Feb 20, 2014

Valentine's Fit Bit

I have been wanting to get a calorie counting device because everyone else is doing it.  Actually, I have been really curious to know how many calories
I burn per day.  I know as a general rule of thumb that I consume about 2,200-2,400 calories on workout days and I need to decrease it to 1,800 calories on non-workout days.  I do not always reduce it on those days like I should which means anything more than a couple days of consuming the same number of calories without working out leads to weight gain.  I figured this out for myself because I keep a food diary and this is something I highly recommend for anyone trying to change their body composition.  Especially if you are trying to lose weight.

Apparently, my bf is psychic because he got me a Fitbit for Valentine's Day.  He also got me some super cute earrings which I love!  They are very lightweight and do not hurt my ears.  I hate it when my ears are pulled by earrings.  It irritates them and they hurt.  I do not feel any need to go through that for the sake of cute earrings.  I will admit, there used to be a day that I would do that but I also used to wear shoes that hurt my feet just because they were cute.  No more, it is not necessary to torture myself like that!

Back to the Fitbit.  The first thing I noticed on the packaging is that it tracks sleep patterns which I also think is really cool because I would love to know how long I am in REM sleep.  As we all know, sleep is a HUGE part of being healthy.  It is great for the body and mind and I absolutely  positively MUST have 8 hours of sleep every night.  You probably already know the more hours you are awake the more calories you consume in a day.  Additionally, when the body is tired it gives signals that it is hungry and that is because it needs a source of energy to fuel it.  Unfortunately, this can lead to excessive calories in a day and who really wants or needs that?

It also says that it tracks the number of steps you take in a day.  This is important because I work a desk job which keeps me pretty sedentary.  When I worked at Jenny Craig we always encouraged the clients to use the pedometer so that they could get in more physical activity each day.  It is a great way to start with a basis  point and then work your way up to move more each day.  When I worked there I walked to and from the front lobby to my office, back to the scale and back up front again.  Many times I got all the food from the freezer as well so I was walking around all day long.  Then I went to the gym and I lived in a condo that kept me walking to take  out the trash, go to and from my car and to do laundry.  I no longer live there or work at Jenny Craig so I was super excited to learn how many steps each day I take.

With the steps taken, it also tracks calories burned.  I think this is fantastic but I do not really see how it is possible for it to be truly accurate because it is worn on the waistline and tracks how  many steps you take.  Either way, I was excited to try it out and curious as to how accurate it can be.  Especially because there is no way possible for it to track when I lift weights or when I increase the weight.

It says that it tracks body movement so it should even track lifting weights.  I thought "I will put it to the test" and the next day we left to go to  Pinetop which meant I sat in the car for 4.5 hours.... this was EXTREMELY sedentary but I also danced a little bit that night.  Fortunately, I ran a few errands and went to the gym before we left so I was able to get in some activity.  Firstly, I forgot to put it on until about noon on the 14th but it still tracks based on your height, weight, gender and age which was programmed into my profile.  So it will still track calories burned at resting and sleeping.  I supposed it probably thought I was sleeping until noon but whatever, all I need is a starting point.

I took 5,551 steps on the 14th and this was not very surprising but I certainly missed the mark of 10,000 steps.  I burned 1,654 calories - I definitely consumed more because my general rule of thumb is 1,800 based on personal experience.  Day 2 (the 15th) we rode quads and rode in the rhino.  This meant I was hardly taking any steps at all but I was using my body and legs to maintain control.  Plus, I got stuck so there were a few minutes that I bounced and rocked the quad to get it out.... that thing is heavy and I worked up a sweat.  I find it hard to believe that I only burned 1602 calories but I'm not surprised I only took 4,191 steps.

Day 3 we took a walk for about an hour and drove back.  The walk was good but the 4.5 hour drive was not active.  This day I burned 1,997 calories and took 12,770 steps.  This is better and the calorie count seems more realistic.

Day 4 I had the day off but went to the gym and ran errands as well as did  household chores.  I think I put my Fitbit on late but I can't quite remember.  I burned 1,683 calories and took 4,993 steps.  Day 5 I return to work and I remember to put the Fitbit on when I first get up.  I took 2,128 steps and burned 1,831 which included my workout.  Day 6 is today and I am seeing a trend.  I hardly get in ANY steps so it brings awareness to the fact that I need to move more.

My problem with this is that I lift and it is not tracking that so I am not getting an accurate reading of what I am truly burning.  I am getting an accurate reading of my number of daily steps- which can improve but I am not surprised because I do not do much cardio.  According to the number of calories I burn each day I should be gaining weight each day as well.  The thing the Fitbit cannot track is body fat percentage versus muscle mass.  I am no body builder but my fat content is low- it was professionally tested using the 2nd best method.  1st best method being the water test.  This means I burn more fuel than the average 128 lb woman.

Conclusion:  The Fitbit is great for the average person to determine how many steps they take and how many calories they burn each day.  I would highly recommend it because it is a great way to begin tracking what you already do and then make improvements each day.  The goal is to reach 10,000 steps per day and do this by gradually increasing what you already do each day.  This can be done by doing small things such as parking farther, taking the stairs, walking to the further printer, getting up from your desk and taking a walk during your break, taking a walk in the evening or morning and my personal favorite is what I suggest to my grandma:  walk to her mailbox one additional time per day.  Simple stuff to start with and then gradually increase.

I think I am going to get one of the wrist devices that can track/monitor my heart rate.  I believe this will be more accurate because it will be able to track when I am lifting. 

Oh, another thought is that it does not actually track sleep patterns.  It just tracks time of no movement and when I go to the Fitbit dashboard it looks like I can enter in the hours that I slept.  I have not done that and I started with entering my food but a lot of it was restaurant food.... I mostly eat at home. 

Do you have a favorite tracking device that you use?  Post your comments below.

Follow me on Twitter at:  https://twitter.com/TCFit_Lifestyle or check out my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TcFitLifestyle


  1. I love the new page color and photo. I really adds personality to the page letting people know there is a real person behind all the advice and besides they get to see my beautiful granddaughter!

    1. Thank you, I really like the changes as well. I am not great with the behind the scenes programming and such but Debbie Navarro is the one who did it for me and she did a great job!

      I agree, seeing my shining face is a great bonus :)

  2. I have heard about the fit bit...how has it been working for you since this post?

    1. So funny you asked! I am writing a new blog, right now, about it. It works very well but it was not fully working for me because my routine is a bit different. The Fitbit is intended to help incorporate movement/activity to get started and track progress.

      It was not as beneficial for me because I want it to track my weight lifting and it does not do that. It is a GREAT product for people who do not go to the gym and want to incorporate physical activity.