How to Measure a Waist

By Jay White

February 11, 2015   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Measuring your waist can be done for many reasons. It is necessary for making a custom piece of clothing fit correctly, and it can also be an effective way to get a snapshot of your current health based on weight. If you are beginning a diet or bodybuilding weight gain regimen, then knowing your initial waist measurements are helpful in seeing how well and how quickly the program begins to work. If you have never measured your waist before, it is very simple. Here are the steps:

1. Gather your supplies:

You will either need a measuring tape or a piece of string that is long enough to overlap around your waist plus a ruler. You also need a place to record the measurement; whether this is your phone or a notebook and a piece of paper is up to you.

2. Take Your Shirt Off:

Because clothing can be bulky, the best way to get an accurate waist measurement is to measure your bare waist. If you are in a location where you feel uncomfortable taking off your shirt, consider raising it above your waist instead, or going somewhere more private. If you are lifting your shirt, you may want to ask for someone else’s help with the measuring tape.

3. Find Your Natural Waist:

Your natural waist is the place where your body, when it is in shape, naturally curves inward. This is clearer in women than in men, though added pounds makes it more difficult to find at first. If it is not obvious, try “sucking in” to get a better idea of the location. Remember this spot, or mark it if you don’t think you can with a sticker or piece of tape. Do this on both sides to get a more even measurement.

4. Measure Your Waist:

Take the tape and wrap it around your waist. To get an accurate measurement, you should not be sucking in or pushing your belly out. Your tape should not gap if you pull on it, but it also shouldn’t be wrapped so tightly that it cuts into your skin. If you are using a measuring tape, find the point where it overlaps itself, making sure that the entire tape is being used around your waist from the end on, and write down that number. If you are using a string, then place the string on the ruler and add up the number of inches or centimeters. Be sure you know which measurement type you are using.

5. Keep a Record:

If you are doing this to find long-term results, then write it down and keep a chart of the next few measurements as well. If you are doing this to have clothing made, write it down anyway to be sure that your clothing numbers were right, if you have problems when you get it back.

Jay White

I started Dumb Little Man many years ago so great authors, writers and bloggers could share their life "hacks" and tips for success with everyone. I hope you find something you like!

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