Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Its my FitBit's Fault!

At least that is what people are claiming when they say they are gaining weight after buying a fitness tracker like the FitBit or Jawbone UP or Nike Fuel.  This is what I read in an article published online at Today.com. The article is here.

   

Basically what the article is saying is that some people are experiencing a weight gain after buying one of these trackers and  following the caloric advice on their site.  Essentially they are claiming that by tracking their activity, it is causing them to gain weight.

I'm sorry, I don't agree.  That would be like saying that because I started tracking my driving and how much fuel I'm putting in my car my mileage has decreased.  One has nothing to do with the other.

I think the problem is that people are not viewing what the fitness bands are for correctly.  The true power and purpose of the bands is to help to motivate an individual to move more.  Period.  Now they also try to help by estimating an average calorie burn for said movement, but it is based on statistical averages for "normal" people.  I hate to break it to most significantly overweight people but their bodies and metabolisms are not "normal."  There is a reason they are significantly overweight.

In order for the sites to give any type of estimated calorie burn, they have to go off of what an average burn would be for a person of x height and y weight. Does everyone burn calories at the same rate?  No way.  That would be like saying I have a 4 door mid-sized car so I should get so many MPG without taking into account the size of the engine, type of fuel, style and speed of driving, etc.It just doesn't work.

In the weight loss battle there are many things that can affect your ability to lose weight.  Types of calories you are eating, how "intense" or strenuous your work outs are, are you frequently in stressful situations, do you have a metabolic deficiency of some sort.  All of these will affect your weight loss.

Going back to the car analogy.  Even if I had 2 identical cars that traveled the identical distance, but one started slowly and smoothly, gradually easing up to the speed limit and coasting to a stop when needed.  While the other floored it from every stop, kept the speeds 10 mph over the speed limit and slammed on the brakes for each stop.  Which one would burn more fuel?  The one driving in a more intense manner.

So, by all means use these fitness bands as motivational tools to help you become more active, but don't take their estimated calories burned as gospel, nor necessarily follow their recommended consumption. This would be a place to start, but if you find it ins't helping you to lose weight, then start reducing the calories and increasing the intensity of your activity.

and don't forget - have fun and get on your bikes and ride!