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TOPIC: Fitbit MINUS Adjustment

 
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October 18, 2012 6:58 AM
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  22228768
October 18, 2012 7:04 AM
Steven,

I certainly appreciate your taking the time to explain what you and the MFP staff were trying to accomplish with this change and I can see your logic. I just don't agree with it. Even if you consider what someone further up the topic said about assuming you add calories in for the sedentary setting here at MFP so that the goal is not merely some percentage less than BMR it still does not make sense. As a staff member I assume you (or at least Mike) can get access to anyone's settings. You are certainly welcome to look at mine. However, for the benefit of those who can't I will simply state that I am 62 years old, set my goal at loss of 1 pound a week and my lifestyle is sedentary. I am retired, I am around my computer most of the day so my Fitbit syncs several times a day. When I woke up this morning, grabbed my breakfast and sat down to come here I docked my Fitbit, my Fitbit adjustment was -6. It has worked it's way to -4 while sitting in the dock recharging, does that not show you that your logic or your implementation is wrong?

I realize that when you consider any lifestyle choice, other than sedentary, there are multiple factors affecting how this works. I am not in that position. If a MFP member has chosen sedentary as there activity level, there is no way a negative should ever show up on a Fitbit adjustment. Assuming the goal is weight loss of 1 pound per week, you have already reduced the BMR (or as suggested earlier the BMR plus some mysterious number of calories) by 20%. Further automatic reductions based on inactivity make no sense.

Now, although I have no planned exercise in my profile (that is 0 workouts per week), I do occasionally do something other that walk around. During those periods, I set the timer on the Fitbit to an activity period and when finished I stop the timer on the Fitbit. I would then record that activity, here in MFP, using the starting time and length reported on the Fitbit site. Assuming that those folks who are seeing their exercise calorie burn be wiped out by a Fitbit adjustment, why are you allowing that to happen if those periods are accounted for both here and at Fitbit. You do still transfer the activity to Fitbit I assume? I haven't had the opportunity to check that yet. If so, then how can these exercise calories be wiped out by a Fitbit adjustment when the Fitbit site accounts for them just fine? Again, either the logic or the implementation is flawed.

As I was reviewing this, it occurred to me that I made the assumption that everyone places the Fitbit in an activity period when doing an exercise period as instructed by Fitbit, but then you know what assume spells. So allowing for those folks complaining not having done so properly, would you please confirm that you took that into consideration. And if so, is it working properly? If not, why not? Someone made the comment (can't remember if it was here or another topic) that this would especially be true for swimmers. You can't take the Fitbit in the water, so you put it in an activity period mode while swimming and then record the activity later. This would be true for any activity that required the removal of the Fitbit or the Fitbit does not function properly (biking for example).

If you have gotten this far into my analysis, I certainly appreciate it. If at this point I have pointed out anything you and the staff didn't consider or maybe considered but considered it a non-issue, I have accomplished the goal I set out for. As a general statement, I seem to remember reading somewhere (back when I was considering buying my Fitbit) that based on the way it works, it would be best to set your activity level to sedentary and then the Fitbit adjustment made more sense (this is before the current change) as it would add back activity calories all day long. Whereas, I agree that is no longer the absolute, it certainly should not be driving a sedentary activity level negative.

Oh, BTW, while sitting here and formulating this message my Fitbit adjustment is now at -16, I just checked. I guess I should take it out of the dock and run around the house some so that I can eat later. 8^)
Edited by loumaag On October 18, 2012 7:11 AM
  24548612
October 18, 2012 7:05 AM
QUOTE:

Not liking this "new update".

Since I don't exercise until the evenings I get to look at a BIG FAT NEGATIVE that only gets bigger as my day progresses noway Doesn't do much for my motivation factor...

Who decided this was best for me?? grumble


Agree! I have the Fitbit Ultra which does NOT sync to my phone or iPad. And I'm not allowed to add my fitbit to my work computer. So, my Fitbit only syncs in the evenings when I get home. It makes it really hard to plan for dinner!!!! I don't like this change at all!!!
October 18, 2012 7:07 AM
loumaag = genius = bumpity bump...
Edited by rfsatar On October 18, 2012 7:08 AM
  26587270
October 18, 2012 7:39 AM
I posted this question somewhere else, but figured I'd put it in this "Official" thread. (Original post found here: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/772883-question-about-functionality-of-neg-fitbit-adj)

I've read through a decent bit of the forum posts on here and tried to find the answer to this question, but with no luck.

If I do an activity that fitbit does not register well (i.e., bike riding) - previously I could enter in MFP and it would work it's magic and sync up. I could imagine something similar would hold true to weight training since you're sitting still a lot. Or as another example - when I walk on the treadmill at a high incline, i burn significantly more than i do when walking at that same pace at a flat incline. Fitbit doesn't realize I'm doing this though.

