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Fitbit Flex or Bodymedia Link calorie tracking devices

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I am considering going back to a wearable activity tracker. I actually do pretty well calculating calorie burn if I am "not doing much" (well for me) and just running. I just calculate my basal metabolic rate with a minimal multiplier and add in 100 calories per mile and voila.

The problem comes in when I am working on a remodeling project or am just in general more active, or when I start training, which means I workout A LOT. I don't know how many calories I am burning to adjust my eating toward so I then tend to not eat enough and either slow my weight loss or find I am starving all the time. The latter paired with my Mom leaving snacks all around is a recipe for disaster.

I think I may have solved her leaving snacks all over btw. I mentioned to her one day that I felt like I was gaining weight and having snacks all over the place certainly wasn't helping. She came home and threw them all away. I felt bad sort of, I know she thought she was contributing to people's enjoyment by buying them and leaving them out. In truth, the only thing that contributes to is a bigger waistline. I know in the end I have the responsibility for what I eat. But come on people. No one needs literally 4-5 bags of chips/snacks, bowls of chocolate covered coffee beans, yogurt covered nuts and raisins (ok at least those had 'some' health value), a bin of pretzels, bags of candies and chocolate bars lying around out in the open, as well as occasional boxes of pastry and donuts coming into the house. Like I said, it almost becomes sabotage.

Anyway, in shopping for activity trackers the Fitbit Flex has caught my eye, unfortunately, it doesn't come out until the end of April/early May. Huge downside as I had hoped to be at my goal weight by then (but then I've hoped to be at my goal weight since 2011 or so, so LOL). The Flex is a wristband activity/step/calorie/sleep tracker that just looks like a bracelet. It syncs via Bluetooth to your smartphone or computer, and is waterproof (attractive to me since I killed my Bodymedia armband by jumping into a pool with it on last fall).

The Bodymedia has been around for a while and has more sensors, so is supposedly a more proven device. A large downside for it to me is that I wasn't successful losing weight with the numbers it spit out. I can only guess that because I was living in the hot and humid Midwest at the time, the accuracy was less due to the sweat-o-meter part (my non-tech name for one of the sensors on it). Another downside is you have to wear it on your upper arm, so if you go out or wear a tank top, you look odd.

I realize there is the Fitbit One out there now, which clips onto something like your bra or waistband, but I know I would forget to put it on, accidentally put it through the washing machine or forget to hit the button each night before I sleep to indicate it to start tracking that. The Bodymedia Link and Flex stay on all the time, and automatically start tracking sleep on their own.

So, go with the imperfect Bodymedia option that is available now, or bag the idea, and go with the Flex if I have not lost the weight by that time. The Bodymedia is on a good sale at Costco now, and they have an awesome return policy. So, I could get the Bodymedia now, and if it's not working satisfactorily for me when the Flex comes out, I could also return the Bodymedia at that time. I'm leaning toward this option.

In other news, I don't have an update on my weight loss. I have been so tired for the past week and a half that I could not focus on it. I suspect it was because I was trying to adjust the bright lights I was using to treat my seasonal depression, and the new schedule wasn't working, so it got me out of sync pretty badly. I've been using them in the early morning again since last Friday, and only today am starting to feel somewhat better again. The issue has become so major I am considering moving to Albuquerque from Seattle. I am really trying to make this work because I love living close to my sister, and there are so many positives here, but at the same time I can't jeopardize my health and well-being for months at a time each year, if I can't get a handle on this.

OK! How have your goals been progressing?
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  • KHELM30
    I had the fitbit one for a while, but have since sold it. I, too feel that I need something that I can see, a visual reminder. I often would forget to push the button at night, or almost forgot to take it off when changing clothes. As far as the functionality, I felt that it was pretty accurate. I have never used the body media band. I have seen several reviews that mentioned the inaccurate count. I am waiting for the fitbit flex right now. I think it has all the features I am looking for.
    1785 days ago
    I haven't used either tracking device, so can't help you there, but glad you got the snack situation handled. S.A.D. is hard to deal with! Hope the light does help but if not, you sure do have to weigh your options, becasue, as you say, you can't let your health suffer!
    1805 days ago
    @Ruthiebear, I don't know what it was about the Bodymedia, I wore it without missing a beat, but I couldn't lose weight with it. I was also remodeling a house and marathon training, so it made me think that maybe it was not accurate for high levels of activity or ???

    It pushes me to the Fitbit more but yeah, not available. So... we'll see. I emailed Bodymedia with my situation and since they don't repair the armbands they gave me a promotion code that brings the bodymedia price a few dollars lower than Costco with the same benefits. Still leaning toward Costco though for their better return policy.
    1805 days ago
    I have the same problem with snacks that are left out; can't seem to leave them completely alone. You know I'm a fan of BodyMedia, but the Fitbit Flex does look intriguing. I went ahead and paid for two-year subscription to BMF since that made it about $4 a month and I expect to keep wearing it for a long while. BMF is supposed to be coming out later this year with an armband that looks more like a piece of jewelry, but that doesn't help right now. Your thought of getting a BMF now and then if you're not satisfied when Fitbit Flex comes out returning the BMF sounds like a good one.
    1805 days ago
    I used a BODY MEdia tracker for almost year. It was not helpful. It did not record my calorie burns right. It gave me the same number of calories per hour for sitting on the couch as for working out at the gym at higher than target heart rate for an hour. At the time, it did not synch with SPark people.
    SO I switched to a FITBIT ONe. I love it. Much easier to use, synchs perfectly with SP food and fitness.
    1805 days ago
    Yeah I've read conflicting reports about the water-proof part of the Fitbit Flex. It says, "Water Resistant" but the reviews I saw from CES this year said it was "waterproof" and mentioned swimming and showering. I just checked the website and it says says: Water resistance

    Flex can be worn in the shower and will hold up against sweat, splashes, rain and hand washing."

    So maybe not swimming. The other negative is I'm not sure the Flex would work with my phone, which is an Android but almost two years old now.

    I really don't like the Bodymedia thing on my arm all the time. Also the Bodymedia you have to subscribe to the website to see your data. If the Flex was out now I'd buy it over the Bodymedia but, it's not. I'm debating if I need anything at all, really, or if I should just get used to estimating since that is more of a long term solution, I don't really want to wear either of them for the rest of my life!!
    1805 days ago
  • SHEILA1505
    Glad that you solved the snacks problem with your Mom.
    1806 days ago
    Sounds like it might be worthwhile to do the buy it at Costco thing and return it if you like he soon-to-be released one better!

    Good call on talking to your Mom about the snacks. The last few times I was there, my Mom finally realized I was serious that she didn't need to stock EVERY one of my former favourite foods (not just because they're unhealthy, but also because there's no way I can go through a brick of boursin, a tube of garlic coil, every cheese other we have AND make it through dinners of foods I love as well in one week! It's just not possible! I told her that and it made her fridge a bit healthier after I left, too :)
    1806 days ago
  • JLITT62
    The fit it flex sounds fantastic! Altho I've resisted buying that sort of thing because it just seems unnecessary . . . but everyone I know who has it seems to love it!
    1806 days ago
    I don't think the Flex will be waterproof, just water resistant---at least that is what was said on the FitBit team. I will check with the leader on there---he seems to have some kind of inside track. I would love if it was waterproof so I could wear it at water aerobics but I think I made that comment on the team and he said if was water resistant only so not suitable for pool activities.
    1806 days ago
    I really want the flex but like you I don't want to wait for it to come out lol. I love my polar HRM but I do miss the cumulative totals that my fitbit gave me.
    1806 days ago
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