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Thread: Scales

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    Scales

    Ok, a little off-topic, but I suspect shared interest with many readers of this forum.

    Does anyone have good advice on bathroom scales? I just bought a set of these, and they are awful -- taking half a dozen measurements over 5 minutes leads gives a range of results that differ by several pounds!

    Any thoughts appreciated!

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3dMark View Post
    Does anyone have good advice on bathroom scales?
    My personal position on bathroom scales is, don't buy any. Some are more accurate than others, but all encourage a focus on minutiae, on the day-to-day variation in weight, which is a mistake. Do the right exercise, eat the right things, and you will notice the difference in the way you feel and the way your clothes fit. If your pants size has fallen you can be pretty sure you have lost weight, but the most important thing isn't the weight on any given day, it is that over time you are getting into better shape.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    I finally found a digital scale on Amazon a couple of months ago that actually seems to work well. It's an Omron HBF-514C @ $75. Tracks weight, body fat %, BMI, skeletal muscle % and visceral fat level. It's the first home scale I've seen that I've been able to get on, off, and back on again and read an identical weight down to the tenth of a pound.

    I belive that some of the tracked readings, e.g. skeletal muscle %, can be inaccurate for highly trained athletes; in my case, that's not a problem.

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    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    +1 Chasm54

    I fluctuate by a few pound over the year but I have lost bulk when riding. My shirts are looser and my pant always require a belt, but I will weigh close to the same. I took a tour earlier this summer and at the end I again weighed the same and I was watching my food intake but my bulk decreased. I guess it was more muscle mass.

    So I am saying that a scale is not a measure of improvement for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    If your pants size has fallen you can be pretty sure you have lost weight, but the most important thing isn't the weight on any given day, it is that over time you are getting into better shape.
    I'll give this a +.5. Chasm is right that total weight is only part of the overall picture and there will be increases in muscle mass that offset fat loss. However, if you're big enough and overweight enough, dropping pounds is something that has to happen. You're not going to get scientific accuracy out of consumer scale. There are several ways to offset this. One idea often espoused is to weigh yourself weekly. For the big-boned crowd, this is a mental challenge. My personal solution has been to weigh daily (same time, same state of dress (nada)) and chart my weight. When you begin to have enough data points, trends will emerge that will allow you to adjust your diet and exercise accordingly. There are all sorts of tickers and trackers on the net, I use this one: http://www.tickerfactory.com/weight-loss/wsO9z60/. At this point in my fitness goals, my main concern is plateaus, so I only record my weight on dates when I have a new low to report. This allows me to graphically see plateau trends very easily and try to nip them in the bud (as you can see, it doesn't always work).

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    Senior Member Pfishingruven's Avatar
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    Although, concentrating on weight is not the main goal, having a base line and knowing numbers is certainly necessary. For some, it is the only way to stay focused, motivated and on track.

    I have a Tanita BC550. It is dead accurate with the one I use at the gym with my Trainer and the one my Nutritionist/Dietitian uses. It does weight, body fat, body water, DCI and muscle mass. I have no complaints about it so far.

    Good luck!

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    I find occasional weigh-ins to be important, just to make sure I'm making progress, and - just as importantly - to show I'm not over-doing it. But I understand some people may see things differently.

    Thanks for the Omron and Tanita recommendations. I've read the Amazon reviews, and they both seem really good.

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    If you are serious about getting a scale then I would get a balance style. They are much more accurate and there really isn't anything that can go wrong with them. They are kind of expensive though.

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    I have one similar to that one from Health-o-Meter. I only weigh myself on Monday mornings and put it away. It is subject to variance depending on where you stand so I put my big toes in the same place every time. It may not be accurate but gives me something to gauge my progress (or lack of) with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamala View Post
    I'll give this a +.5. Chasm is right that total weight is only part of the overall picture and there will be increases in muscle mass that offset fat loss. However, if you're big enough and overweight enough, dropping pounds is something that has to happen. You're not going to get scientific accuracy out of consumer scale. There are several ways to offset this. One idea often espoused is to weigh yourself weekly. For the big-boned crowd, this is a mental challenge. My personal solution has been to weigh daily (same time, same state of dress (nada)) and chart my weight. When you begin to have enough data points, trends will emerge that will allow you to adjust your diet and exercise accordingly. There are all sorts of tickers and trackers on the net, I use this one: http://www.tickerfactory.com/weight-loss/wsO9z60/. At this point in my fitness goals, my main concern is plateaus, so I only record my weight on dates when I have a new low to report. This allows me to graphically see plateau trends very easily and try to nip them in the bud (as you can see, it doesn't always work).
    I will also give this a +.5 and Chasm can have the other .5

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3dMark View Post
    I find occasional weigh-ins to be important, just to make sure I'm making progress, and - just as importantly - to show I'm not over-doing it. But I understand some people may see things differently.

