The value of a scale in your health program is going to come down to how you're wired emotionally, and how you intend to utilise your scale or scales.
Whether it’s to weigh your food or to weigh your body, you’ll want to consider if you’re the sort of person who obsesses over details or are you the steady investor.
Let’s take a look at the types of scales you may choose to incorporate into your health plan, and then explore the pros and cons of each. Then you can decide for yourself what works best for you.
The dreaded bathroom scale. Poor bathroom scale. It’s been the subject of many jokes over the years.
A trip to the doctor’s office wouldn’t be complete without stepping up on that beast of weights and measures, and you're just sure they haven’t calibrated it. You just stepped on your bathroom scale this morning and it was much lower.
It seems like no matter where you go, or what you do, sooner or later someone asks how much you weigh. You’re going to be asked. How you answer is up to you, but if you want to know for sure, you’re going to have to face the clock, er scale.
In case you've forgotten what one looks like, here you go. You can find it here
The lobby against the scale is similar to the lobby against the use of body mass index (BMI) to measure health. Both are broad metrics. They give you only a snapshot of information.
It’s entirely possible to be quite healthy and technically overweight, or to land high on the BMI but have a very low body fat percentage (which is generally a good thing).
This is a little like looking at your bank balance to determine the health of your overall financial situation. The full story of what is going on is lost in the details you can’t see.
Like with your bank, you know you just sent off five payments earlier today which haven’t cleared, or your home is about to sell and flood you with cash, so no biggie.
The responsible adult is able to consider the bank balance as only part of the total story.
The challenge for most of us on the scale is we’re not considering the other factors going on behind that single number. Things like salt intake can throw daily numbers soaring, like those days when the doctor wants to weigh you. (It’s always after a social event!)
Add to this, that some of us obsess over that single number to the point we start to blame to scale for our overall health. If this is you, then perhaps daily weigh-ins are not ideal.
The flip side of this personality is the steady analyst. This individual steps on the scale as part of a daily routine to measure the long-term trends. He person treats the scale no different than a stock market investment, watching for trends, and not considering exceptions as the cause for emotion.
Not all of us can be this person.
Having a good sense of where your body generally weighs in removes subjectivity from the equation. Those who do this typically know where they run, between X and Y kilos.
They only consider the scale reading concerning when it exceeds those numbers for a prolonged period of time. Then they make subtle changes to their intake or activity to course correct.
Again, not everybody.
Truth be told, many of us simply cannot maintain an appropriate emotional distance from the data. Perhaps the road to where we want to go seems too long to count the kilometres, or in this case, kilos. Who knows?
We would lobby for a world where that number functions more like a bank account, not a measure of your self-worth. We think you are so much more valuable than your total weight.
The food scale isn’t just for bodybuilders and chefs. More and more, everyday people weigh their food in order to more accurately manage their intake. It makes sense.
You can look at the meaty part of your palm to estimate six ounces of chicken, but to really know how much meat you're putting in that dish, you need to weigh it.
There are many brands of scales you can use to weigh your food. You can still find analog scales next to the more modern digital ones.
Here's a nice digital food scale
These days, both are accurate, so long as you calibrate your scale before using it. Both will give you a better idea than guessing.
More importantly, it takes nearly zero extra time to weigh your portions, and in the long run, weighing will give you a better eye for portion sizes when away from home.
Similar to the bathroom scale, some feel the food scale is just another form of shame. It’s guilt by association, but the poor food scale had nothing to do with it.
Some of the concerns with food scales is that they may breed food obsession. This couldn't be farther from the truth.
Obsessions are emotionally driven, and emotions don’t come into play where facts run the show. The very thing a food scale does is reveal the truth.
What people find after using them is they're enlightened to truths they could never have imagined before. Many report that they obsess less about food when they weight it.
Some argue that food scales can vary widely in their results, which is true if you just throw your money at any scale. We don’t recommend this. For this reason, Medshop Australia only carries food scales which are known to be quality products.
The pros here nearly write themselves. You could argue that a bathroom scale is not going to work for you; not the way you are wired. Fair enough, but your food scale is going to help you cultivate more realistic perceptions about the food you eat.
If you are making food for more than just yourself, a scale will allow you to scale portions for your diners to suit their preferences. Do you have a growing teenager in your home? No problem.
Alternatively, you could use it to standardise portions for every serving. The teenager will probably eat two servings anyways.
Here is the bottom line: You will get results. About 80-90% of people who start using a scale want to lose weight. That's no surprise considering that as of 2012, 60% of Australians were considered overweight
A small percentage of scale users, however, want to gain weight. Whichever category you fall into, you can expect to find what was found by those before.
Weighing your food changes your relationship with it. and most people get results from the discoveries they make.
In fact, as one bonus argument against scales you could lobby that they make you only want to eat food that's been weighed. Break your scale and you’re back to eyeballing your food, and probably getting varied results. It's habit forming.
However you land, to weigh and record everything, or to just track one or the other, we hope you'll find your decision making easier than it was before you read this.
Obviously we're in the business of selling scales, so we we'd love to steer you to one conclusion. That said, your success with your scale is only going to be as strong as the education you bring to using it.
If you have any other questions about scales, please reach out to us.
We would love to help you.