To Scale

What’s better than a little data? A lot of data. We just got a new toy that generates all kinds of data: our first bathroom scale. But this isn’t just any scale. It displays my weight like you’d expect but also uses a harmless electrical current to calculate my body fat, total water content, muscle mass, and bone percentage. Plus it looks slick and has a nice, clean display for our information. Except for getting my body fat measured back in junior high or high school, I’ve never had any of those measurements taken by a medical professional. But as far as I can tell, the extra information seems to be fairly accurate, or at least reasonable. We’re both trying to lose some body fat, so I hope this scale will help us track our progress.

With accuracy down to 0.2 pounds, it also allows me to perform some interesting experiments. For instance:

  • How much does my weight vary throughout the day and from day to day? (as much as five pounds)
  • How much weight do I lose during a trip to the bathroom?
  • How much water weight do I sweat out during a short run or a long run? This information can help me know how much replacement water to drink.
  • With my workout program and diet, does my body fat drop as quickly as my muscle mass increases, or is one faster than the other?

I haven’t decided yet what to do with all this data. Several iPhone apps let you track your weight and other data points. I could also set up an Excel spreadsheet or use some other tool. We’ll see. Right now I’m just playing with it.