It's easy to get overly concerned with that number that stares back at you when you step on the scale. If you're trying to lower your body weight, you may even be slightly obsessed with the scale. It seems like the only way to truly determine whether or not your efforts are paying off. You're working hard to get your workouts in and are ignoring your cravings for bad foods and you almost need that feedback to let you know that it's all been worth it. With that understood, I'm still going to demonstrate why it's not a good idea to obsess over the actual number you weigh and then, because I do recognize the importance of getting that feedback, will suggest a better way to monitor your fat loss progress.

It's obvious, but it's important to keep in mind that how much you actually weigh is dependent upon a significant number of things. Yes, the weight of your body fat you have on your body plays a part in your total weight, but so does the rest of your tissues, including your muscle tissue and bones. Those who possess a relatively high amount of muscle mass and are in great shape can actually fall in the overweight category if they strictly look at their weight. Yet, if you were to analyze their body fat percentage, you would find out that they're of a healthy body composition. Even further, also making an impact on your body weight are things that will cause day-to-day fluctuations, such as how hydrated you are and even if you've gone to the bathroom or not. Because of these multiple factors and constant fluctuations, it's likely you'll become frustrated with the up and down number when you're working so extremely hard at lowering your body fat percentage.

Plus, let's say in your efforts to lower your body fat, you dive in on a comprehensive workout program that consists of cardio, strength training and flexibility work. If you're consistent, in addition to body fat loss, you'll also likely be developing muscular tissue. The impact on the scale? Although you're making an impact on lowering your fat, the number on the scale may not reflect the true results of your efforts, as that muscle fiber you've developed will add to your weight value. Yet, you would see positive aesthetic develops (aka look slimmer) and would see decreases in body fat percentage.

Although using the scale to measure your body weight is not ideal, one of the reason's it's a common technique is that it can be motivating. We don't want to lose that. Therefore, to more accurately monitor your fat loss, instead of using your scale, instead take regular body measurements. In essence, you'll be keeping track your body becoming smaller. Even if you're lifting weights and building that muscular tone, your body will become more dense and smaller in diameter.

To take body measurements, you will need one fabric measuring tape. The US Navy uses the body measuring technique and then uses a mathematical equation to estimate their body fat percentage.

To utilize the US Navy body fat percentage technique, follow these steps:

1. Measure your height.

Take your height without shoes on. Record the value in inches.

2. Use the tape measure to get the circumference of your abdomen.

Wrap the tape measure around your stomach at the height of your belly button. Be sure not to pull the tape too tight or to suck in your stomach. Record the value in inches.

3. Use the tape measure to get the circumference of your neck.

Wrap the tape measure around just below your larynx and with the tape sloping slightly downward towards the front of your neck. Record the value in inches.

4. Women have an additional step, because of the differences between sexes of how fat is commonly distributed, so this step is for females only. Use the tape measure to get the circumference of your hips.

Wrap the tape measure around your hips at the widest point around your buttocks. Record the value in inches.

5. Enter the values in the following mathematical equations:

Men: 86.010 (abdomen - neck) - 70.041 (height) + 36.76 = Body Fat Percentage

Women: 163.205 (abdomen + hip - neck) - 97.684 (height) - 78.387 = Body Fat Percentage