Review: Eat Smart Digital Precision Scale

Last month, I wrote about wanting to get a new scale — I’ve been in dire need of one. After my cat turned my last expensive scale into a nap spot, promptly turning it into an expensive paperweight (hello dead battery!), I went to cheap analog scale land — $9.99 on Amazon.com! But the problem with analog dial scales is they can be terribly inaccurate — lots of guess work on which number the dial is pointing to (oh, I’ll just round down!), and constantly readjusting the needle to zero.

I decided to upgrade to a digital scale — no more guesswork, or self-delusion, and nothing the cats could turn into a show-piece gathering dust. After some research and recommendations from other bloggers, I settled on the EatSmart Precision Premium Digital Bath Scale.

For starters, I’m amazed at how far the world of gadgets has come — the ES Precision Premium Digital Scale is light! I’m used to bulky old things, but the Precision Premium is thin and light — but still sturdy. It’s ridiculously easy to use — literally just step on it and voila! The numbers zip around until it settles on your weight & flashes several times in bright, bold, easy to read LED display. You can even weigh without your glasses on/contacts in — the display is 3.5 inches and the blue background/black numbers are easy to read. This particular model is made of aluminum and plastic, which I prefer to tempered glass models — I’ve always worried about breaking glass ones (silly but true!).

One of my favorite parts? The scale comes with the batteries you need! The Precision Premium uses four AAA batteries that are easy to replace when the time comes. Personally, I’m tucking this baby away, out of reach of the cats, so that time won’t come for a while. It’s nice to have a scale I can trust, not only so I know where I stand, weight-wise, but so I can’t delude myself  by rounding down, or assuming the scale is inaccurate. Being accountable to your numbers is important, and a high quality, accurate scale is an essential tool for weight loss.

(note: each time you move your scale off the floor, you need to step on it once to let it calibrate, let it turn off and then step on again — if you store your scale off the floor when you’re not using it, like I do, you’ll need to do this every time. It’s worth it b/c often the first reading is heavier than the “real” reading!)

Full disclosure — the lovely marketing team at EatSmart were kind enough to send me the Precision Premium to test out. I was fully prepared to shell out cash for myself, though – it’s only $32 on Amazon.com, and if you read some of the other customer reviews, EatSmart is a company that cares — customers who reported problems with their scales (just a few!) called up customer service, and were promptly sent replacement models. It’s not just about getting a digital scale that works, but one that is backed up by the company that makes it. No one wants a big square paperweight on their floor!

So I highly recommend the Eat Smart Precision Premium Digital Bath Scale, if you’re looking for a sturdy, accurate digital scale that isn’t bulky or ugly, and won’t break the bank. For more information, you can like Eat Smart on Facebook, read their Tweets or visit their website!

A New Measure of Success – Body Fat Percentage!

I finally decided to splurge on a fun new toy — and a new way to measure my success. You know what’s more important to me than pounds lost? Fat converted to muscle. Who cares how much I weigh if I still have a ton of fat all over?

So I bought an Omron Body Fat Loss Monitor, for $27 on Amazon. This nifty device, which I’d seen previously at the gym, tells you what percentage of your body is fat. It also measures BMI. How does it work? You program in your details — height, weight, age, gender and body type (“normal” vs. athletic) — then hold the device at a 90 degree angle to your body for about 30 seconds. A gentle, micro-electric current runs through your body and, bam! You get your percent of body fat, as well as your BMI.

I’d like to start tracking my body fat percentage, to be sure I am developing lean muscle, and to get my body fat into the ideal range for women.

I must confess that I was a little disappointed in my initial body fat percentage. I know I had the same measured approximately one year ago in Boston, and I recall it being approximately the same. It might have been one or two percentage points higher, but essentially, it’s higher than I’d like.

So as of yesterday, I have a body fat percentage of 35.2%.

This is considered high for women my age, but at least it’s not very high. The ideal/normal range for women aged 20-39 is 21-32.9%. It could be FAR worse, but I’m still frustrated — there are fat deposits all over my body that I need to work on converting to lean muscle.

My goal for 2011: get my body fat percentage down 1-2%. The hard part? Actually figuring out how to do that! I’ll be blogging about some of my attempts, which include being very careful about what I eat before/after workouts, in an effort to build lean muscle.

