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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-19-12, 09:18 AM   #1
tony_merlino
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scale recommendations?

My scale is getting really flaky lately. There was always a variation of +/- 1 lb depending on how I got on it (it's one of those digital scales that you have to tap first, and then, once it makes up its mind about how much you weight at that moment, it locks onto that number). Anyway, now the +/- 1 lb has turned into +/- 2 or 3 lbs depending on where on the floor it is, how abruptly I stand on it, which part of my foot I put down first, sunspots, ...

I would like a really accurate and consistent scale, with precision a little finer than the 0.5 lbs that this old scale has, but would settle for 0.5 lb precision if it were really accurate and consistent.

I was considering buying a mechanical balance scale (like a doctor's office scale), but they're huge and cost a lot.

What are folks who are tracking weight daily using? What do you think of your scale?
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Old 03-19-12, 09:39 AM   #2
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I am very happy with my Withings. That said, I've not done the test of if it changes based upon how I step up onto it. That said, any variance is far outweighted, buy the automated logging and iPhone/web integration.
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Old 03-19-12, 01:11 PM   #3
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Less than .5 lbs?

Since this is the Clyde forum and just for arguments sake let's say I weigh 250 lbs. .5 lbs is two tenths of a percent of my body weight.

I think you're not going to gain anything but frustration trying to do that; your body weight will vary as much as 3-4 lbs per day depending on what you've eaten, when you've eaten, time of day, and a whole host of things. Just weigh yourself once a week if that. There are way too many outside factors to be breaking your weight loss down to less than 6 oz. increments.
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Old 03-19-12, 01:51 PM   #4
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Whatever you do, avoid 'spring' scales.
kv is right too. You should be weighing yourself at the same time everyday or it will fluctuate a lot. Keeping to the same time daily or weekly will give the best results, morning works best for most people. Once a week is better, because even if your scale is a little off, as long as the average is going down every week, you know you are losing.
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Old 03-19-12, 01:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kv501 View Post
Less than .5 lbs?

Since this is the Clyde forum and just for arguments sake let's say I weigh 250 lbs. .5 lbs is two tenths of a percent of my body weight.

I think you're not going to gain anything but frustration trying to do that; your body weight will vary as much as 3-4 lbs per day depending on what you've eaten, when you've eaten, time of day, and a whole host of things. Just weigh yourself once a week if that. There are way too many outside factors to be breaking your weight loss down to less than 6 oz. increments.
This! When i weigh myself morning and night I see a sometimes huge variation or at least what might on the surface seem huge....8 lbs. But that was when i was also over 250# percentage wise the change was not much and I do drink water all day long as well as eat. The morning weight is after not drinking for hours, like all night, plus no food for even longer.
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Old 03-19-12, 02:13 PM   #6
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Less than .5 lbs?

Since this is the Clyde forum and just for arguments sake let's say I weigh 250 lbs. .5 lbs is two tenths of a percent of my body weight.

I think you're not going to gain anything but frustration trying to do that; your body weight will vary as much as 3-4 lbs per day depending on what you've eaten, when you've eaten, time of day, and a whole host of things. Just weigh yourself once a week if that. There are way too many outside factors to be breaking your weight loss down to less than 6 oz. increments.
There are at least two distinct schools of thought on the precision/frequency of measuring weight question. There is certainly a lot of daily variation connected with the factors you've described, as well as with things like how much water your body is holding onto that day, how much sodium you took in the last few days, etc.

This "noise" can be modeled as a random process added to something else we can call the "real" weight, which will vary very little from day to day. Because the noise swamps the "signal", which in this case could be a trend by which the actual weight changes by as little as a tenth of a pound per day, we usually try to integrate out the noise. The assumption is that the signal is highly correlated from sample to sample, but the noise is close to uncorrelated from sample to sample, so the standard deviation of the average of N samples decreases as the square root of N.

If you weigh yourself once a day, trying to control for extraneous factors, i.e. weighing yourself at the same time every day, without clothing, etc, and then average your measurements for the week, the standard deviation of the noise would be reduced by a factor of 0.38. So, if the original noise variance was 1 lb, the standard deviation of the average of your measurements would be 0.38 lbs, making it easy to see a real weight change of as little as half a pound with low probability of error.

Again, assume the variance of the noise is 1 lb. Imagine - if I weigh myself in one week, and then weigh myself a week later and weigh 2 lbs more than I did the last time, was it because I gained 2 lbs? Or did I happen to hit a "low" day the first time, and a "high" day the next. Eventually, after months, I'd be able to see the trend. But it would take months.

This isn't so important if you're sticking to a program religiously, and losing quickly - tracking and detecting changes serves more the purpose of reinforcement than anything else. But this time delay in detecting a true change can really kill you if you're on maintenance, and your real weight isn't supposed to be changing quickly. It could take you months to detect a trend of +1 lb/month - which, if not dealt with, would result in gaining more than 10 lbs in a year.

Percentage of body weight is irrelevant - whether you're tracking differences on the order of 0.1 lbs per day in "real" weight on a 250 lb body or a 100 lb body, the noise still has a variance of between 1 and 2 lbs, which totally swamps the signal - the signal-to-noise ratio is on the order of -10 dB or worse.

So I'm in firmly in the weigh every day camp, but smoothing the measurements by averaging. The problem with a wonky scale is that, in addition to the noise that my body adds to the measurements, the scale is adding another, uncorrelated noise process ... which stinks.

I've also noticed (and this is just for laughs), a periodic component in the noise, with a period of about a week. I see this when I look at the graphs, but it's hard to pull it out because of the quantization error introduced by the coarse granularity of the scale. That's why I wanted better than 0.5 lbs precision - to reduce this so that I could see if there's really a 7-day oscillation. Again - this has nothing to do with losing or maintaining. It's just curiosity. For what I really need to do, 0.5 lbs precision is fine.
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Old 03-19-12, 03:47 PM   #7
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My gym offers a beam scale, so I use that when I need to check my weight. Local grocery stores have scales, but often times aren't properly calibrated, so it varies.
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Old 03-19-12, 03:55 PM   #8
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My scale is a similar digital type that is usually +/- about 2lbs. I usually just weigh 3 times and use the middle number. I think you should stick with what you've got rather than invest money and time to find some scale that will tell you to the ounce how much you weigh. I know I like to weigh in every day, but If I'm up a pound over yesterday, I try to not freak out. The important thing is that I am down from where I was last week or last month.
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Old 03-19-12, 04:02 PM   #9
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My gym offers a beam scale, so I use that when I need to check my weight.
Too easy to mess with. Bet if you check 'zero' each time it will be different. They aren't certified or sealed. Better to use than nothing but.....
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Old 03-19-12, 04:48 PM   #10
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put a new battery in it.
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Old 03-19-12, 05:25 PM   #11
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My scale is a similar digital type that is usually +/- about 2lbs. I usually just weigh 3 times and use the middle number. I think you should stick with what you've got rather than invest money and time to find some scale that will tell you to the ounce how much you weigh. I know I like to weigh in every day, but If I'm up a pound over yesterday, I try to not freak out. The important thing is that I am down from where I was last week or last month.
I don't freak out over the daily variations because (a) I expect them, and (b) I don't really go by "raw weight" - I do a smooth that integrates out most of the noise. As I said, more precision doesn't matter except to an experiment that I'm trying. But accuracy and consistency are more important.
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