Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Tale of a Scale

I bought a digital scale primarily for weighing the new telescope.  (I am getting ready to buy an equatorial platform, which provides a way to have a Dobsonian telescope track the stars, at least intervals of 60-80 minutes, and I needed to know how much it weighed.)  With my AmazonPrime membership, it cost $20 shipped.

This is a way more elegant looking scale than this picture makes it appear.  More importantly, unlike a lot of traditional scales, it seems to be very consistent.  I can get on it several times in a row over a several minute period and get the same weight, at least to the accuracy of the scale (in 0.2 pound increments).

I bought it for weighing a telescope, but it seems to be causing me to lose weight!  When I first weighed myyself on it, I weighed 222 pounds.  (I wasn't paying enough attention to bother with the decimal fractions.)  On Thursday, I weighed 219.6 pounds.  Yesterday, 219.0 pounds.  This morning, 217.6 pounds. 

Okay, the scale isn't doing this all by itself.  I took a day of vacation yesterday to finish up a project for the Independence Institute concerning mental illness and mass murder.  Not going to work reduces my stress level, and my appetite.  The treadmill and upper body exercise makes a difference, too, because muscle works more calories at rest than fat.  But the scale gives me immediate feedback as to whether I am making progress (which is encouraging), or if I am not making progress (which encourages more restraint in eating and more exercise).  

It is rather like the way that shooting at metal plates instead of paper targets seems to help your shooting skills.  The more immediate the feedback, the more rapidly you seem to improve.


  1. One thing to watch with a digital scale - forced consistency.

    I have a digital scale that will not change its reading until some threshold (about a pound) is reached. This means that small changes are smoothed and the apparent resolution is lost.

    To force an update, I pick up a couple of books, weigh myself, put them down, and weigh again. If you really care about those tenths (and I'm engineer enough to care) you might have to do something similar.

  2. I have had a doctor's (mechanical) scale for about 45 years. It has shamed me into maintaining my weight for that period - I weigh the same now as I did when I got it (within 5 lb or so). I am now 71.
    When you can see the result of excess so clearly, you learn not to indulge very much!

  3. I have had an old Doctor's (mechanical) scale for more than 40 years. It forces me to confront myself daily when I overindulge my love of food. And it works! I weigh the same as when I originally got it.

  4. Clayton,

    Re the weight issue: forgive me for not trying to google your previous discussion (if any) and answering my own question, but are you going/thinking about going the low-carb route?

  5. I second Richard Clark ’s concern. Digital scales often have programming to force consecutive weighings that are nearly the same to read the same.