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TOPIC: FitBit, Daily Steps?

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September 30, 2013 1:29 PM
Hi.
I've recently bought a fitbit one monitor and like it a lot but wondered how other people used it.

I am quite sedentary thoughout the day but aim to clock at least 10,000 steps a day - I average 12,000 in fact.

Often ( nearly every day ) the majority of these are earned on the treadmill for 45-60 mins.

MFP awards me in the region of 600-700 calories extra earned from exercise a day, which I tend not to eat back - usually I'll eat around 1300-1400 calories in ratios of 45/25/30 carbs/fat/protein.

I'm not losing a lot and though I am not looking to shed much I'd like to know what others

a) think of this approach
b) your experiences of fitbit with mfp and
c) if you think the accuracy of the two together is reliable - eg the extra cals earned from exercise

Thanks!
September 30, 2013 1:35 PM
Bump! I wanna know too x
September 30, 2013 1:36 PM
I've had the Fitbit One for about a year now and use primarily as motivation at this point. Once I'd trained myself to how much activity =5k or 10k or 15k steps, I pretty much know without looking at the display. It is interesting to look at flights of stairs and the other daily goals as well.

I found that the Fitbit calorie estimations were more than a bit high, though - which makes sense as you become more cardiovascularly fit. I turned off the Fitbit interaction with MFP and rely solely on a Polar FT80 for an estimate of calories burned. I feel that it is probably a better estimator - many times my Polar would report 1/2 of what Fitbit was trying to claim i burned.
September 30, 2013 1:37 PM
Haha! It's just frustrating me not knowing if it's accurate enough that I can, or even if I should, eat back extra cals earned!
September 30, 2013 1:38 PM
I would stay fit bit is over estimating your calories. Depending on your weight.

I know a 45 min walk for me on an incline of 12-15 is only about 400+ calories. ( I take 10-15 percent off the top) And I generally do not add any from the walking I do during the day. I chalk that up to the inacurracies of my food calculator. It has been helping.
  13994692
September 30, 2013 1:38 PM
Hmmm thanks k_diddly that's a bit worrying!
September 30, 2013 1:39 PM
Just to clarify I jog on the treadmill at 5-5.5 mph rather than just walking
September 30, 2013 1:39 PM
I've had my Fitbit one for a little less than a year. I generally don't eat back the calories it gives me, unless I've been active that day and not logged it. Like, if I'm running around the house all day, doing a bit of gardening, walk around town but don't log "cleaning 1 hour," "walking 30 min." etc., then I will take the adjustment. So basically, if I feel I've earned it and I'm starving, I'll take it. If I don't feel like I need to eat more, then I don't.

On non-working days I get about 8000-10,000, but on working days I get 12k-20k (I have a desk job but teach dance at night).
  22061929
September 30, 2013 1:44 PM
QUOTE:

Hmmm thanks k_diddly that's a bit worrying!


well, think about it this way....What is the Fitbit using to estimate calories burned? It has at its algorithmic fingers your current weight (if you update it), the number of steps you take, the rate at which you take those steps, and maybe a checkbox for you to tell it how 'active' you are.

Thats it. As you become more fit, it takes less work to achieve those steps, but Fitbit doesn't have a way to measure that change. I'd say, if you are at the beginning of your journey (i.e. a metabolic lump of sedentary flesh), then Fitbit's measure will be closer to true, but stray too far into fit-ville, and the disparity will increase.

It is fun to sign up for a variety of leaderboards....its nice to see where you rank against a large number of people.

-edit- forgot an o in 'too'
Edited by k_diddly On September 30, 2013 1:48 PM
September 30, 2013 1:48 PM
For me fitbit underestimates my calorie burn by roughly 250 - 500 calories per day. I know this because of my average weekly loss is greater than it should be. It's the same for my husband as well (actually his underestimates even more than mine).

If you get 10,000 steps in a day, you are no longer sedentary. If you bumped your MFP activity level to say lightly active, you wouldn't receive such a big adjustment.

I believe the activity levels based on steps are as follows:

Sedentary : less than 5000 steps
Low Active: 5000 - 7499 steps
Somewhat Active : 7500 - 9999 steps
Active: greater than or equal to 10000 steps
Highly Active: equal to or greater than 12500 steps
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14715035

Keep in mind your fitbit calorie burn is for the whole day (not just when you exercise). Your adjustment on MFP is determined by:

MFP Estimated daily calorie burn - Fitbit Tracked calorie burn = (+ or - ) adjustment
  32374451
September 30, 2013 1:50 PM
Oh that's interesting. So it could be beneficial to up my activity level on mfp? Would lightly active be appropriate for someone who is often sedentary but exercises for about 45 mins a day?
September 30, 2013 1:51 PM
I simply love mine!
September 30, 2013 1:53 PM
Ok update! I just changed my fitness level to lightly active and the extra exercise cals earned has gone from 680 to 500!
September 30, 2013 1:53 PM
I got my fitbit for easter.. since then, I have only had 1 day that I didn't get 10k steps
my dialy min goal is 10k steps.. my overage is probably closer to 11k
between jan to june, I was highly cal deficient while cutting weight.. dropped from 218 to 158
then started my process of recomp.. trying to gradually add weight back on, the right way..
during the weight loss process.. I was getting a lot of my steps by running.. most nights I would do about a 5k on the treadmill..
after reaching my weight loss... Im trying to make my daily activity get me close and only hitting the treadmill when I need some extra steps..
I definitely can tell a difference in my weight loss between when I was running for my steps vs getting my steps through my daily activity and walking... I lost weight running.. Im maintaining/gaining slightly, by just walking..

