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trusting the scale

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  • trusting the scale

    I would like to know about your opinion on stepping on the scale regularly or not.
    I do it about once a week. Torn between skipping it or continuing, because it's confusing me. I've got a scale which gives me weight, Bodyfat, BMR, muscle and visceral fat. It measures through legs and arms. The weight should be realistic. But what about the other results? I also know that same time, same place, same clothes/naked must be similar every time. But e.g. how does workout influnce the results? Does the body hold water after a workout so that I'm weighing more the day after? How does bodyfat change? How does eating on the previous day influence the results?
    This week it shows 3% BF more than last week, but weight dropped a bit. Measuring my waist with a tapeline didn't show any real difference (I can hardly guarantee that I always get the same point to measure). Ergh?????
    Any canny answers out there?
    Thanks already!

  • #2
    I have no idea about the features other than weight. It doesnt seem logical that they would be accurate, maybe like the calorie count on the treadmill? Who knows? Maybe they are pretty good.

    As far as stepping on the scale is concerned, I think it really depends on you and what stage you are in. For example, when I was trying to lose weight I liked to get on the scale once a week. I wanted to see that the trend was still moving down. I was generally looking for a pound or two a week so if it happened to be the same I would just assume my eating/drinking/exercising routine ended up a little different and I was just holding a bit more water or something. As long as I saw the movement the next week I had no need to stress out. My wife on the other hand is not allowed to weigh. If she gets on one time and it hasnt moved or God forbid goes up, she gets discouraged and it kills the whole effort.

    If I am not trying to lose anything, I just get once in a great while or if my pants are feeling less roomy. I know they tell us to stay off but it seems to work ok for me. You just cant get too stressed out over it. Use it as a guide. I suspect over time your body composition changes so the ideal weight over time may be different anyway so I just use it for that period of time where I am actually tracking it for a reason. If that makes sense................


    • #3
      Back in the olden days when we were supposed to eat three meals a day, whenever I tried it to be "healthy," I gained weight.

      In the less olden days when they told us to eat five or six small meals a day, I couldn't even do it because it felt so wrong.

      So, when "they" tell me to stay off the scale, but I know that for me, not getting on the scale on a regular basis is just one more disconnect for me as to how what I put in my mouth affects my body, I ignore "them."

      I've learned a lot from this community as to things like grains, gluten, industrial oils, healthy fats, etc. But as to how I implement what I've learned, I do what works for me. If I want to eat all meat all the time, I do it. If I want to cut a couple of pounds fast by subsisting on protein shakes for a few days, I do it. And if I want to stand on the dang scale every day before my first meal of the day, I'll do it.

      I also weigh my food. If that's neurotic, that's cool. I'm only going to worry if I start wearing my underwear on the outside of my clothes. Or if the foil beanie stops working.
      "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine


      Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.


      • #4
        Your waist measurement and body fat % will be a much better indicator of health than just weight IMO.

        That said, if you want to do it then treat each measurement as a single isolated datapoint that means very little. Going up or down three kilos between readings means nothing except water retention. If you plot them on a graph then after several months you should be able to see a trend.
        Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

        Griff's cholesterol primer
        5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
        Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
        TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
        bloodorchid is always right


        • #5
          The thing to be careful about with the scales that measure body fat % is that it can be drastically different depending on your hydration level because of how it measures. Don't get caught up in the numbers, just watch the general trend.
          Every moment of life does not have to be perfect to be of value --Winnie Dalley

          Created by - Free Calorie Counter


          • #6
            You could always get out the measuring tape if you looking at losing inches in certain places (like the belly). Some people don't lose weight or only lose a minimum but will drop a dress size or two


            • #7
              How long have you been using this scale? What do you really want from it? Are you attempting to lose weight? Or something else?

              I weigh myself every single day on a weight-only scale and have for 18 months now. I count (or at least try to) every calorie that passes my lips. I have learned so much, I could go on for volumes. But I still wouldn't say I "trust" my scale. Or my tape measure. Or my mirror. In just the last 2 weeks, I have dropped 2 lbs after drifting upward a bit from my all time low. At the same time my waist measures an inch larger and looking in the mirror, I swear my whole upper body looks leaner. I find all that fascinating, but I'm not acting on any of it, just filing it away.

