On cheat days and scales.

I always hear from people giving armchair diet advice to “take cheat days” on my diet, so as not to get discouraged or over-stressed. I have mixed feelings about cheat days. Every time I do one, it’s almost always A.) unintentional at the outset of the day, and B.) highly likely to result in regret the next morning. There’s nothing worse than waking up and thinking “I went backwards.” It guts me. I also think for people doing very nutrition/calorie-centric diets, cheat days are dangerous. They’re a reminder of the enjoyable part of getting fat, and when you’re just getting started, especially, they can derail an entire diet plan. I have had several cheat days in the last month, but I didn’t feel good about any of them.

Scales. I have long avoided buying a scale, because I fear it may do more harm than good – it would be easy to get discouraged if my measurable progress fell below my expectations / estimates. After weeks of deliberation, I bought a Fitbit Aria. It wasn’t cheap ($130), but so far I’ve found it to be a truly excellent and motivating investment. It has largely tracked with my own estimates, and the automatic Wi-Fi uploading of weight / body fat to the Fitbit site is amazing. Worth every penny. I honestly prefer it to the idea of a fitness tracker right now, because it gives me concrete results, not estimates. The precision is a bit wanting (I’d say +/- .3 lbs), but it’s accurate enough that I can already see a trend line emerging after 2.5 weeks with it (that trend line is pointing downward, thankfully). The body fat measurement is far from accurate from what I’ve read (+ / – 5%), though it is pretty consistent as long as I’m not weighing right after I get out of the shower (the moisture on your skin decreases your electrical resistance, screwing up the reading). And the Wi-Fi setup isn’t exactly a breeze. But overall, totally “would buy again.”

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