Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bodybugg

Ever since I first watched The Biggest Loser I've wondered about the bodybugg. The show doesn't really give out detailed information on the bodybugg but I noticed that the contestants wore their bodybugg all of the time and that they sometimes sit at the computer, entering their meals that they consumed during the day. The contestant knows how many calories they have burned and what their rate of burn is. That's about all I figured out by the show.

I looked up the bodybugg online and was surprised that it could be ordered by an consumer. It wasn't developed only for The Biggest Loser. After a bit of reading I learned that the bodybugg tracks your steps taken during the day, your hours of activity, sleep, etc. The consumer uploads the data taken from the bodybugg into the web based software and then enters the food eaten for the day.

I decided to try it for 30 days. My 30th day has come and gone.

The bodybugg is very simple to use. I tried the bodybugg with the digital display. It is a 'watch' that shows the data as it is recorded. I didn't want to have to wait to see where my rate of burn was at the end of the day when I typically uploaded the information. I wanted to see it as it happened.

The bb wasn't uncomfortable to wear. A velcro band holds the device in place around the tricep. After the initial battery charge it lasted up to 7 days before needing a charge. I usually upload the data at the end of the day - it charges as I plug it into the computer - and again charges while I'm in the shower. The bb isn't waterproof.

I didn't really learn any data that I didn't guess at before, the bb confirmed what I thought I knew. Well, except that maybe my caloric burn during the day is even a bit lower than what I guessed.

Because I have a very slow metabolism, by genetics I'd guess, I wanted to confirm if the slow metabolism was in fact low or if I just thought that it was.

It is.

You know, sometimes it is very easy to miscalculate calories; I of course, tend to miscalculate by estimating too low or by not entering every single morsel that I consume. I know that to get a true picture of my metabolism I need to be very exact, but alas, sometimes it becomes tiresome.

I don't always track, but I do when I am trying to lose fat or gain muscle or complete a 30 day trial.

I've researched diet/activity/hormones/metabolism at length and throughout my own trial and error came up with the conclusion that for me to lose fat I need to consume a diet made up of a maximum of 1400 calories consisting of 50% of calories from protein, 30% from carb and 20% from fats along with 90 minutes of vigorous exercise in the form of cardio. Weight lifting doesn't seem to accelerate weight loss for me. To maintain my weight of 130 pounds I consume 1600 calories a day and can change to 40/40/20; a few more carbohydrates and still getting 90 minutes of cardio in each day. To gain weight I found that I will consume 40/40/20, 1600 calories and drop cardio to 60 minutes. So see, numbers are not equal for everyone. Some people at my exact size would absolutely starve and have no energy to practice any type of exercise at this rate.

The bodybugg confirmed all of the above. I set the parameters with the web based questionnaire, entered all foods, all activity was recorded and I came up with the exact same outcome as above.It was a very interesting trial. I enjoyed watching my rate of burn.

The bodybugg confirmed my daily burn, which I had estimated using many different online calculators, my daily burn (how many calories I wanted to "use") was 2200, I'd eat 1400, creating an 800 calorie deficit..which would equate to a weight loss of 1.5 pounds each week without exercise. (3500 calories per pound of fat loss) This is why I never ate my 'activity points' at Weight Watchers. The numbers just aren't equal for all. I didn't lose 1.5 pounds each week using this method. I needed to create a deficit of 8000 calories (vrs 3500) per each pound of fat loss. Does anyone really lose a pound of fat every time they create a deficit of 3500 calories? Anyone? I'm very curious..

When I first began Weight Watchers many years ago .. like 24 years ago .. I lost weight by eating 1500 calories (21 'points' back then) a day and walking 4 miles..but I was 21 years old and had been eating a very unhealthy diet. Just by adding vegetables and fruits I changed my diet completely. In looking at my records (yes, I keep all workout/diet records) I was 178 pounds at the first weigh in and lost 55 pounds in 14 months. About a pound a week. Of course my body is much more fit and healthy now, it takes more exercise to lose fat but about the same calorie intake. I imagine as I get older it would take more and more exercise to lose fat. Thankfully I am taking care of myself now by building muscle and eating a healthful diet so I shouldn't have to worry about losing fat as I get older. I hope. That should be enough incentive to keep it healthy and lean!

