I love my scales…just not this week (or BBG goes hormonal)

June 11, 2009 at 9:50 pm 3 comments

I have a set of Tanita InnerScan scales and I love them. They’re funky to look at, measure your weight, body fat %, hydration levels, lean body mass, bone mass, estimate your basal metabolic rate, and even tell you how old you are, metabolically speaking. I am 50, apparently. In reality, I’m not sure how accurate some of these measurements are, but for the most part, I have been surprisingly impressed with the weight and body fat functions.

These scales – actually, they are a body composition monitor, but that’s a bit of a mouthful – measure all that stuff using a technique called bioimpedance. They send an electrical current up through the electrodes in one of the foot plates, it arcs through your lower body and out the other side. You don’t feel a thing. Because the different materials in your body (water, muscle, fat, bone) conduct electricity at different rates, the scale can use the speed of return of the signal to calculate what percentage of each makes up your body. Or something like that. Hand held monitors, Omron being the major manufacturer of these, work the same way but send the current through your upper body. This is one way in which inaccuracies can creep in, for example if you hold a lot of fat on your lower body but are leaner up top, the two types of model will give you different results. But if you’re fat all over, like me, you’re laughing. Or not.

These gadgets have a bit of a bad reputation for not being particularly accurate at measuring body fat % and for giving wildly fluctuating results from day to day. I certainly can’t speak about anybody else’s experience with them, but for the most part, I have found mine to be pretty reliable. I weigh myself first thing in the morning, after the loo, but before eating or drinking etc, and the results are generally very consistent. Most of the time, my daily difference is in the range of 0 to less than 0.5% BF, and often this is a good guage of how I’ve been eating.

Generally, the largest fluctuations I see, and they are not that frequent, tend to be in the 1-2% range at most. Changes of that size are usually blips, which are not maintained the next day.

I have a friend with an eating disorder who weighs herself several times a day, and I have seen scarily thin people do this in the gym too, so in the spirit of experimentation, I have tried this to see what effect it has.

Breakfast can add up to 6 or 7 pounds! If (don’t tell) I wait for an hour or two before having breakfast and weigh myself again before eating, my weight tends to go down, but my BF up. This also applies if I sleep in on the weekend and weigh at 11am instead of 7am. And later in the day, it’s all up up up. Post-workout, unsurprisingly weight and BF will be much lower.

This is why it is so important to always measure yourself under the same conditions, preferably first thing in a fasted state. This seems to work well for me, and gives me a figure I can trust, if not necessarily one that I like looking at. In fact, I recently had a bangs-and-whistles ultrasound body scan done at a fitness convention on a horrendously expensive piece of kit, and it came to within 1.5% of what my Tanita tells me at home. So overall, I think it is quite reliable, at least for me.

I weigh myself daily. In the ‘olden days’ they used to tell you not to do this, because of the fluctuations, and because you’d get too caught up in the numbers. But now, studies show that many people who have lost weight and successfully kept it off, do weigh themselves daily – it keeps them honest. FYI, the other thing they have in common is exercise. Daily. Lots of it. Anyway, I find that the minor fluctuations that I see with daily weighing/measuring means that I am less worried about the numbers than if I weighed in once a week and found I was up a pound and 2% body fat!

And for the last two weeks, since starting TT 5TC, I have been liking what I see – a general downward trend on both weight and body fat on a more or less daily basis. But the last few days have been a bit odd. It’s been up, it’s been down. It’s been round and round and round. Actually, no, just up and down. But now I understand. It’s that time of the month (TTOM). Boys with issues about girly stuff, you may want to look away now.

Until recently, I had been on the pill for years, mainly to combat homicidal PMS (seriously – I had to be sedated once!), and took back to back packets to avoid the drop in hormones. I had a period around once every three or four months and it wasn’t much to write home about.

Anyway, I somewhat reluctantly had to come off the pill a couple of months ago. This is because as I am now 40 and for the first time my blood pressure is not 120/80 but seemed to have overnight jumped into the prehypertension/hypertension range, being on the pill puts me at a significantly increased risk of suffering a stroke. So no more pill. The good news is that my blood pressure is now coming down. Not to where it was, but at least 130/90 rather than 150/100! Anyhow, as a result this week I am having my second ‘proper’ period in years. And it sucks. I’d forgotten how awful it is. I feel crap, bloated, uncomfortable. I want to inhale carbs like they are going out of fashion. And I’ve nearly quit my job three times already this week! LOL.

But as for what it’s doing to my weight: despite changing nothing in my diet or exercise regimen this week, I was 209.6 lbs and 44.6% body fat one day, 210 lbs and 45% body fat the next, and then this morning, I was up another 0.6 pounds and down 1.3% body fat. Needless to say, this is really odd. I guess I am going to have to stop weighing myself during TTOM – it’s just all over the place and doesn’t really seem to be any indication of what is happening with my eating and exercise. I will just stick to my eating and exercise goals and know that the scales will eventually check back in with reality. So long as I keep away from that double chocolate fudge cheesecake.


Entry filed under: Body image, exercise, fat loss, heath and fitness, nutrition, Turbulence Training, weight loss, Weight training.

Turbulence Training 5th Transformation Contest – end of week 2 BBG does Download

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cynthia  |  June 12, 2009 at 1:33 am

    There’s times when it is good to weigh daily and there are times when it is not… and this seems to be one of those times for you. Don’t sweat it.

    Good news about the blood pressure coming down though!

