The Only Tools You Need To Measure Fat Loss


Bathroom Scale

Calipers, dunk tanks, bod pods, and other electronic gizmos promise the state of the art on how to measure fat loss.  So what.

If you want a fast way to lose body fat and track your fat loss efforts in the ways that really matter, I’m guessing you already have all of the tools you need.  All you need are a scale, a mirror, and a pair of pants.

How To Measure Fat Loss


No need for some high-tech medical grade scale.  Your average bathroom scale will do just fine.  The key to using the scale effectively for monitoring your fat loss is consistency.  Pick one day of the week and get on the scale at the same time every time.

For me that is Mondays at 8:30am.  Resist the temptation to get on the scale at other times and days as it will almost certainly lead to frustration as you see your body weight naturally flux.  Instead, exercise some discipline and only get on the scale on your designated time and day.

And yes, the number on the scale should be going DOWN if you are trying to lose body fat.  Don’t give me that “muscle is denser that fat” crap as an excuse for why the scale is going north instead of south.  With very rare exceptions, if your weight isn’t going down neither is your body fat percentage.


Take a good look at yourself in a full-length mirror and give yourself an honest assessment.  Notice I didn’t say give yourself a mental thrashing for how fat your ass has gotten.  Be honest, but not over critical.  For men, as you get closer to that coveted lean look, you will start to see the definition in your abs and a leanness in the rib area under the arm.

Women will often notice a tightening of the belly button area and a “lifting” of the buttocks where the glutes tie into the hamstrings. Women should also research on how to get rid of love handles. Both men and women will notice a thinning of the face and neck as well as increased detail where the shoulder meets the upper arm.  And please don’t ask me in the comments what the ideal body fat percentage is for men and women.  My opinion is that the number depends upon a wonderful intersection of aesthetics and function and will be different from person to person.  For me personally, I guestimate that’s right around 10%.

My opinion is that the number depends upon a wonderful intersection of aesthetics and function and will be different from person to person.  For me personally, I guestimate that’s right around 10%.

A Pair Of Pants…

No not your triple-f (feeling fucking fat) pants, but a pair of pants where you look and feel your best.  And don’t break out your jeans from when you were 17 if you now have grandkids.  Be reasonable.  Something you could actually wear within the last two years is a good starting point for many.

However if you have a long-standing history at a weight that you find unacceptable, perhaps get a pair of pants that are just one size smaller than you currently wear.  You don’t have to get all fancy here and break the bank – go to the thrift store and buy a $5 pair of jeans that are just one size smaller than you currently wear.

Now try them on once per month on the same day – say the first Monday of each month – and see how they fit.  In my opinion, the way your pants fit is more practical and consistent, for gauging your fat loss efforts than having the caliper pinch test done.

Monitoring your simple weight loss meal plan efforts doesn’t have to be complicated.  Instead, a simple check-up of how much you weigh, how you look, and how your clothes fit will give you all of the feedback you need.

What are some easy ways that you keep tabs on your fat loss?  Let us know in the comments below.


  1. These are actually WONDERFUL gauges to a realistic body fat measurement. I did this, and thought I’d only gotten down to about 14%, but when I did go get a body fat testing, I was at 9% (this was after training under your principles). I’d never been lower than 14%, and the mirror didn’t lie, nor the loose pants. The scale: yup, a full 10 pounds lighter than I started at when I was “Skinny Fat”.

    Thanks again Vic for the useful tips. You inspire MULTITUDES.


  2. While all the above are good I still think a good calliper like the accumeasure are very useful. Even if the value is a little off it still gives you a trackable measurement.

    Scales only show weight loss, not fat loss and your interpretation of what you see in the mirror will vary depending on mood, lighting etc. Having a reproducible fat loss measurement where you can see in real world, definitive numbers showing you what you’re doing is working is really motivating and helps to take away the guess work!

    • Good point about the mirror being subject to your interpretation at the moment. Although the scale does not specifically show fat loss, a person’s weight should be going down when they are losing fat in nearly all circumstances.

  3. thanks for the tips Vic. I personally have a bad habit of weighing myself daily. I love what you wrote about a pr of pants, the 1st part made me laugh.

  4. Hey Vic, I love the humor in your writing. I especially like the part about the scale going north and muscle is denser then fat. Too funny because you hear it all the time. It’s funny cause it’s true!

    My favorite method, and what I tell my clients, is to use the mirror. And other then that, you can tell when you’ve lost fat just like you can tell when you’ve gained it.

    Thanks Vic!

    • Thanks, Susan. I also like the mirror, but one “method” I didn’t mention is compliments from other people. Especially someone you haven’t seen in a few months. If that person sees you for the first time in 3 months, and the first words out of their mouth are “Damn, you look great!”, you know you’re on the right track. 😉

  5. Very interested ways to measure body fat. I also know same tool as mentioned by JIM that a good belt could be effective in measuring the fat.


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