Bodymedia Link versus Self-Estimation
Friday, March 29, 2013
After more research I bought the Bodymedia Link (BL). The Fitbit Flex seems like a decent option, but won't come out for several more weeks.
I have been tracking the calorie burn that BL claims as well as the calories I self-estimate through a spreadsheet. Over the past week I have estimated 91% of what the BL armband says I have burned. The BL says I should have lost 1.6 lbs, my calculations say 1.2. If I go with a 3-day running average of my weight, I have lost 1.6 lbs. We'll see as more weeks pass.
My goal is to be able to self-estimate accurately. I believe that in weight loss or maintenance, a person needs strategies they can continue for the rest of their life. Wearing an armband and paying to subscribe to a website to analyze the data isn't something I want to do long term! But estimating and getting a feel for my daily activity level is something that is doable.
This has also been helpful because I see the dramatic effect of being sedentary. I got thrown back into a longish episode of seasonal depression when I tried to change the timing of my light therapy to avoid insomnia. When I have SAD very badly, I just want to sleep all the time and end up like a lump on the couch.
But if you are smaller and older, you have two factors against you, because of your basal metabolic rate (BMR) - what you would burn if you just slept all day. Due to these factors, my BMR is just 1272 calories per day. For a sedentary person, the calculation for daily calories burned is BMR times 1.2. In my case, that is only 1526 calories.
Further, I see from the Bodymedia we tend to be creatures of habit, and eat the same amount per day. So even though when sedentary it might be better for me to eat 1300 calories a day, I typically end up eating my normal 1466. 1526 calories burned if I am sedentary minus 1466 calories eaten is a calorie deficit of 60 per day! Since it takes a deficit of around 3500 calories to lose a pound of fat, at that rate it would take me almost two months to lose a pound!!
To lose 1.5 lbs a week, which is my goal, I would need a calorie deficit of 750 calories per day. If I eat around 1450 calories per day, I need to burn 2200 calories each day. This is 674 calories I need to burn above being sedentary... the equivalent activity of running just over 7 miles a day!
Since I am not training for anything, I need to supplement running 7 miles a day with some formal exercise plus other things. Right now I'm putting up about 80 feet of 6 foot wood fence for my sister. That'll do :) I've actually been avoiding training for anything, because marathon training seems to mess up my weight loss for whatever reason.
If you are a larger person, have a lot more muscle tissue or are younger, things are more in your favor. But, we have to work with the cards we are dealt, so I keep on keeping on!
I'm back to 14 pounds to lose after regressing a bit due to the SAD. That being said, I'm at my lowest recorded weight I've been at in years!! Upward and onward...