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A Smart Scale or a Smarter Person?

Don't weigh smart - weigh smarter.

What makes a smart scale smart? In addition to bodyweight, smart scales measure body fat and body mass index (BMI). Some offer a WiFi connection to upload this data and create graphs that display progress over time. The user can access this information via a secure computer or smartphone connection.

Will these smart devices help someone manage their weight? Unfortunately, weight management still depends on what a person does off the scale. Whether using a digital smart scale or a mechanical scale, a person needs to stand still. A perpetually still person has a much more difficult time managing weight and does not need yet another reason to be immobile. Standing atop a scale or looking at graphs on a computer reinforces this inertia. Believe it or not, one of these smart scales allows the user to share their data on Facebook. As "friends" stay glued to their PC awaiting the latest TMI about BMI, the virus of immobility spreads and mutates even further...

What are some better alternatives to a scale? Let's talk low-tech ways of objectively measuring and assessing progress...

The best low-tech measure requires CIA-like secrecy. Do not tell anyone that you are managing your weight. When your clothes start to feel loose, inevitably someone will tell you that you are losing weight. Americans are obsessed with weight and will comment on it. (The National Enquirer regularly features this on their front page.) Use this quirk to your advantage. Also, by keeping your efforts a secret, you will not waste your time listening to "helpful advice" from self-appointed experts. Use your time to exercise and make further progress.

Another great low-tech assessment is breathing rate. Extra weight taxes your cardiovascular system, requiring you to breathe harder and faster. As you exercise consistently, you will notice that your breathing rate for a given task decreases. You will be able to do more with less effort. Think of Sylvester Stallone running up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps throughout "Rocky."

Smart people beat smart scales every time.

I prefer movement based assessments but another great indicator of progress is resting heart rate. As you get into better shape, your heart pumps a greater volume of vital oxygen-carrying blood throughout your body with each beat. This increase in strength and efficiency translates into fewer beats per minute during rest. The best way to measure resting heart rate is as follows:

  1. Gently place a finger on a pulse point such as the thumb-side of either wrist. Do not use your thumb as it has its own pulse.
  2. Look at a watch and when you feel the pulse, begin counting the pulse with "zero", "one", "two" etc. At the end of sixty seconds stop and record your count.

It is best to record your resting heart rate on a weekend when you first wake up without a blaring alarm clock after a full night's sleep. Grab your watch from your night stand and count your pulse while continuing to lie in bed.

There are more high-tech ways of evaluating your progress but you should learn the low-tech ways first. A smarter person will always beat a smart scale.

Mark (XBigMan) Davis

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