    Thanks for the Omron and Tanita recommendations. I've read the Amazon reviews, and they both seem really good.
    I'd have to back this up - I used to have a Tanita when I lived in Japan which was great, and now I have an Omron, which works really well. On and off it a few times, the only time I did get a diff was 0.1kg, once.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lechwe View Post
    If you are serious about getting a scale then I would get a balance style. They are much more accurate and there really isn't anything that can go wrong with them. They are kind of expensive though.

    The balance type scale found at doctors offices and health clubs the world over, has one problem, they need to be always reset to zero after use, or they can lose accuracy. Actually all scales can lose accuracy over time, which is why scales used for commercial trade need to be checked and if they are not accurate they need a technician to recalibrate them. Checking the accuracy is easy, I've been present when one was checked. They take a set of weights, say 100g, 1kg, 5kg, 10kg, 25kg these weights are carried by government inspectors and are checked regularly to make sure they weigh what they say they do. The weights are placed on the scale in the centre of the pressure pad, and the readings are checked. All of the weights the inspector has are used, in turn, a perfect scale will read perfectly on all of the weights. The problem scale will read off by differing amounts, for example a scale that reads 5.000kg with the 5kg weight, reads 10.002 with the 10kg weight, 24.995 with the 25kg weight has problems. Here in Canada companies that service commercial trade scales will have technicians that are government licenced to inspect scales, as well as service them; scales are checked with metric weights, even if the scale's display is commonly in pounds, as legally weights for trade are in metric. Often the inspector will place the seal so that the scale can not be opened without breaking the seal, to prevent the user from readjusting the scale after the inspection.

    Scales that are marked not for trade often lack the ability to recalibrate them, and some are abysmal if you checked them with certified weights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kamala View Post
    I'll give this a +.5. Chasm is right that total weight is only part of the overall picture and there will be increases in muscle mass that offset fat loss. However, if you're big enough and overweight enough, dropping pounds is something that has to happen. You're not going to get scientific accuracy out of consumer scale. There are several ways to offset this. One idea often espoused is to weigh yourself weekly. For the big-boned crowd, this is a mental challenge. My personal solution has been to weigh daily (same time, same state of dress (nada)) and chart my weight. When you begin to have enough data points, trends will emerge that will allow you to adjust your diet and exercise accordingly. There are all sorts of tickers and trackers on the net, I use this one: http://www.tickerfactory.com/weight-loss/wsO9z60/. At this point in my fitness goals, my main concern is plateaus, so I only record my weight on dates when I have a new low to report. This allows me to graphically see plateau trends very easily and try to nip them in the bud (as you can see, it doesn't always work).
    I'll give this one a +10 then.

    I weigh myself each and every day as soon as I get up and use the bathroom. I have nothing in my stomach and no clothing to affect the number. I figure this gives me about as accurate a number as I can hope for. I do not get too caught up in the minutia, but like Kamala, I do it every day so I can monitor the big picture and keep track of what works for me and what doesn't. I worry less about it now that I have got a pretty good rhythm down, however I, too, have to worry about plateaus and this helps me stave them off.

    So now that I've said all that, to answer the OP question - I use a Taylor scale. I know Target sells them. They can have fluctuations (just like any other home scale) but are on the whole far more accurate (or at least consistent) than any other scale I've had. (Especially the Homedic or Helthometer crap they sell at Walmart.) I've used two different models of Taylor scales ranging from the low-end no frills version to the fancy glass scale that measures all the body fat and junk. Both are equally good at giving you an accurate weight reading. (I don't really pay much attention to the other numbers because there is no way for a home scale to accurately measure body fat.)
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    Thanks Sayre. And congrats on your weight loss - 120.8 pounds to-date - that's awesome!

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    So to close this out... I just got my new Tanita BC-557 and gave it a quick try. It has met my initial test, which is that the weight is consistent (took 4 readings, all came out within +/- 0.2 lbs.) The body fat rating was also not ridiculously off. It cost me a fortune to buy it from eBay, since these scales are not for sale in Canada, but as long as they work as well as they seem to, it will be money well spent. Thanks very much to everyone for the advice.

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    i use the wii fit every month or so. not sure if its that accurate i must try the 4 in a row readings and see what i get. i find weighing myself has the opposite effect on my motivation - a while back i went mad cycling every day for 2 weeks and thought i would have lost a few pounds but the scales didn't concur and so i didn't mean to but i gave up now i don't weigh and just try and keep exercising i have noticed a few things like better fitting shirts and jeans!!
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    You probably gained as much muscle as you lost weight!

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    I use the same scale every two weeks during my morning ride i stop at a publix supermarket wether is right or wrong I always use the same one, as already mentioned I dont focus on weight loss but on sizes dropped. So far I have moved three holes in my belt and according to the scale 22 pounds in one 1/2 month..
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