Friday, July 14, 2017

The math doesn't work for me

July 14, 2017

A few years ago I hopped on the Fitbit bandwagon. I started with a Fitbit Flex but I like techie toys and now have a Charge2. I enjoy getting out for a walk so it's a good match, or so I thought, but as with all things, I now have questions.

The Fitbit and MyFitnessPal apps sync. If you’re tracking your daily calories on MyFitnessPal, you’ll get “credit” for calories burned while counting steps and distance through Fitbit. For example, I logged 10,975 steps through Fitbit, and MyFitnessPal gave me an additional 812 calories for the day. For me, that’s 1200 base calories right now plus 812 calories for a grand total of 2012 calories allowed for that day.

Here’s the rub. The math doesn’t work for me.

I checked about a dozen online activity calorie calculators and walking for 51 minutes, the total minutes Fitbit says I walked fast enough to count as exercise, doesn’t equal 812. All the online calculators say I burned approximately 297 calories in those 51 minutes. That’s based on walking speed, etc., and I gave myself the benefit of the doubt that I averaged a 3mph pace, which I doubt. Any way you look at it, it’s a 515 calorie (or more) difference between the online health site calculators and Fitbit & MyFitnessPal.

The other thing that happens between those two apps is you get calorie credit on the Fitbit for simply breathing.

Clearly, there are some very sophisticated formulas at work here. The variables are endless when dealing with human physiology. But I know what works for me and 2012 calories a day doesn’t work. I’m a normal working girl with a desk job, a dog to walk, a spot in the bowling league, and a partner to feed. Those 812 extra calories would go straight to my ass.

So there it is. I’ll never lose all those pesky little pounds if I rely solely on Fitbit and MyFitnessPal to light the way. The math doesn’t work and my bathroom scale has already proved it to me.

Are they valuable tools to use? Sure - as long as you use your own brain and pay attention.

You know, for on those special days like last Wednesday. Days when you “earn” 1047 extra calories from walking, eat half a large Digorno pizza supreme (990) AND a Klondike bar (250), and then MyFitnessPal says you didn’t consume enough calories that day.

Oh, I think I really did…

KC Kendricks

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