Many people support weight-loss efforts by stepping on a scale and tracking the number either daily or weekly. For others, weigh-ins can be harmful to self-esteem and trigger a negative relationship with food.
New to the tech scene — a numberless scale, like Shapa, which uses colors instead of numbers — could provide you with an option where you’re still accountable for weight changes, but you won’t have to know exactly how much you weigh.
“A numberless scale could be a great tool for weight loss and to maintain a healthy weight [or] body, since one isn’t focused on the number,” says Michelle Zive, PhD, RD, a community health expert in San Diego and co-author of course materials for the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s certified nutrition coach program.
HOW A NUMBERLESS SCALE WORKS
The Shapa numberless scale pairs with a smartphone app to help you lose or maintain your current weight. For the system to be most effective, you should step on the display-free scale at least once daily. When you do, you’ll see a message with a colored background: Green means you’re remaining within your weight range. Shades of blue mean you’re losing weight, and shades of gray signal you’re gaining weight.
Research shows weighing yourself daily is an effective strategy for weight loss and weight management. And 75% of people who are registered with the National Weight Control Registry — a research group at Brown Medical School which tracks the weight-loss and weight-maintenance habits of more than 10,000 adults who lost at least 30 pounds for at least a year — weigh themselves at least once a week. So, a numberless scale may help with your weight-loss efforts if it encourages you to consistently weigh yourself.
WHY A RANGE IS BETTER THAN A NUMBER
“I encourage people to weigh themselves every day, when they get up,” says clinical psychologist Edward Abramson, PhD, professor emeritus of psychology at California State
University and author of “Weight, Diet and Body Image: What Every Therapist Needs to Know.” However, it’s important to keep in mind that daily fluctuations are normal, caused by things like temporary water retention or changes in hormones. Instead of getting discouraged if the number rises by a pound or two (0.5–1 kg), “aim to keep within a 3–5 pound (1.4–2.3kg) range,” recommends Abramson. Tracking your weight daily with an app like MyFitnessPal can be helpful since it allows you to “see overall trends regardless of daily fluctuations.” If you prefer the numberless scale, keeping track of your progress visually with the color range can also be helpful.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Whether or not you use a numberless scale, consistent healthy habits around tracking your weight, healthy eating and exercise are key. “The feedback [from either a traditional or numberless scale] can promote a closer examination of specific behaviors that need to be changed,” says Abramson. Even creating small micro habits is a great place to start since they add up over time.