If you trying to change your body weight, sometimes you need to step on a scale to see how things are going. But it gets dispiriting to judge yourself first thing in the morning, celebrating if you lost a pound or feeling like you’ve been doing everything wrong if you gained one.
Happy Scale (iOS, free for the basic app, paid upgrade to link with Apple Health) is an app that tracks your weight, and then tells you the big picture: are you losing or gaining? How far have you gotten toward your goal?
(You can choose whether you’re intending to lose or gain weight, or to maintain a low weight after losing or a high weight after gaining.)
Here’s why Happy Scale is easier on the brain than most weight tracking apps:
It Focuses on Your Best Weight
When I open up the app, the first number I see is my 10-day best. Weight fluctuates depending on whether you’ve eaten, how recently you’ve gone to the bathroom, how hydrated you are, and a bunch of other factors that don’t reflect your actual amount of fat and muscle. So if your best weight was two days ago, that’s what shows up first.
Happy Scale also uses your best weight when determining whether you’ve hit a milestone. You can break up your goal into small mini-goals, and you get to cross each one off the list as soon as you hit a weight low enough (or if you’re gaining, high enough).
It Describes Trends
The best visual on the Happy Scale screen is the one that shows a green area over (or a red area under) your weight curve. This represents the weight that you’ve changed in the past 30 days. Even if you hit a plateau, you’re still appreciating how far you’ve come.
There’s also a prediction section that describes how fast you’re losing (or gaining) compared to your goal. For example, if you’re eating in a way that should lose you a pound a week, you can see whether your current rate of weight loss is more or less than that.
(Tracking calories is something you’d do in a separate app, but we know that a constant calorie deficit doesn’t result in constant weight loss. This data from Happy Scale helps you keep track of how your body is handling your calories.)
It Smooths the Curve
A lot of weight tracking apps can draw a smoothed-out curve over the zigs and zags of daily weigh-ins. Happy Scale does too, but it lets you choose which of four algorithms you want to use. (You can also choose to view your “moving average” weight instead of your 10-day best.)
Your body weighs the same either way, so the app isn’t lying to you or hiding anything. But it gives you information about your current weight that takes your past weights and the overall trend into consideration. So it’s easier to keep the big picture in mind, and not get lost in the details.
Happy Scale isn’t a perfect protection from the ups and downs of tracking your weight, and if you have or are recovering from an eating disorder you should talk with your health professionals about whether and how you should be tracking your weight at all. But if you know you need to track your weight, and want a slightly less obsessive way of doing it, Happy Scale helps to take the edge off.