I think this whole weight loss thing would be much easier for me if the scale wasn’t so complicated. I mean, a good old fashioned scale tells you what you weigh at that moment in time when you stand on it. Well, if you’ve been at this for any length of time, you know that that number really doesn’t mean much at all. I don’t mean in the pump-up-your-spirit world of emotional support of those going through weight loss “the number on the scale doesn’t measure your worth … blah blah blah” but, in the sense that the number is representing a combination of muscle mass, fat, bone, tissue and the ever-changing “water” amount too. So, you could easily step on the scale in the morning and have a 5 pound difference in the evening based solely on your fluid levels and what remains in your digestive tract. Clearly nobody gains or loses 5 pounds of fat during one day, or even overnight for that matter. So, the best thing for me to do to keep my sanity is to weigh myself often, but always under the same conditions (time, etc.) in the morning to get as consistent of a reading as possible. This has worked out pretty well. But I know that unless I am standing on a body composition scale, or getting a DXA scan, I really don’t know what is going on under my skin. And that, my friends, drives me crazy. And, as I am spacing out my appointments at Scottsdale Weight Loss even further and further apart, I don’t get that information from their medical grade Tanita scale very often anymore.
So, several weeks ago, as I was really starting to like what I saw and felt from my consistent personal training sessions – yet completely NOT liking what I was seeing on the scale – a thought popped into my head. I wondered what sort of investment would be involved in getting a better scale. Maybe not a medical grade Tanita scale…but something better than what I was using at home. I’ve looked into this before, but the reviews were always mixed and I was trying to reduce the haziness of this measurement, not add to it. I went directly to the Tanita site to see what they sold to the public and that is when I learned about their newest scale – the RD-901.
The RD-901 Ironman uses radio wireless Bluetooth technology, monitoring the effectiveness of a weight loss or physical activity program has never been easier. The RD-901 also incorporates the very latest Dual Frequency bioelectric impedance analysis technology. Dual frequency testing provides an additional level of accuracy to the body composition analysis process by providing essential data of a person’s intracellular and extracellular status. The RD-901 is an FDA cleared 510(k) type 2 medical device, with a weighing capacity of 440 lb (200 kg). It uses BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) technology, which sends a safe, low-level electrical signal from foot electrodes through the body. BIA is quick and non-invasive, and is one of the most thorough and reliable ways to measure body composition, clinically comparable to DEXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) and hydrostatic (underwater) weighing. A body composition analysis using the RD-901 will help assess the effectiveness of any weight loss or physical activity program.
Looking promising, I popped over to Amazon to read some reviews … and only found 2. I realized the RD-901 is really new; I think it just came out last month. Both reviews I found were promising though, with the only negative comments being that the data was difficult to manipulate, etc. I really was looking for stability of readings and some confidence in the measurements, and that seemed to be the case (from a very small sampling, of course). I liked the fact that it would transmit my daily measurements via Bluetooth to my phone too (they have only developed this feature for iPhones and it doesn’t sound like there plans to expand platforms any time soon). Data transfer wasn’t an absolute must, but it easily creates a way to track readings over time without grabbing paper and pen at 7 am when I usually am waking up and getting on the scale. They are obviously trying to compete with the Withings and FitBit Aria scales.
I decided that I might put the Tanita RD-901 on my birthday wish list. At $259, it is not an inexpensive scale. I was trying to justify it in my head by realizing how it could reduce my visits to SWLC just to weigh in. Eventually I’ll only be going very infrequently but I hope that my lean muscle mass and fat % will always be one of my concerns and things I want to track. So, one afternoon before our trip, my husband was talking about my birthday and I told him that there was something I already wanted … a scale. And he said, basically, “there is no way in HELL I’m buying you a scale for your birthday. That is worse than getting your wife a kitchen appliance. Even if you really really want it, I can’t have you telling anyone that I gave you a SCALE for your birthday.” And I took that to mean, “go ahead and order the scale yourself” (haha). So, I did…and it arrived literally hours before we left on our vacation. Because it had so many things to set up out of the box, I didn’t even get to play with it before we left town.
Now that I am back and really motivated to get back down to business, this new toy is really helping me with a “spark” of excitement. Yes, a new scale and technology is pretty exciting for me… I only have about 5 days worth of measurements so far. The first one I took at the end of the day, fully clothed, and the numbers are so completely out of whack from what my early morning readings have been. The morning readings have been fairly consistent so far, drifting up and down a bit daily. I am also still weighing on my old scale, and it seems to be tracking similarly, although the new scale weighs me about 2 pounds higher.
I’m really excited to see how it compares to Dr. Ziltzer’s Tanita scale tomorrow morning. I have to convert some of the measurements, percents, etc. but the new scale is showing me at a lower fat % than my last appointment, almost 3 months ago. I hope that is real and not just the difference in the scales…especially since I weigh about 8 pounds more than at my last appointment. I really have/had put the effort in at the gym to build lean muscle, seeing it in black and white would be awesome…but I’m not getting my hopes up.
I did contact the distributor of this scale for Tanita in the US to see if they would be making improvements to the data transfer and to ask a question about what I was trying to download. I was impressed that I had a personal email back from them within less than 10 minutes with an answer. I was, however, disappointed to learn that, at this point, they do not have a way to export data. My contact did assure me that they are nearing the release of a way to dump the data from the iPhone app into the Apple Health database. So, that sounds promising.
So far so good. I’ll follow up with some comparison data when I have it. If the numbers seem stable and can correlate to another device, I’ll plan on keeping the RD-901.