How do I enter in the calorie burn for these? Seems like if fitbit doesn't recognize the true burn then a negative adjustment will be made. I know people can overestimate and that may be an issue - but that's not always the case.

I like the idea in theory of the negative adjustment, and understand MFP uses approximations and fitbit is in theory more accurate... Just want to know functionally how to enter in those calories that fitbit doesn't recognize.
  28773092
October 18, 2012 7:50 AM
QUOTE:

Hi Folks,

I definitely understand that there's a lot of concern about this change. We're very interested in this dialogue and in making sure that you're happy with our integration with Fitbit.

The reason the estimate may now show as a negative, is that any Fitbit adjustment must be made in relation to our own initial MFP calorie estimate in your profile. Because many users will never integrate a Fitbit, all MFP users start from a static calculated calorie goal. But when a Fitbit is added to the mix, you may learn that that goal is actually a bit high, at least early in the day.

One of the benefits of integrating with Fitbit is that our own MyFitnessPal calorie goal estimates, while we believe them to be accurate enough to help all of our members achieve their weight management goals, are limited to four levels of approximation: sedentary, lightly active, active, and very active.

These are only approximations, and self-reported ones at that. One person's perception of sedentary may be another's lightly active.

Your Fitbit's "idea" of your calorie use starts from a baseline calculated from your age, height, weight and gender (as ours do) but is then constantly updated during the day by your recorded activity level. Fitbit doesn't need to start from a self-reported idea of activity, because it's actually monitoring you. Fitbit starts from zero at the beginning of the day, and works its way up to a calorie total. MyFitnessPal starts at a projected calorie maximum for the day, and then removes from that total when you log food calories.

These are essentially opposite approaches in reporting your calorie needs, and they meet in the middle with the Fitbit Calorie Adjustment.

Previously, your self-reported activity level set a bottom limit to your calorie goal. We didn't have a mechanism in place for allowing Fitbit's data to update your calorie estimate if Fitbit's data suggested that our estimate was too high at any point during the day. With the new change, we start with your MyFitnessPal calorie goal as a 'best guess", but give you what we believe is a more accurate sense of how your activity over the course of the day affects your calorie goal. On very lightly active days, it may well be that you need fewer calories than our estimate, and a negative adjustment at the end of the day will reflect that. If you are active over the course of the day, the adjustment will climb out of the negative and into the positive.

As a thought experiment: would it make a difference in how this change is implemented, if the following took place:

Your MFP baseline goal for calories is 1700

Fitbit suggests to MFP early in the day that you are not very active

MFP goal recalculates to 1500 calories .

You are more active over the course of the day, and your Fitbit syncs again.

MFP Goal shows 1700

You are increasingly active, Fitbit syncs

MFP Goal shows 1900

Does this change the perception of the relationship between Fitbit and MFP? If the goal was presented as an absolute like this (perhaps with a footnote "adjusted by Fitbit") would that improve the experience of the integration? This is more like what you'd see if you were watching your calorie usage from the perspective of your Fitbit account: it would start low and end up high, as the day progressed. I'm not suggesting we can accomplish this, but I'm interested in learning whether the issue is more one of perception, or in actual functionality.

Now compare this to the experience of seeing your adjustment at MFP over the course of the day. So the adjustment in your exercise diary, related to the same values shown above, looks like:

-200

to

0

to

200

This is the same adjustment, but presented as a move from Negative to Positive, because MFP starts from a projected total calorie goal, and Fitbit is now given permission to dial this estimate down OR up, where it used only to be able to dial it up. Is part of the issue that the negative number presents in some way as a penalty? (I think the issue is further complicated by the fact that in the exercise diary, a downward adjustment is presented as a negative number, while the same adjustment is shown as a positive number in the Summary area of the home page, due to the way we present the Net calorie equation there).

If you've born with me this long, i appreciate it. We'd really like to get to the heart of why this change is causing any grief. From our perception, the zero calorie adjustment was always an artificial limit set by our four levels of activity and having no mechanism for showing that your daily projection of calories from Fitbit was below that value at any time.

I definitely understand that those of you who can't sync your Fitbit until later in the day are finding yourselves suddenly presented with a larger increase in calories than you used to see when you were held at a zero adjustment all day. Perhaps we should look into a setting that allows users to limit the adjustment to zero, to offset the experience for those who can't sync until late in the day?

For those who sync regularly, is the negative calorie adjustment problematic for you as well?

If you can help us to understand how this change is feeling like an obstacle rather than an increase in the transparency and accuracy of the data presented (which was our intent) the more likely we can discover if there's a way to meet everyone's needs with the Fitbit integration.

