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Scale Question Please

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Old 01-05-2011, 04:14 AM   #1
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Default Scale Question Please

This is for those of you with what I call fancy scales, which calculate your weight, BMI, body fat % and water %.
Well, I bought one of those fancy scales in the new year sales as a sort of treat to myself to help me get back on track and hopefully break into new ground this year.
My old scale does weight and body fat, but weighs by .5lbs and the body fat is by 1% increments. However the scale can weigh differently by half a pound each time you get on it which frustrates me. I know I should only get on it once, but my crazy head makes me get on it three times some days and I take the best of three
So I set these scales up and weighed on both to start with. My weight on the new scale is 1lb lower than on my old. My body fat on the old scale I'm really not sure about. It has been steadily going down but over the last couple of days has varied by 3%?
So, what I need to know, is how do you analyse the numbers on these new scales? I did search back through old posts to try to find how your work out what's going on when the water or fat go up, but went back months and couldn't seem to find anything.
As an example, yesterday I weighed 139lbs with 27.9% body fat and 51.8% water. This morning I weigh 138lbs with 27.4% body fat and 52.2% water.
Can someone please help me understand these numbers a little more? I know ideally the weight number and the body fat % should be going down, but what about the water? How do I know when I'm retaining water? Will the water number be higher or lower than the "norm" if I'm retaining, which obviously I don't have yet after only a couple of days?
I do appreciate that these scales aren't totally accurate but it is a tool for me to help me see trends etc and I'd just like to be able to understand the numbers and what they mean a little more.
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:55 AM   #2
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Throw away the old scale that changes every time you get on it.

For body fat %, I measured those daily, a few times a day at first just to see what changes took place through out the day based on hydration, etc. Now I do it once a week or so. I don't place too much stock in that measurement since you are supposed to wipe your feet with a damp cloth before doing it and I don't do that.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:00 AM   #3
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LM, I have a "fancy" scale and I have been weighing daily (sometimes more than once) for over a year.

First, my new scale weighed a pound less than my old scale (still does...). I use the fancy scale as my official weight.

Second, 27% BF is fantastic! Mine usually clocks me in somewhere between 36-38%... but I recently had a professional test done, and it came out 34%. I've heard that the at home ones tend to estimate high.

Now, for the fluctuations.... once I started to get a feel for the numbers, they really started to help me. For me, when the water weight % goes up, the body fat% goes down, sometimes dramatically. So the relationship between the two seems to be a ratio.

The scale "thinks" that when we have more water on board we have less fat.... So I usually look at my BF percentage trend only over time. When I first bought the scale, I was close to 50% BF, now, I'm always in the upper 30s, so obviously a big change.

Usually, my water weight percent is somewhere around 40-43%, but when I'm retaining water, it can go up to 47-48%. I've noticed that whenever my Water % is unusually high, I will also see a scale gain, it's mostly around TOM, or when I can tell that I'm puffy. WATER WEIGHT! It has been very reassuring to me, because sometimes I'll have an unexpected bounce even though I've been steadfastly on plan. If I see that the water weight percentage is really high, I just try to drink more water and ignore it...

Inevitably, when the water percent drops down, the bounce disappears.

My scale shows me the percentages every time I step on it and does not require me to wipe my feet with a damp cloth so I get used to seeing the numbers every time. I would not go back to a normal scale-- I love mine!
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:10 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies!
Uber, thank you so much for all the info, I thought I remembered you had one of these scales but wasn't sure.
I think I'm clear now, so when the water % goes up then the weight number may too, so at least I'll be prepared hopefully
Mine doesn't require you to dampen your feet either and immediately does all the numbers for you once you press just one button.
So far I'm really liking it, but like you said it will take time to start to see trends. I love the fact that so far it shows the same numbers everytime you step on it, unlike my old one. I'm going to keep weighing on both until I get back to my pre-xmas weight on my old scale, then move to using just my new scale.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:29 AM   #5
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In the booklet with instructions that came with my scale it said that for my age my water percentage should be between 45-60%

I am pretty much chronically dehydrated though (thanks to a side effect from a med that never went away once I stopped taking it) and my percentage is usually around 40%

I'm 31.
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Old 01-05-2011, 09:47 AM   #6
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I'm pretty sure my scale does this, although I've only ever used it for weight. I think I'll have to try it - I never understood how it did it, but now I see that it does it with an electric current - sounds scary!! haha
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