending on the weight measurement I use. However the weirdest thing is that my Waist-to-Hip ratio was under 0.7 BEFORE I lost 37 lbs, so I am not sure I believe that it is an accurate measurement. I tend to keep me shape even as I get bigger but i find it hard to believe that with more weight, I was more healthy!

Wannabehealthy
07-10-2011, 08:49 AM
Thanks again everyone!

Runningfromfat--that's a good point about the waist to hip ratio. Some women simply have bigger hips than others...

EmmaD--this is fairly disturbing to me too.

I think I'll just focus on being healthy--and will not expect to get below .6 on the waist to hip ratio.


After reading this thread, I think the waist to hip ratio is faulty at best. 30 years ago at my smallest, I weighed 130 lbs. My waist to hip ratio was .75 because my hips are small for the rest of my body. I didn't have a belly, I didn't have a muffin top or midriff bulge. Maybe my waist to hip ratio was a predictor of the problems I have now.

The whole idea is, if you have upper body fat, it is unhealthy because your vital organs are encased in that extra fat. There are no organs in the hips and thighs, therefore the fat, though undesirable, is not dangerous.

Carol