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Wobbegong

Timing: Weight vs Inches Measuring

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Someone has probably asked this before but the forums are a bear to search and Google is giving me all kinds of articles on precipitation measuring which is just not helpful so here we go. 

 

I know you're supposed to measure your weight at the same time of day (and time of week, ideally) every time because your bodyweight fluctuates tremendously over the course of a day (let alone a week). (Link to a very unscientific "study." Anecdotes yay.)

 

What about your inches? Or centimeters for those who prefer them? Measuring your size this way is supposed to be much more accurate, but I've never heard anyone outright say it doesn't fluctuate as much or anything. Does it change throughout the day? 

 

The reason I ask is because I haven't yet made measuring a habit, so when I remember (at a random time of day) I want to just do it then, but not if it'll give me weird data. 

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It doesn't fluctuate as much as weight, or for as many reasons.

 

About the only reasons your measurement will be off is if: 

 

- You're measuring your waist inaccurately (pulling on the tape harder than you did last time you measured, or pulling less), or

 

- You have undigested food/water in your stomach, throwing off the diameter of your waist.

 

Because of that, I don't take measurements too seriously unless I do them in the morning before work. But I do whip out the tape measure at other times, just for funsies.

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Thank you!! 

 

That totally makes sense. My waist is not really my focus area anyway, so I should be ok even if I see some fluctuation there. But other measurements -- shoulders, chest, hips, thighs, biceps, those should all be basically "controlled"? (I originally wrote "the same" but hopefully not lol!)

 

(Ah, I would add for anyone who visits this thread later that another thing that comes to mind that could affect waist/chest measurements is bloat, for those of us with uteruses.) 

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On ‎12‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 11:58 PM, Wobbegong said:

(Ah, I would add for anyone who visits this thread later that another thing that comes to mind that could affect waist/chest measurements is bloat, for those of us with uteruses.) 

 

Amen to that!

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Your measurements definitely can fluctuate, not only from day to day, but also throughout the day. Usually you are going to be your smallest in the morning since this is the time you are least hydrated and fed. Eating and drinking can make your waist measurements bigger throughout the day (for obvious reasons), but it can also affect your other measurements, especially water as it works into your cells and muscles throughout the day. I know some people also experience bloating in various parts of their body following a workout (inflammation and water retention due to the tearing of tissue that happens during a workout). Most of the time your measurements are going to be biggest at night.

 

Fluctuation of measurements from day to day can be caused by hormones, eating a high sodium or sugar meal the day before, certain supplements and medications that cause water retention, etc.

 

And yes, many women will experience a monthly progression of measurement fluctuations. These fluctuations that occur in both weight and measurements can vary greatly from person to person, not only in timing, but also in location and intensity. If you take measurements frequently, you can get an idea of how much that affects you personally over the long term. For women, I would recommend measuring your monthly measurements based off your biological monthly clock instead of the actual month for better accuracy.

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Thanks @StarlordPhoenix! All of that makes sense and is kind of why I was asking in the first place... if my weight changes as a result of water retention throughout the day, surely there are other things that should be affected as well. 

 

That said, if I'm only being accurate to the half inch, I probably won't see a huge difference in most places throughout the day, right? For example, although according to the scale my weight might fluctuate up to seven pounds over the course of a day, it's unlikely that I'd see more than an inch of difference, right? 

 

Maybe I should just do the experiment after all...

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@Wobbegong, the amount of difference you see really depends on your body. The amount that someone bloats, and the locations of the body that one experiences bloating really depends on a lot of factors. People with food sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, or aggressive physical responses to stress will probably experience more bloating than other people. I think the best way for you to really see how it affects you personally is to take measurements throughout the day, week, and month to see what kind of changes you experience. Depending on the part of the body you are measuring, it is definitely possible to see over an inch of bloating, though probably not that much in places like your arms and the lower parts of your legs. Most people experience the most bloat around their waist, but many (especially women) will see some around their thighs as well.

 

I would highly recommend checking out the video "Is bloating normal? A full day of bloating" by fitness/lifestyle YouTuber, Natacha Océane. She shows before and after clips for every meal and workout during a day, so you can watch how a body changes from morning till night. Again, every body is different and will react in different ways, but I think it is helpful to watch because you can really see a difference.

 

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Thanks for the video rec! I just watched it, really thorough answer. 

 

So since my question really is "can I measure whenever I remember or not" the answer is "take several measurements throughout the day/week/month to see how much I personally fluctuate and then decide if that range of variance is acceptable for data or not."

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