Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Numbers

I’m a triathlete.  I exercise a lot.  I’m an Ironman.  My body is strong.  Sometimes, it’s even a little bit fast.

I admit it.  I still get happy when I see a smaller number on the scale and less happy when I see a bigger number.  I shouldn’t care.  But I do.  I suppose this is just part of being a woman – regardless of what we do and what we’re capable of, we still let that number influence us a little bit.  I KNOW I shouldn’t care, and it doesn’t influence my eating choices, but yes, when I see a number I like, I do a little happy dance inside.

I made a purchase this week that feeds my inner data geek. 

It doesn’t just measure weight.  You get % body fat, % body water, muscle mass, BMR, metabolic age, and bone mass. 

You see where I’m going with this…

Numbers.  More numbers.  More data to track!

Don’t worry, I’m not letting it take me over.  I’m actually finding it very interesting. 

The new scale says I am 2 pounds heavier than the old scale.  OK, I can deal with it.  It says my % body fat is within the healthy range.  I’m not too surprised by that.  Body water, muscle mass, bone mass…yeah, all OK. 

BMR, the number of calories needed to maintain my current weight: 1199.  Um, WHAT???  I think I would starve on that # of calories.  Clearly it is slightly mistaken here, even when I account for my calories burned working out.

Metabolic age: 19.  I’ll take it :)

The interesting part has been figuring out the right time of day to weigh in.  In the past, I’d always gotten on the scale first thing in the morning, after using the restroom and before eating or drinking anything.  In other words, the lightest possible time I could get.

For accurate readings on this scale, it says that’s not really the best time.  Your body water is lower and so your body fat reads higher.  It’s a tradeoff – weigh later in the day when you are hydrated and get a correct body fat % but a higher weight, or weigh early in the day and get the opposite.  Today, I have weighed in at several times of day to just get a sense of the variation.  Surprisingly, it’s not as big as I thought it would be.

I really wish I’d had this scale last year so I could see the huge changes that took place in my body during IM training, the muscle mass added.  But still, I will enjoy tracking – in a non-obsessive way, I promise – my numbers as I get back into shape this year and have some idea of what my “norm” is.  At the very least, I should have a better understanding of some of my good and bad training days if I see any correlation with hydration levels and weight.

Other than that, I promise not to let the numbers make or break my day.  I won’t obsess.  Any more than any other woman, anyway :)

15 comments:

jennabul said...

Ah numbers! I haven't been on the scale yet =)
The way I learned it, your BMR is the number of calories you need to just exist. The bare bones minimum. But I am sure you have some nutritionists on here who can explain it better than I can!

MM said...

I have that same scale. I weigh in the AM. I figure if I'm consistent I can see trends and that's what's important to me. I also use it pre/post long runs to see what it says about water loss etc...

San said...

I've a body fat scale too. (No BMR or metabolic age included) And it's fun to use it. In any case, I just use it ones a week to not get too obsessive.

Have fun with yours.

ADC said...

I have similar scales. And totally agree with Maggs.

Jen said...

Fun new toy ::running out to get one::

Wes said...

Wha? There are more numbers I can track? HELL YEA!!! :-)

Larissa said...

I think you are reading my mine molly! i was researching scales last night. After seeing my numbers go up on my current scale after consistent work outs and feeling like throwing it through the wall. It will be interesting to see my muscle mass change!

Kristi said...

Funny...I almost bought a scale just like that...then realized I'm already OCD enough about my numbers and downgraded to give myself fewer options. :)

D said...

I have a BF scale too. Keep in mind, the BF numbers are totally hokey. You're likely a few % lower than it will ever show you so lay NO stock in that read out.
I stopped letting some of my clients use them.

heather said...

I would totally get OCD with that scale. Then I'd get mad because the numbers would be larger than I want to see and I'd probably have to banish it for being mean. LOL

beardies3 said...

This cracks me up, Molly. My scale measures in stones not pounds. (We bought it in Australia.) If you want nice numbers measure stones and think of them as pounds. :-) Those are the only numbers I could handle after years of prednisone.

1 ST = 14 lbs.

Maria said...

Hmmm, I think one more data gadget purchase and you might qualify for free DLA (Data Lovers Anonymous) meetings.

ShirleyPerly said...

I have a scale like that too. Note that BMR is only for basic life functions (eating, sleeping, peeing, etc) and does not include working out. The most important number for me during IM training was the hydration %. I don't think I could have survived training in the FL summer heat w/o it!

Rainmaker said...

Why is it that all new scales always add an extra pound or two? Every.single.time.

Sherry said...

Molly, you aren't going to believe this, but my Tanita just arrived at my house yesterday... a belated birthday gift from my mom. My BDay was in November and I stalled and stalled on telling her what I really wanted. About 1 week ago, I finally told that I wanted a scale that measure all of those good thing that yours does!

I hopped on for the first time yesterday!

Your calorie count is insane!!! You have it on Athlete mode, right? Wow! My scale told me that I could eat 2400 cals a day and that I was 16 years old! I about jumped for joy! Woo-hoo... to be 16 again!!!!

Have fun with it! Heather G. told me that I needed to get one of these last year at tri camp because of my dehydration issues, so that's really what I'm using it for; however, it's sorta cool to be abe to see those other numbers as well. :o)