Thanks for your help,
Steven
MyFitnessPal Staff



Steven,

Would you mind posting this message over at the Fitbit group on MFP? Or could I have your permission to copy it over there? I think this would help clear up a LOT of confusion about this change, over there!
  13056756
October 18, 2012 11:08 AM
I'm wondering the same thing. However, it seems that fitbit is accepting the manual input of calories for activities that it doesn't recognize well. I've done the math on the days where I did a manual input on an exercise and still ended up with a negative adjustment. Once I take the TDEE from fitbit and subtract that from my calculated daily burn on MFP, the math has held true (so far).
  23697467
October 18, 2012 11:22 AM
QUOTE:

I'm wondering the same thing. However, it seems that fitbit is accepting the manual input of calories for activities that it doesn't recognize well. I've done the math on the days where I did a manual input on an exercise and still ended up with a negative adjustment. Once I take the TDEE from fitbit and subtract that from my calculated daily burn on MFP, the math has held true (so far).


Up until today I have never input anything into fitbit - I've done all my entries on MFP. Today after seeing the negative adjustment I did input the activity into FB and things seemed to be more in line now.
  28773092
October 18, 2012 11:22 AM
yesterday i awoke to a negative adjusment, but then went for a long run, and by the end of the day all the numbers worked out

i sorta like the negative adjustment, as it will be easier not to overeat on a less active day
  8889735
October 18, 2012 12:07 PM
I have eaten 456 calories today...according to the new adjustments though, I have used up 1/2 my daily calories already....I am 250lbs (just under)...simply put, no matter my exercise level, 900 calories simply would not be suffice.

Way to inspire anorexia FitBit.
  25606029
October 18, 2012 12:57 PM
FitBit/MFP - just knock it off.

I had everything peachy fine, I go by TDEE -20% for my calories / light activity (1-3 hours a week). I've NEVER put anything in FitBit, only here at MFP (food & exercise). I wear my FitBit all day while awake and I just started using Endo for outside stuff and in the process of getting the bluetooth polar so they can talk.

Now, no matter what I adjust, I'm getting negative unless I delete the FitBit Adjustment.

I'm sorry, this is not a bonus feature. I want to get everything in RIGHT, I want to be able to plan my day instead of worrying if I can EAT dinner. I don't like waking up seeing a negative before I do anything and hoping when I get to sync in the evening, I haven't screwed up because everything reads NEGATIVE.

With the way things WERE I've lost 65 pounds in 6 months! I had my stuff tweaked to work and was rocking it!

Now I want to toss/sell my Fitbit and stay only w/ the Polar.

Haven't you ever heard the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
Edited by sammniamii On October 18, 2012 12:57 PM
  21362859
October 18, 2012 1:10 PM
I understand and appreciate the thought and math behind this update, but I do not like the resulting adjustments. I have my profile set at sedentary, which I understand is an estimation, but if the Fitbit is adjusting those calories down even further it makes it very hard to plan meals for the day! I suggest that for people using a Fitbit - especially if you are already set to sedentary like you're supposed to be with one - there should be a formula made to permanently adjust your daily goal to an amount that is more accurate to each person based on their Fitbit levels. That way, it would be truly sedentary, there would never need to be any negative postings or resulting frustration/demotivation, and the positive Fitbit adjustment would be as accurate as it can be.

I'm not a math genius or anything, but that doesn't seem like it would be too hard to do.

Thank you for actually reading and taking our thoughts and opinions into consideration with this!
  14004156
October 18, 2012 1:15 PM
I've unlinked my fitbit from MFP. I have been going in and deleting the fitbit adjustment each evening, but I just checked and it was added back for yesterday but at a lower number. The negative number takes away from my weekly calories burned goal and messes with the minutes goal. Since i also track on my HRM, I enter that info also since its more accurate.

I'm also one that does my TDEE -20%, and I understand the way MFP works in relation to calories and exercise.

So, maybe a future enhancement request of allowing for fitbit data tracking with the option of not applying it to daily counts? So, we can still see out data in one place but keep the numbers we want separate. Alternately, allow us to choose a setting that isn't adjusted by exercise cals or activity?
  16547909
October 18, 2012 1:33 PM
I don't like this at all. And, to be honest, I don't think I really understand it.

I know I've had a couple of rather sedentary days. But they were pretty similar and the figures I'm getting on MyFitnessPal are completely different.

Yesterday my Fitbit said: 5978 steps, 15 floors, 2350 calories burned. MFP gave me 158 extra calories from exercise.
Today my Fitrbit says: 5869 steps, 19 floors, 2127 calories burned. MFP gave me -310 calories from exercise.

This is the first time I've seen a negative adjustment. Today's calorie target is blown out of the water.

