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Keeping track of your weight loss

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Weighing yourself and BMI healthy weight trackers

There are three main ways in which you can track your weight loss:

  • Set of weighing scales (which measure your weight in stones/kilograms)
  • BMI healthy weight tracker
  • Taking body measurements (waist, hips, bust, arms, upper thighs)

When to weigh yourself

It's important to weigh yourself at the same time each day. A good time is in the morning before breakfast when you're undressed. If you're trying to lose weight, it is generally recommended that you weigh yourself once a week.

Some evidence suggests daily weighing is helpful for people wishing to lose weight. It acts as a frequent reminder of your goal.

But weight can change quite a lot day-to-day, often because of changes in the amount of body fluids. So weighing yourself daily may be discouraging to some people.

It's key not to become obsessed with the number on the scale. It can be helpful to look at weight loss over a longer period, rather than each week, to spot patterns.

What's a BMI healthy weight tracker?

You can use your current weight (and your height) to measure your BMI. The body mass index, or BMI, is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy.

A BMI calculator can tell you if you are underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese. See more information on BMI.

Weight loss diary

If you'd like to keep a record of your weight loss and BMI over a six-week period, we've provided a diary template to help you.

Save a copy of the weight loss diary (PDF) [122KB]

Taking body measurements to track weight loss

Sometimes you may find that while you're eating healthier, your weight has stayed the same and you haven't lost any that week.

So it can be a useful motivator to see how your body shape is changing due to your efforts. General guidelines suggest using a measuring tape to complete body measurements:

  • Try to measure on bare skin without clothing. If this isn't possible, measure wearing one thin layer of clothing.
  • The measuring tape should sit neatly against your skin, but not too tight that it causes an indent or digs in.
  • For neck, chest or bust, waist, hips, leg or body measuring, keep the measuring tape parallel to the ground.
  • For waist and hip measuring, stand up straight with shoulders back. Position the tape, inhale then fully exhale, fully relax your abdomen, then take measurements.
  • Perform measurements twice to improve accuracy.
  • Keep an ongoing record of your measurements to track progress. Every two weeks is usually enough frequency.

See instructions from the NHS on how to measure each area of your body.

What to do if you're not losing weight

If your weight loss is not as you'd have liked or expected, the quicker you act the easier it is to lose any extra you've gained.

You may need to think about any possible obstacles or challenges which may have derailed you:

  • Were your original weight loss goals unrealistic?
  • Are you eating as healthily as you think you are? It can be hard to be 'mindful' of everything you eat and drink. You might think you're eating healthily but if you don't pay attention you don't get an honest picture.
  • Are you as physically active as you need to be? It's worth considering how much energy (or calories) you take in compared to how much energy you burn when being active. Find out how calorie intake and expenditure can play a part in successful weight loss.

Once you've identified any barriers, you can then think of how you will face and overcome them. Find out more about problem solving.

We tend to eat certain foods at certain times. But you may not know exactly how much you're eating, or you may not be doing quite as much physical activity as you once were.

Find out more about keeping track of your healthy eating and physical activity. This may help you make healthier choices and stay on target to reaching your weight loss goals.

How to deal with a weight loss plateau

When you begin a weight loss journey with healthy eating and regular exercise, the weight can seem to come off quite quickly at first.

But after some time you can reach a point when the weight loss slows down and can seem to stop altogether.

This is sometimes known as a weight loss plateau. It's where the calories (or energy) you burn are the same as the calories you eat (the energy you take in).

It's key to remember that you have not failed at your weight loss goal. It's quite normal for weight loss to slow down and even stall for a while. There are three main reasons for this:

  • Your body has got used to your new routine of taking in fewer calories. It has 'learned' to cope with this newer level of energy (calories) and as a result burns fewer calories.
  • You may be eating more (while exercising the same or less)
  • You may be exercising less (while eating the same or more)

You may wish to take a look at your current routines and programmes and shake things up a little. It may be helpful:

  • To start or return to monitoring your eating habits and the types of foods you are eating during a normal week. This can show you exactly where your calorie/energy intake is coming from. It could also show if you're still eating recommended portions of fruit and vegetables or if you have changed snacking habits.
  • To check your physical activity and that you are still managing as much as you were a few months or even a few weeks ago. Trying a new activity may target new muscles, giving your weight loss a boost.
  • To check your BMI. Do you still need to lose weight, or have you reached a healthy weight for your height? You can check your BMI with our healthy weight quiz.

Monitoring is key for successful weight loss. Keep track of your progress for healthy eating and physical activity.

For more detailed information about weight loss plateaus see the NHS weight loss booklet.

Apps to help you track your weight and weight loss

We have listed some apps below which you may find useful in helping you track your weight and weight loss:

  • NHS weight loss plan: This NHS app will help you lose weight with a plan that is broken down into 12 weeks. You can set weight loss goals and use the BMI calculator to customise your plan. You can plan your meals and make healthier food choices, get more active, burn more calories, and record your physical activity and progress. 
  • Second nature weight loss programme: This website and paid-for app commissioned by the NHS offers expert tips and advice to help you lose weight safely.
  • Noom: This is a paid-for service supported by the NHS. It's a psychology-based weight loss programme that teaches healthy habits and empowers you to make better choices.
  • Lose It: You need to pay to use this app. It can help you to set personalised goals and track your diet and weight loss. It also offers meal ideas and learn about different types of foods.
  • GetSlim: This paid for service is supported by the NHS and endorsed by Public Health England's Better Health campaign. The programme offers a range of weight loss programmes to suit all types of people.

You may also qualify for the Slimming World on referral scheme. Go to Help with weight management.

What's next 

Find out why it's important to review your goals and progress to keep up those positive changes to your lifestyle. 

Check in on your goals and progress.