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Scales

Find an accurate weigh scale for tracking your progress

Perhaps the most useful tool in your weight loss journey is the one that keeps track of your progress: a weight scale. It can be your motivator, your cheerleader, your secretary—and perhaps your worst enemy—all rolled into one. But in order to get the most precise weight readings, you need to invest in a reliable, accurate scale, which might take some searching.

The Importance of Weight

Your actual weight is just one indicator of your overall health, but when you're on the road to wellness, knowing exactly how much you weigh is important. Your weight will help you calculate your body mass index, or BMI, a ratio of height to weight that indicates how fit you are. (Keep in mind, there are certain people for whom BMI will not be an accurate indicator, such as very short or very muscular people.)

Monitoring your weight will also let you know what in your diet and exercise routine is working—and what's not. If you see marked weight loss while trying a certain type of training, you'll know to keep it up. On the other hand, if a week of workouts hasn't yielded results, you know it's time to turn up the intensity or try something new.

Types of Scales

There are two styles of weighing scales: standing (or column) and floor. Standing versions feature the readout at chest level and require manual input. They are usually found in doctor's offices or at gyms because they tend to be more accurate than floor models. Floor scales are more common for in-home use because they're cheaper and lighter.

There are two basic types of floor scales: digital and mechanical. Digital scales can be unreliable because they may weigh differently depending on the surface underneath them. They can also be touchy depending on your posture—there are several pressure points that record your weight, and if you don't stand the same way each time, you may get differing readings. However, mechanical scales can become inaccurate after repeated use, and they their measurements can also vary with differences in temperature and humidity.

Whichever type of scale you choose, keep in mind that your weight can fluctuate throughout the day. For best results, weigh yourself at the same time each day and under the same conditions (clothed/unclothed, before shower/after shower, etc.).

How to Buy

Look for a bathroom scale with a broad weight range. Most cheap scales are only accurate up to 200 pounds, but it's possible to find a home scale that can weigh up to 400 pounds. If you're going digital, look for a scale with an automatic shut-off to preserve battery life. Most importantly, buy a scale that's easy to read while standing on it—a scale with indecipherable numbers isn't much good to anyone!

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