By now you should know that I initially took on running to lose weight. Even though I wasn’t a couch potato, I still needed something to keep me motivated and I found out that for me, numbers are a great motivation. Numbered objectives and metrics are a simple way to help you achieve your ambitions (more on that in a later post). But I also like myself a good gadget so I decided to buy a scale that would help me doing just that.
I could have bought a simple scale for a tenner at my local corner shop, but I wanted more than that. I wanted a nice gadget with all the bells and whistles, a useless app, plenty of metrics and fancy stuff that I would never use. I also though that it would be cool if it could be part of an ecosystem and use the same app / web interface as the watch I would buy later. So naturally, my first thoughts went to Withings. I was already eying on the Withings Activité, a classy activity tracker that looks like an analogue watch with all the trimmings: a leather band, stylish face and hands, and great features. Withings offered 2 models of smart scales: the WS-30 Wireless Scale and the Smart Body Analyzer. They also had the added advantage of being a French company. But as awesome as they are, their products are just too damn expensive. Anyway, I realised that I would probably want a proper running watch rather than a simple activity tracker so I had to give up on my idea on relying on a single ecosystem.
So I went for the Fitbit Aria. Fitbit has shedloads of different activity trackers that are all uglier than the next (despite what they say) but their smart scale is surprisingly as elegant as the ones from Withings and was much cheaper at the time.
Using the scale everyday
Yes, I do use the scale everyday. Yes my weight sometimes vary wildly from one day to another, even though I always weigh myself at the same time of the day (first thing in the morning, before eating or exercising). The difference can sometimes be up to 1 kg from one day to another and this is not due to the scale but to the nature of human metabolism, which is why I weigh myself everyday rather than once a week like most people recommend: it allows me to calculate my average weight over the week.
Configuring the scale wasn’t too hard, although it didn’t work on the first try (the initial pairing process via the computer was a bit flaky). The scale now sends the data without a problem even though WiFi signal is really weak in the bathroom. I haven’t changed or recharged its batteries since I bought it nine months ago, which is also a good point. In terms of features, it allows multiple users in total confidentiality (and recognises them automatically), measures weight and fat percentage and offers a user-friendly user interface on the website. It gives you charts of your weight, fat percentage and BMI over your selected period of time. If you have a Fitbit activity tracker and/or if you synchronise your Fitbit account with a running app (I sync it with Runkeeper), it will give you even more data regarding number of steps, calories spent and sleep tracking.
The web interface is rather pleasant and so is the mobile app, but even though it sounds like it gives a lot of data, it is actually kind of limited if you just have the scale like me. Also, syncing with Runkeeper is supposed to work both ways, but I have never managed to get it to push my weight to Runkeeper, only to receive my daily activities. The major drawback of this scale though, is that it will automatically add you an extra 2 or 3 kilos after Christmas, as you can see on this graph, and you’ll have to lose them again.
I don’t regret this purchase at all, I still use it everyday after nine months, which kind of proves it is good! So I would definitely recommend to buy the Fitbit Aria, especially if you already have an other Fitbit product or if you intend to invest in one of their activity trackers. However, if you are concerned with privacy issues, then this might be a problem because the scale only syncs with Fitbit’s cloud (the computer is used only once, for setup) so you don’t know where or how your data is stored.