I found a few years ago while tracking my food intake and energy burn with Leanness Lifestyle that I NEVER had any weight loss until I was in the 8000 calorie deficit area. I was tracking every morsel and was just blown away that I wouldn't lose fa by creating a 3500 deficit. No wonder I would become discouraged when it took me a month to lose a pound years ago.

With Leanness Lifestyle I learned every 10-14 days IF I created a total deficit of 8000-10000 calories I would lose a pound of fat; not by the 3500 calorie deficit 'rule', which I guess isn't even a rule but a fact. There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, so if a person creates a 3500 calorie deficit the theory is that the person will drop a pound of fat..but this doesn't always work for all of us and the bodybugg confirmed that for me. Everytime 10-14 days passed and I had created a 8000 deficit I would drop a pound.

This is why a contestant on The Biggest Loser can lose 35 pounds in one week. The numbers don't always make sense. The metabolism is a very complex individulized system. The contestants aren't creating a 1,272,500 calorie deficit in a week and it isn't all water weight either..they continue (some of them) to lose double digits eacy and every week.

In order to use the bodybugg calculations, graphs, charts, etc. a subscription to Apex is needed. I be live the cost is $20 per month, however it was thrown in with the bodybugg I am using. Costco has the bodybugg for $179 which includes the 1 year subscription to Apex and the digital readout watch.

All in all, it was fun to use, interesting to confirm my rate of burn, but not really necessary for weight maintenance/loss. I didn't really learn anything new about myself.

I think the bodybugg would be a great learning tool for someone who hasn't researched diet/metabolism and is just staring out in figuring out their puzzle.

Yesterday I went out for a huge shopping trip. Mall of America, Shopps of Arbor Lake, 50th and France..I walked alot. I then lifted legs for 65 minutes. The bodybugg showed that I burned 5400 calories during the 24 hour period. Of course this includes a 20 mile run. That is about what I would have estimated it at.

I know that each mile I run burns approximately 100 calories, less if running long and slow, a bit more if running short and fast. Because I did 10 miles of tempo within the 20 miles I would have guessed I would have guessed the 2500 in running energy expenditure, 1500 because I'm not dead (living, breathing, being, 1000 for 7 hours of shopping, 300 for an hour of weights. Pretty close! Guess I didn't need the bodybugg for that.

Again, it was fun to use but I think the Garmin 310XT is the better purchase for me :)

5 comments:

Heidi Swift - Grit and Glimmer said...

Hi Julie,
I love this very thorough analysis of the bodybugg as I have been curious about it as well.

One question. I don't completely follow this paragraph:

"
The bodybugg confirmed my daily burn, which I had estimated using many different online calculators, my daily burn (how many calories I wanted to "use") was 2200, I'd eat 1400, creating an 800 calorie deficit..which would equate to a weight loss of 1.5 pounds each week without exercise. (3500 calories per pound of fat loss) This is why I never ate my 'activity points' at Weight Watchers. The numbers just aren't equal for all. I didn't lose 1.5 pounds each week using this method. I needed to create a deficit of 8000 calories (vrs 3500) per each pound of fat loss. Does anyone really use a deficit of 3500 per pound? Just curious.."

I missed the jump in logic about how you figured out that you actually needed to create an 8000cal/pound deficit. Can you expand on that?

I've been using the 3500 rule myself and having things not add up.

Thanks
h

Julie B said...

Great question Heidi! I didn't explain that at all, did I. I'm going back to edit. I appreciate your comment very much!

Heidi Swift - Grit and Glimmer said...

Thanks, Julie. This is great. By the way, I am ASTOUNDED that you have records for food/weight/nutrition from 24 years ago. And very impressed. Looking back that far is completely fascinating!

Dane said...

Fascinating blog, Julie. I agree with your 8K calorie deficit/to/lose/a pound estimate. Losing/maintaining weight is such an uncomplicated process. It's all about discipline, dedication, and drive. But alas, easier said than done. Thanks for helping me kickstart my own program. Count me in as a regular reader. Jim.

mommaofthree said...

It seems like a lot of work and a high price tag but I would still like to try it! Bodybugg Band