  • 2. blubberbegone  |  June 12, 2009 at 10:32 am

    On the other hand, I had a day off work today and didn’t weigh in till 10am. Down 1 pound and 0.4% BF on yesterday. Nice to see, but doesn’t count. Only taken between 7 and 8am, in standard conditions is allowed. Still no need to look a gift horse in the mouth. Just don’t take the gift horse too seriously.

  • 3. Cynthia  |  June 12, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Yeah, I have the same feeling about late morning weigh-ins… ‘cuz I know if I sleep late, there’s extra water coming off just from breathing. But I record ’em anyway.

    I got a gift horse today myself. I think it’s just that I didn’t get my full gallon and a half of water in yesterday. I actually expected, based on that and how blasted sore my butt is from the Gilad workout, for the scale to be upwards again. But it wasn’t.

    So maybe there’s hope for the wretched. I didn’t keep my deficit yesterday, though I also didn’t eat to excess or eat anything unhealthy.


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Blubberbegone Stats

  • Start: 16 stone, 45.7% body fat
  • Goal: 10 stone, 20% body fat
  • Today: 14 stone 13.6 lbs, 44.8% BF
  • Pounds lost: 14.4
  • Body fat lost: 0.9%
  • Exercise this week (Sat–Fri):
  • Total: 2 hr 5 mins
  • Jog/Walk: 20 mins
  • Walking: 20 mins
  • Burlesque: 1 hr
  • Pilates: 25 mins
  • African dance: mins
  • Tae Kwon Do: mins
  • Badminton: mins
  • Tai Chi: mins
  • Yoga: hr
  • Exercise last week: 4 hrs 40 mins
  • Joke of the Day

    I'm not fat - I'm a woman and a half.


    My Weight Loss Goals

  • 1. Crack 15 stone (210 lbs) for the fourth and final (I hope) time.
  • 2. Lose 10% of my body fat (14 stone 4).
  • 3. Fit into a size 18 (US 16).
  • 4. Get my body fat below 40%
  • 5. Lose another 10% of my body fat (12 stone 12/180 lbs).
  • 6. Get my BMI under 30 (12 stone 9/177 lbs) - no longer obese, just overweight now.
  • 7. Weigh less than my husband.
  • 8. Fit into a size 16 (US 14).
  • 9. Lose my third 10% (11 stone 8/162 lbs).
  • 10. Fit into a size 14 (US 12).
  • 11. Get my BMI under 25 (10 stone 8/148 lbs).
  • 12. Lose my fourth 10% (10 stone 6/ 146 lbs).
  • 13. Fit into a size 12 (US 10).
  • 14. Reach my goal weight (10 stone) and decide if I need to lose any more based on my muscularity and shape.
  • 15. Turn heads in a bikini!
  • My Fitness Goals for 2011

  • 1. Increase my cruising walking speed from around 5.0kph to 6.4kph.
  • 2. Increase continuous jogging time to 30 mins.
  • 3. Run a 5K for charity.
  • 4. Work on my crawl stroke and build up to 30 mins continuous swimming.
  • 5. Build up to 1 hour continuous and comfortable cycling.
  • 6. Squat 50kg.
  • 7. Do an unassisted chin up.
  • 8. Take a martial arts or self-defence class for at least 3 months.
  • 9. Beat my husband at badminton.
  • 10. Learn a new dance style.
  • My Blubber Reduction Journey

  • My highest measured weight ever:
  • Jan 1 2006 = 238 lbs (17 stone)
  • BBG blog starting weight:
  • Sep 16 2007 = 215.5 lbs (15 stone 5.5), 47.0% BF Lean body mass 114.2 lbs (8 stone 2.2)
  • Highest weight posted since then:
  • Xmas 2008 = 223.6 lbs (15 stone 13.6), 48.2% BF, lean body mass 116.0 lbs (8 stone 4)
  • Lowest weight posted since then:
  • Nov 16 2009 = 193.2 lbs (13 stone 11.2), 43.7% BF, lean body mass 108.8 lbs (7 stone 10.8)
  • Lowest body fat posted since then:
  • Sep 7 2009 = 194.2 lbs (13 stone 12.2), 42.6% BF, lean body mass 111.5 lbs (7 stone 13.5)
  • My blubber reduction journey 2011:
  • Xmas 2010 = 221.6 lbs, 46.7% BF, 118.1 lbs LBM
  • 5 Jan = 221.0 lbs, 47.1% BF
  • 12 Jan = 219.6 lbs, 45.8% BF
  • 19 Jan = 220.4 lbs, 45.8% BF (TTOM)
  • 26 Jan = 218.8 lbs, 45.2% BF
  • 2 Feb = 218.8 lbs, 44.7% BF
  • 9 Feb = 219.4 lbs, 44.9% BF
  • 16 Feb = 215.8 lbs, 44.6% BF
  • 23 Feb = 213.2 lbs, 45.2% BF
  • 2 Mar = 211.6 lbs, 45.9% BF
  • 9 Mar = 209.8 lbs, 45.1% BF
  • 16 Mar = 208.8 lbs, 45.3% BF
  • 23 Mar = 208.0 lbs, 45.1% BF
  • 13 Apr = 208.4 lbs, 44.4% BF
  • 20 Apr = 207.6 lbs, 43.3% BF
  • 27 Apr = 205.0 lbs, 45.8% BF
  • 4 May = 209.2 lbs, 45.2% BF (TTOM)
  • No. weeks: 18
  • Average weekly weight loss: 0.31%
  • 101 in 1001

    28 down, 5 goals revoked, 68 to go, and 94 days to do them. Check out the 101 page, above, for all the latest on my journey to be a better blubberbegone.


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