              And I agree 1000x with JoanieL about making your own strategy. Nobody else can really know what will motivate you or comfort you. If you want to trust something, trust yourself.
              50yo, 5'3"
              CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
              GW- Goals are no longer weight-related


              • #8
                Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis seems to be pretty unreliable overall. I have this on my scale and I guess it's better than nothing, but based on most of the comparisons and articles I read about BIA back when I first got it, it's typically not very congruent with DXA or water weighing or other more accurate methods. I found a few comparisons where people would get more reliable bodyfat testing and then match it up their BIA scale numbers, it can easily be several entire percentage points off, in either direction, up to 10+ lbs off IIRC.

                I've played around with mine just to see how it will read water differences and it definitely changed how much I trust it. I weigh myself right when I wake up and write the number/% down. If I just drink a few glasses of water over the course of the morning, with no food, and weigh myself again, it'll often read 4 lbs of water in my system as an additional 3.5 lbs of fat and only .5 lbs of lean mass. I've done this a few times, it's a bit different with each one.

                It's interesting to see how it perceives water weight, even though it's clearly not accurate. From what I understand, the scales always assume a constant for the level of LBM hydration, which is never really constant, which is what throws them off.

                That being said, it is easy and convenient, and it doesn't hurt to have more data, but it seems advisable to take the readings with a grain of salt.
                Last edited by TheChokingGame; 10-29-2013, 08:54 PM.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JoanieL View Post

                  I also weigh my food. If that's neurotic, that's cool. I'm only going to worry if I start wearing my underwear on the outside of my clothes. Or if the foil beanie stops working.

                  I weigh every day and don't care...
                  Breathe. Move forward.

                  I just eat what I want...


                  • #10
                    Thank you so far for your answers
                    I'm using this scale for about two years weight differed during this time for +/- 3lbs around my current weight (BMI around 19). I don't really want to lose weight, just don't want to gain some and weigh more than my self setted "limit", except more lean mass. BF is also in a range of around +/- 20%, I once had less but I was told that's not really healthy for a woman and I was pretty skinny during these times, not at a weight I could easily keep for the rest of my days. The trend seems to stay firm.
                    Why is there such a great will/pressure/wish to check the datas? Anyone out there who got indipendent from that? Why can a technical device dictate how and what we eat and feel?


                    • #11
                      I use my scale daily but that's on doctor's orders. I need to keep track of how much fluids I'm retaining.
                      But to be honest don't trust that damn thing! Everybody is asking me if I lost weight, my clothes are getting bigger but that damn scale won't go down. it just refuses... Sometimes I wonder if it isn't broken.
                      My story, My thought....

                      It's all about trying to stay healthy!!!!


                      • #12
                        You maybe losing fat and gaining muscle?! Lucky you then!


                        • #13
                          If you tend to be obsessive about numbers or let a couple days gain (or plateau) get you down, I would say throw the scale away and trust your energy levels and clothes. I'm a bit of a nerd though. I like numbers, and I think it's really cool to watch the peaks and ebb, and combined with a tape measure for body fat, it gives me a good, solid, measurable track of the effects of my diet. I weight every day and measure once a week, but I don't let the numbers really affect me until they stick around for a week.

                          I track calories too, because after yo-yoing since my preteen years, my body is still figuring out what to think about food. I developed a nasty habit of under eating and bonking and eating too much after getting used to tiny frequent portions at the whim of my blood sugar. I try to keep my calories within a healthy range, but some days I am more hungry or active and eat towards the top of that range and somedays I am not as hungry and eat less.

                          So, I use the numbers to support my diet. They help me see trends and avoid mistakes, but I don't let the numbers be all there is.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JoanieL View Post
                            Or if the foil beanie stops working.
                            This is most important part of course. One of the earliest signs of "them" getting into your head is weight gain and subconscious drumming.


                            • #15
                              Hi there
                              Have to bring up another question...
                              I stepped on my scale this morning, it says I gained a littele (around 3 lbs)...well, I don't feel like, fat hasn't really changed. My digestion is irregular.
                              I bought a caliper last week, my boyfriend measured (3points) and that gives me 5% less than the BIA scale says.
                              I'm a bit confused. My eating was ok during the last week (cut back carbs), but I couldn't do my exercises to the fullest because of a cold.
                              Question: Caliper or scale? Feeling or numbers?