Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009, 02:47
Category: Review, Software
By David Klein
One can argue that dieting is extremely challenging for the average person. In my opinion the biggest problem is the lack of data. Manually counting calories consumed and burned is a meticulous process that is virtually impossible to do with a pencil and paper. Also, how can you be sure your numbers are accurate? Now, we have the hardware to help us lose weight: the Bodybugg (below). Using this technology truly is a new generation of dieting: weight loss 2.0.
The Bodybugg is a small device — 2.2″ x 2.4″ x 0.5″ — you wear around the back of your tricep. It is constantly measuring a variety of activity: skin temperature, heart rate, motion, etc. With this information it can predict within 90% how many calories you burn throughout the day. Every couple of days you connect it to your computer (Mac or PC) via USB and upload the recorded information to a server. This allows you to chart your activity in detail over time. This information alone is extremely valuable. You really get a sense of how much you exert each day, and it is fascinating to see the difference between an inactive cubicle day and an active treadmill day.
In addition to the hardware, the Bodybugg includes web-based software to help you keep track of the foods you eat. The software has built-in a wide variety of foods and their corresponding nutritional facts. For example, let’s assume you had a turkey sandwich for lunch. You would select two slices of white bread, two tablespoons of mayonnaise, four ounces of turkey, two slices of swiss cheese, some lettuce, and a sliced pickle. This obviously includes some approximations, but the important part is the sense of how many calories you consume at each meal. Below is an example of entering the contents of a meal.
The online system allows you to enter custom foods and meals. You can conduct research on the internet for nutritional facts of foods not programmed into the Bodybugg system. For example, I have programmed in my favorite drinks from Starbucks, common meals I eat at work during lunch, the protein bars I eat, the protein shake I make, etc. With websites like calorieking.com and thedailyplate.com, it’s easy to discover new meals and how healthy (or unhealthy) they are. Below is an example of a day’s nutritional breakdown.
Setting up the Bodybugg is easy. There’s a questionnaire and a piece of software to install on your computer. You can also sign up for a 45 minute lesson over the phone. I fortunately had an extremely informative and helpful person to teach me how to use the system.
After a few months of using the Bodybugg, you develop a new perspective on food. You learn which foods are high in calories and low in satisfaction. You also slowly adjust to a lower number of calories each day. In my case to reach my desired weight in a six month time frame, I need to burn 500 more calories than I consume each day. My goal is to consume fewer than 2100 calories and burn more than 2600 calories. With the Bodybugg system it’s easy to know exactly how close I come to achieving this goal each day. Below is an example comparison between calories burned and consumed.
Some issues I have discovered are the Bodybugg will occasionally go offline if your arm bends a certain way for a while, and it will convey this with a few annoying beeps. Once you correct your arm’s position the Bodybugg will go back online with a few more annoying beeps. You get used to it. Also, the system is not nearly as useful in the beginning until you manually enter the foods and meals you commonly eat. This takes some time and research, but it’s worth it.
Since I began using the Bodybugg I have lost 8 pounds in 14 weeks. Yes, you can rely on self control and just try your best to eat less. However, using the Bodybugg will help you form habits based on what you learn about your diet and how much you need to exercise to burn your target number of calories.
If you are a member of 24 Hour Fitness, they are specials related to the Bodybugg occurring constantly. I purchased mine for US$249. That included a US$99 watch accessory (picture below) that communicates with the Bodybugg wirelessly, and display how many calories I have burned so far in the day, how many steps I’ve taken, my target numbers, and numbers from the previous day. I also have a 6 month trial with the online system. After the trial ends the service will cost US$15 per month (or you can purchase a more long-term plan to lower that price).
If you have any questions feel free to leave comments. Dieting is a serious commitment and it is understandable if you are hesitant. The Bodybugg is like a coach that constantly reminds you that what you eat must be recorded, and you can only eat so much per day. I highly recommend the Bodybugg for anyone who wants to make the commitment, and receive enough data to really learn about dieting using the latest technology offered today.
For more information visit bodybugg.com.