Weighty Matters

Mike’s fancy bathroom scales have made an announcement. Yes, really.

Henceforth, I am informed, they will be sending us Health Insights. Which I initially misread as Health Insults. It may yet amount to the same thing. “Health Mate now features an engaging chat which will highlight key data, emerging trends and notable achievements.” Well sheesh.

I suppose it is a lockdown thing. Fitbit have already offered me guided mindfulness sessions without the necessity to fork out the usual ££ per month for their premium level of service. It is their effort to help me to remain calm in the face of adversity. In which case they have clearly been snooping on my personal data, especially relating to sleep, or rather the marked lack of it. Unless of course the cynic in you might conclude that Fitbit’s main purpose is to see if I might still be lured into upgrading to the full level of service, once I’ve experienced a little bit of it, having resisted all their other attempts for the best part of two years.



And.. breathe.

Verbena bonariensis.


But I digress. For the bathroom scales the provision of public information is by no means a new departure. They do, after all, offer a daily weather forecast. The simple act of standing on the scales after morning ablutions already had the power to make or break the day: 1. You really shouldn’t have had that salted caramel ice cream yesterday afternoon Jessica, you’ve put on a pound. 2. The glass of wine nightcap? It put your heart rate up. Oh, and by the way.. 3. It’s going to rain. We have yet to establish whether the forecast relates specifically to Deepest Devon or could apply equally to London, Paris or New York. It is actually astonishingly accurate so it can’t be too far away. At times it is even more reliable than the Met Office although it has to be said that any forecast which offers up rain in this far west outpost of the isle is, in all probability, more likely to be right than wrong.

The scales also wish me a Happy Birthday! Complete with fireworks. Except that it’s on the wrong day given that I was less than forthcoming when asked to set up birth details on the app. You can never be too careful with personal information on the internet.


Salvia 'Royal Bumble'


Salvia ‘Royal Bumble’


The first element of the ‘engaging chat’ consisted of a set of questions. Like how do I feel on getting up in the morning? There was no tick box for absolutely knackered, totally washed out, or dragged through a hedge backwards much less the combination of all three. There was a tick box for plain old ‘tired’ but it didn’t matter anyway because I opted for ‘Oh, on top of the world’. The trouble is, these days, what goes into an app doesn’t just stay in that app and the last thing I want is to be bombarded with ads for guaranteed-effective-or-your-money-back insomnia remedies or to be inundated with samples of malted chocolate drinks through the post.

Incidentally, did you know that web trackers don’t just limit their prying eyes and ears to your own computer screen, they also appear to delve happily into the archives of the household internet router because it’s possible to get the fallout from the google searches of other family members. You can imagine all sorts of perilous revelations arising out of that and I’m surprised there isn’t a privacy law against it. But I can always tell when Mike’s toy box is about to gain additional weight because I start getting ads for his favourite tool companies on my facebook feed. Last week’s acquisition turned out to be an attachment for the drill enabling him to bore a perfectly circular hole with a precise diameter. And no, before you ask, none of that was a euphemism. It’s all part of his latest battle with the resident wildlife, in this case the woodpeckers. But that’s maybe a story for another time.



Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Alba’ and Anemanthele lessoniana


Moving swiftly back to where we were. With the initial parameters having been set in place, albeit superficially, I eagerly anticipated my first targeted health insight. This app clearly isn’t going to pull its punches. No time for pleasantries, just straight in with the left hook. Fat. Apparently the normal range for a female body composition is 12-35% fat. Mine is currently 24% which has a middle of the road kind of feel to it. Better yet, my fat has been declared ‘stable’. Well that’s a relief. I should hate to dwell on the consequences of skipping along the top of metre high walls, or tottering on the brink of the Precipitous Bank, with unstable fat on board.

Presumably many more insights are still to come. There is plenty of scope: muscle mass, bone mass, water percentage, BMI, heart rate, pulse wave velocity (don’t ask). Life, The Universe and Everything? I really can’t wait.