I never was one to eat back my cals... I always figured I worked too hard to get those additional deficit calories, was hardly worth it for a handful of skittles..

10k is a pretty arbitrary number.. but I think its still a pretty good goal for most people...
try to setup your stride at least semi close on the fitbit though... sucks to find out later that you have been cheated out of hundreds (or thousands) of steps a day, by using defaults..
  37168869
September 30, 2013 1:57 PM
bump...would like to know more also!
September 30, 2013 1:58 PM
I can never understand why people pair up their fitbit and MFP accounts in the first place if they have no intention of eating back the calories.

It's an adjustment tool when synced. Why eat at sedentary rates when you're active and need a lot more?


.
Edited by WaterBunnie On September 30, 2013 2:03 PM
  20223889
September 30, 2013 2:02 PM
QUOTE:

Oh that's interesting. So it could be beneficial to up my activity level on mfp? Would lightly active be appropriate for someone who is often sedentary but exercises for about 45 mins a day?


Or simply let it adjust itself so that on lazy days you don't overeat?
  20223889
September 30, 2013 2:04 PM
I have it paired up in a bid to neither under nor over eat but without knowing the accuracy or what settings to use to optimise performance I feel a bit in the dark!
September 30, 2013 2:10 PM
QUOTE:

I can never understand why people pair up their fitbit and MFP accounts in the first place if they have no intention of eating back the calories.

It's an adjustment tool when synced. Why eat at sedentary rates when you're active and need a lot more?


.


"Why eat at sedentary rates when you're active and need a lot more?" ...... I dunno.....I guess losing fast is more important than maintaining muscle mass for some people. I NEED to keep as much muscle as I can (post menopause and all that).
September 30, 2013 2:10 PM
First off, if you're using MFP then you chose the level that would describe your work day. Desk job = sedentary. It's not an indication of your exercise. MFP expects you to add your exercise separately and eat back those calories. I find my Fitbit is pretty accurate with calories. I've worn my HRM and my FitBit while running and they are pretty close most of the time. If anything I think FitBit is a bit less which is fine because a big problem with eating back exercise is eating too much.

I use the FitBit exclusively now for any walking type exercise. I only put on my HRM for cycling but that's about it.
September 30, 2013 2:15 PM
I've found it best to set MFP to sedentary and have Fitbit add the extra calories you burn. Otherwise you're adding extra calories on the MFP side of things?!

I average 12,000 step a day and on my very active days (17-20k+ steps a day) I'm burning 500-700 calories extra. My MFP is set to 1400 calorie intake + whatever Fitbit gives me and I never eat all those calories in a day.

ETA: According to my Fitbit, my total burn is an average of about 2000 calories daily (depending on activity level) which is about right for me. Around 1700 if I do very little activity in the day (Less than 5k steps)
Edited by grrrlface On September 30, 2013 2:17 PM
  9373910
September 30, 2013 2:17 PM
QUOTE:

I have it paired up in a bid to neither under nor over eat but without knowing the accuracy or what settings to use to optimise performance I feel a bit in the dark!


Eating back 100% of your exercise calories is likely wrong .............BUT eating back 0% of your exercise calories is likely wrong TOO. MFP gave you a calorie deficit with ZERO exercise. Losing too fast is not healthy weight loss as a portion of the "weight" will be lean muscle.

Many people on MFP don't have heart rate monitors, or FitBits. They eat a percentage of their calories.....if weight loss stalls, they eat a bit less, if weight loss is too fast (or you are tired) ....you eat a bit more

Neither FitBits nor HRMs are exact. This is trial and error. But you do have one tool .....I would eat at a more active level. See how it goes.....if you are tired add in some exercise calories too.
September 30, 2013 2:29 PM
Definitely eat the calories back. I've been eating pretty much 20-25% less than what my fitbit tells me in average and I lost 6 lbs last month.. and I'm actually working on decreasing that gap.
  35451968
September 30, 2013 2:34 PM
I've found my fitbit pretty accurate and since I'm in maintenance i just look at it throughout the day to make sure i'm staying on track with maintenance levels.
  10629641
September 30, 2013 2:38 PM
I use a FitBit One and MPF. I set MFP to think I am sedentary and set my daily calories on FitBit to be to be what MFP says my TDEE is. I then eat everything FitBit gives me.

MFP says I should be losing 1.3lbs/wk. FitBit weekly reports say I should be losing 2.1 lbs/week.

I am losing 2.2 lbs/week average this last 30 days.
  48374057

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