If you have experience with this and have tips — please speak up! I’m reading a book on hormones, food & weight that is giving me ideas, and I also bought protein powder for before/after intense cardio workouts.

Spanx makes “athletic wear” now (but only for small(er) people)

Ladies! Do you want to look your best at the gym? Is it important that you have a good line, and look sexy while sweating?*

Well! Spanx has an athletic line now! Here’s the catch: you may not fit into it.

While I will contend that there is a considerable market of people who could use some serious compression wear for athletics — particularly plus-size women who are annoyed/hindered by their stomachs/thighs, etc. when it comes to working out comfortably — Spanx’s athletic line is not actually for these people. The largest size is XL, which claims to be a 14/16, but based on their measurement chart, my hips wouldn’t fit (I’m just above — though on top, it’s a fit).

So we end up with more of the same problem: bigger women who WANT to exercise and need compression wear, don’t get it. Smaller/normative women (I won’t say thin and cast aspersions) who have their pick of compression athletic wear (should they desire it) get a superfluous and expensive product line from Spanx. ($118 for a pair of pants?!?!?!) If I want expensive compression wear (which actually comes in my size, thanks), I’ll go to Athleta.

I guess it’s just slightly ridiculous because it’s coming from Spanx, which is in the business of “smoothing lines” so ladies can be sexy and confident in their power suits & dresses. Thus, the assumption is that these pieces aren’t really for working out in/sweating in, but for making you LOOK BETTER doing it. Fail.

Also, they’re called SPANX. Double fail.

(bitter tall woman disclosure: Spanx generally don’t fit me because they don’t make decent products for tall women, so they never come up high enough. Panty hose hanging two inches from your crotch = FAIL. Also, the one pair I bought once ripped the first time I wore it)

Conclusion: Spanx is a FASHION product, so that they’re branching out into “athletic wear” for a limited subset of sizes (and heights) is slightly ridiculous.

* LOL kidding — you can’t sweat in these! They’re not even moisture wicking!

What kind of scale do you have?

I’m beginning to think my $10 analog scale just isn’t enough, so I’m in a market for a new one. I used to have a “fancy” (read: $20) digital scale, but fun fact: if your cat sits on it enough, the battery dies. Kitty can’t kill the analog scale, so there you go. (also: moisture can kill them, so don’t have yours in the bathroom)

But it’s not terribly accurate. Since I got it, it’s been off by 2-3 pounds from Weight Watchers (2-3 lbs UNDER), and because there are all those little lines and I’m slightly blind… it’s just not the best measure of my actual weight. I need something more accurate to keep me on track, especially since I keep missing meetings.

Now, just because I like it complicated, I would like a unit that also measures my body fat percentage. I’m finding just looking at net loss/gain isn’t helpful, when I *suspect* I’m gaining muscle mass and reducing body fat — but I need some quantitative way to keep track of this. Enter OMGEXPENSIVE scales. I’m wibbling on which one to get and would LOVE some first-hand, personal reviews/recommendations.

 

Option One:

Omron Full Body Sensor Body Fat and Body Composition Monitor

I love that it has the attached body fat measuring thingy — I used one of those at the gym last year, so I’m familiar with the product. BUT, some of the reviews say the body fat measurements are inaccurate. If I’m paying $66, I want it to be correct!

 

 

 

Option Two:

Tanita BF680W Duo Scale Plus Body Fat Monitor with Athletic Mode and Body Water

The body water thing and athletic mode sound promising, plus a friend has an older model and loves it. But is just standing on a scale going to register the most accurate body fat measure?

 

 

Option Three:

A (fancier) scale + a separate body fat measure device —

Eatsmart Precision Plus Digital Bathroom Scale

Omron HBF-306C Fat Loss Monitor

These two together would cost about the same as the two super fancy ones above, but I could keep the functions wholly separate.

 

What do you think? If you’re reading and you have a “fancy” scale, do you recommend it? I am especially curious to hear from anyone who does Weight Watchers online and/or their own weight loss regime — I am considering switching to online WW for a while but won’t do it unless I have a robust, trustworthy scale.