Best Practice for recording weight when away from home?

I know the recommendation for a weight loss is to weigh in every day (first thing in the AM before eating or drinking). But what is the best way to handle not being on your own scale, either manually or on a Withings scale?

I’ll be gone for almost a week on my upcoming trip, so I miss not only the data that helps adjust the YBR, but the incentive provided by watching the graph (not to mention having access to too much good food). I’m probably safe this time with using Take A Break to adjust the weekly rate and because I’ll be starting with a reasonable buffer. But next time I might not be in such a cozy position.

So what’s considered the best practice for Beeminding this?


Curious to hear answers to this, as I’ll be traveling for a week at the end of this month.

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Any other scale will give you a distorted number. When I’m away i either don’t weigh at all, or I may weigh on the first day of my trip to have an idea of what kind of difference the two scales have, and weigh “unofficially” the rest of the days. E.g. the numbers are not part of my record, it’s just to have an idea where I stand.


If I stop weighing myself, my weight goes up. If I’m staying somewhere that has a scale, I’ll use it. I may or may not record the numbers.

Usually I’ll set a flat spot for the holiday (via the take a break link) to try and accommodate the fact that I’m likely to eat more (and less healthily) while away, and to give some slack in the road in case the temporary scale is skewed higher. Because I’d really like my first post-holiday weigh-in to be on the road.

If you weight goal is automatic, say with a Withings or FitBit scale, you can still submit manual datapoints in the iOS app, or by SMS or email.


Here is what I did and the results:

I was gone for 5 days and had flattened by graph ahead of time using Take A Break. I was already 3 lbs on the safe side of the YBR, so I really wasn’t worried about derailing (this time).

While I was out of town, I wasn’t able to stick to my diet/eating plan ([Fast-5][1]) . There wasn’t a scale available so I expected to gain as PJH warned, and I did. (A pound and a half.)

Beeminder reacted pretty much as I expected, especially since I had under 2 weeks of data when I started my trip:

So my recommendation (based on this single test case) is that you need to plan ahead and use Take A Break to flatten your line (or even allow a slight slope in the wrong direction) for things like this. Everything is against a weight loss plan when traveling and those situations really aren’t what Beeminder is meant to overcome. So just do your best and keep doing those things you can (exercise, eat well, don’t overeat) and enjoy your trip. Pay attention, but don’t worry too much about it, especially for a fairly short trip.

Edit: I weighed myself again today and it was only 1/2 a pound higher than before my trip, so I recorded that, too. A half pound gained is much better than 1.5 lbs.


Thanks for sharing your results Marty :smiley: I’m glad that beeminder kept you at least a bit on track towards your goal. I tried just build up a ton of safety buffer before the holidays and then let myself go hog wild. This is probably terrible for my body but weight loss is a learning process for me. I’m currently down ~35lbs (was about 175, hovering around 140 now) from where I was when I started beeminding (back then it was called kibotzer) my weight back in 2008. I’ve definitely fluctuated quite a bit over that time, but maybe if I hadn’t been beeminding I’d be up near 200lbs, which is about what my younger sister (who is the same height) weighs.


Hey there. I’m interested in your experience with doing the Fast-5. I tried it, but never stuck to it for more than a week because I always seemed to gain weight. What’s your experience with it? Any tips?

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If you have a scale available at the destination, you can estimate your home-scale weight by applying an offset to the away-scale:
Weigh your luggage on your own scale before you leave and write down the result.
Weigh your luggage on arrival using the new scale.
Calculate the offset by: ‘home’ minus ‘away.’ This can be a positive or negative number.
When you weigh yourself add the offset to the measurement.

Because the above is assuming a linear error, the nearer the luggage weighed is to your own weight the better the estimate.


Great advice @gudamor :slight_smile:

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Calculating the offset between scales is brilliant. And perfect timing, since I’m now in Berlin, and our rented apartment has a scale! Unfortunately, I didn’t think to weigh my luggage at either end. That requires a lot of presence of mind, not so much before if you’re worried about over-weight luggage, but also on arrival before unpacking…

So I used something that’s very close to my own weight—me!

I know that my mass is less constant than that of a suitcase, and that sometimes it varies by 1-2kg within a single day, but most of the time it’s a lot more consistent than that. According to my graph, today I weighed the same as yesterday, offset –0.7 kg

Part of that offset (in either direction) will be that my mass is genuinely different, today vs yesterday. When I get back home, the offset disappears, and [I’ll find out]( “not really”). Effectively I’m pushing one-day of mass change out along my graph until my return; there will be two days of mass-change reflected in my first at-home weigh-in.

The graph seems likely to be [more correct]( “there will be error regardless of (any sane domestic) method”) than if I didn’t apply an offset at all.