Weight

Weight indicates the total body mass of an individual at a given point in time. It can also be an important variable used to calculate specific health related values.

Performing this test:

  • Remove shoes and any other excess weight such as Keys, phone, wallet, jewellery, excess clothing.
  • Stand on a scale.
  • Read off the result.

Interpreting the Results:

  • Weight is a symptom of the overall state of the body, influenced by total muscle mass, body fat, bone density, body water, and many other factors.
  • It is important to avoid treating weight itself as an absolute measure of health, but rather as a variable in the larger health picture.

Why do this test?

  • Weight is an important variable for several other tests, including the widely used BMI.

Things I like about this test:

  • Assuming you know what other factors may be influencing the picture of your overall health, weight can provide a very quick , easy, and very generalized overall measure of the state of health, such as:
    • as a means to quickly gauge if fat reduction and exercise are having a desired effect.
    • as an indicator that a baby is growing at a statistically normal rate – indicating adequate nourishment.

Things I dislike about this test:

  • In some ways this is the least important measurement with regards to health because weight itself is never actually a problem and doesn’t even necessarily indicate a problem, whereas body fat which contributes to overall weight is very much an indicator of a problem in terms of diet and metabolism.
  • The test requires a specialized piece of equipment, which for the sake of accuracy should be calibrated. Unfortunately, while many modern digital scales are self calibrating, the scale itself may weigh inaccurately if placed on an uneven surface, or may even develop calibration problems over time as the internal components of the scale suffer from wear.
  • Weight measurements can be affected by the clothing worn
  • Weight fluctuates constantly due to many different things, such as times that meals are eaten, the amount of food and drink consumed, the rate at which food is metabolised which affects the times that waste is excreted, and even the amount of waste excreted.
  • To minimise potential inaccuracies due to normal weight fluctuation, the best time of day to measure weight is in the morning – at the same time of the previous measurement for comparisons – and both before breakfast and after using the toilet, wearing minimal clothing – such as basic undergarments.

A final rant:

I find it sad that the vast majority of people seem to obsess over weight when there are so many other factors to their health to take into consideration. Seriously people, do yourselves a favour, throw away your bathroom scales and never look at them again. Obsession with the scales messes with your head and provides you with an unnecessary source of anxiety, and can be used as an excuse to become complacent when your fitness goals fail. Better to focus instead on keeping your cholesterol levels low and balanced, to minimising your body fat percentage, achieving good results in fitness tests, and working on the diet and exercise.

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