5 Smart Scale To Help Speed Weight Loss
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I think the most perfect illustration of a love-hate relationship is the one I have with my scale. I love it: It helps me track my progress when I'm trying to drop a few pounds or put on some muscle. I hate it: I don't always feel great about the number it displays.
Sometimes, the balance tips far enough to "hate" that I quit weighing myself altogether. While I've never thrown out my scale entirely, I have gone for months at a time without stepping on one, and I generally feel good about that decision. (After all, a scale isn't the only way to tell if you're losing weight.) But there's something to be said for more frequent weigh-ins, especially when you're looking to shed some pounds, science says. In a study presented at the Obesity Society's annual conference this year by researchers at Retrofit, people who stepped on a scale about four times a week tended to lose the most weight.
What's more, these days scales can tell you way more than your weight. The latest models of smart scales offer up info about your heart health, your body fat, even the weather outside in addition to your poundage. Check out some of the highest-tech options.
Under Armour Scale
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Get the scale alone, or as part of UA's HealthBox ($219, underarmour.com), where it comes along with a fitness tracker watch and a heart-rate monitor. In addition to tracking your weight and body fat percentage, the scale lets you set a weight-loss goal and will track your progress toward that goal every time you step on. It, as well as the other two devices that are part of UA's HealthBox, sync to UA Record. The powerhouse app acts like your body's dashboard: It tracks your activity and nutrition and keeps tabs on your weight and body fat fluctuations, making it easier for you to reach your goals. (It's on sale now, but it's totally worth the splurge even at full price.)
Photo: Under Armour
Withings Body Cardio
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The smart tech company's latest scale, the Body Cardio ($180, withings.com), is one of the first to track Pulse Wave Velocity, a measure of overall cardiovascular health. It also displays weight, BMI, body fat, water percentage, muscle mass, bone mass.... Not to mention the weather forecast and, if you use a Withings activity tracker, the previous day's step count. Another cool feature: You recharge the scale via a micro USB cable, but a single charge lasts 12 full months.
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The QardioBase ($128, getqardio.com) has a couple different modes that make it stand out. Put it into traditional mode, and it'll tell you your weight, BMI, body fat, etc. But put it into Smart Feedback mode, and you don't have to look at the numbers at all—the scale will just flash a smiling face, neutral face, or sad face to let you know whether you're moving toward your goal (whether that's losing weight, gaining muscle, or something else) or falling short of it. It also has a Pregnancy mode, which helps you track your weekly progress and add pictures to your numbers to make #bumpwatch easier. (Exercising while pregnant: Safe or skip?)
FitBit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale
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One of the discouraging things about weighing yourself often is that you're more tuned in to all the short-term fluctuations that occur over the course of a week. (How did I gain 5 pounds in one night?!) The FitBit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale ($130, fitbit.com) solves that issue with two features. First, it measures your body fat percentage and lean mass, which is made up of muscle mass, water weight, bone weight, and organ weight. Knowing these two measurements helps you determine if your weight gain is due to fat gain or muscle gain—a key distinction. Second, the scale sends your measurements to an app, which creates a long-term trend report. That helps you see past shorter-term fluctuations, to see if your overall trend is moving toward or away from your goal.
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After you set a weight-loss goal with the Polar Balance scale ($100, polar.com), the accompanying app provides a personalized daily activity goal that will help you lose your desired amount of pounds (if you have a Polar wristband, the activity goal will be sent to that as well). The scale also sends your weight and BMI to the app, which creates a trend report. Seeing how your weight changes over time and how your actions and habits affect it can give you more motivation to lose weight.
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Photo: Polar Balance