Please put things back the way they were. Or, at least, make it a user option to have calories calculated the old way.
Edited by davorg On October 18, 2012 1:34 PM
October 18, 2012 1:36 PM
QUOTE:

I thought this was working ok - Just connected my fitbit this morning, and entered some exercises in, and the adjustment has zeroed out my exercise.

I have never seen it register a minus before.
The first time I did my conditioning exercises, I measured them with the fitbit, recorded them in MFP and now just select that exercise with the time.

Please can someone take a look?

Many thanks.


IT DID THAT TO ME TOO!
  13819032
October 18, 2012 3:17 PM
Bottom line if you are not a sedentary person stop telling fitbit and MFP that you are. Up your activity levels and you can up your calories. You should know after a few weeks about how many calories you burn in a day and that should help you figure out your activity level. Fitbit is a great tool for judging your TDEE and when you know that you know you can eat at 20% less to achieve a 1 pound weight loss weekly.

If you are following the TDEE - 20% you should not be entering exercises into your log, it's included in your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, no need to count it a second time.

This update is great it allows you to increase your activity level and your calories. Your goal should not be to have a monstrous fitbit adjustment come the end of the day but a small one, or none.
  8531146
October 18, 2012 3:36 PM
QUOTE:

Bottom line if you are not a sedentary person stop telling fitbit and MFP that you are. Up your activity levels and you can up your calories. You should know after a few weeks about how many calories you burn in a day and that should help you figure out your activity level. Fitbit is a great tool for judging your TDEE and when you know that you know you can eat at 20% less to achieve a 1 pound weight loss weekly.

If you are following the TDEE - 20% you should not be entering exercises into your log, it's included in your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, no need to count it a second time.

This update is great it allows you to increase your activity level and your calories. Your goal should not be to have a monstrous fitbit adjustment come the end of the day but a small one, or none.
Well that would be correct except for two things. One, that is not the way MFP was designed or works. Exercise is not calculated into your MFP goal, just normal activity. That is why you are supposed to (or at least have the option) to eat your exercise calories back. Next, for the Fitbit to accurately depict your daily activity, setting at sedentary seemed to be the right answer, since the Fitbit would add expended calories you get to add them in to a sedentary setting. Exercise periods are supposed to be recorded with the Fitbit in "activity mode" (same thing you use for sleep) and then you are supposed to match that activity period with an exercise entry. But apparently that is broken now, although it used to work just fine. So, if you have a Fitbit, (and it doesn't sound as if you do) you have been using it incorrectly.
Edited by loumaag On October 18, 2012 3:37 PM
  24548612
October 18, 2012 6:25 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Bottom line if you are not a sedentary person stop telling fitbit and MFP that you are. Up your activity levels and you can up your calories. You should know after a few weeks about how many calories you burn in a day and that should help you figure out your activity level. Fitbit is a great tool for judging your TDEE and when you know that you know you can eat at 20% less to achieve a 1 pound weight loss weekly.

If you are following the TDEE - 20% you should not be entering exercises into your log, it's included in your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, no need to count it a second time.

This update is great it allows you to increase your activity level and your calories. Your goal should not be to have a monstrous fitbit adjustment come the end of the day but a small one, or none.
Well that would be correct except for two things. One, that is not the way MFP was designed or works. Exercise is not calculated into your MFP goal, just normal activity. That is why you are supposed to (or at least have the option) to eat your exercise calories back. Next, for the Fitbit to accurately depict your daily activity, setting at sedentary seemed to be the right answer, since the Fitbit would add expended calories you get to add them in to a sedentary setting. Exercise periods are supposed to be recorded with the Fitbit in "activity mode" (same thing you use for sleep) and then you are supposed to match that activity period with an exercise entry. But apparently that is broken now, although it used to work just fine. So, if you have a Fitbit, (and it doesn't sound as if you do) you have been using it incorrectly.



I do have a fitbit and waiting around all day for calories was getting so discouraging I had to up my activity level I now include exercise that I regularly do into that and the one pound weight loss I have been seeing weekly confirms it works just fine.

Your profile says it all, burn more than you eat. That little device on your hip tells you how many calories you burn, or your TDEE, now eat less calories. Most people follow this as TDEE - 20%. If you follow the plan laid out in the "in place of a road map" post you need to up your activity level appropriately and that means stop logging the exercise since it becomes included in your TDEE.

Here's the post that I am referring to, half way down the first page Dan notes "I should note that on the MFP custom screen, I have taken out the workouts per week and cals burned since you dont log workouts with these numbers.":

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/654536-in-place-of-a-road-map-2-0-revised-7-2-12

Good luck with everything and have a good night!
  8531146
October 18, 2012 6:33 PM
I don't mind the change. It was confusing at first but there are times I don't hit the exact activity level I want so it's probably more accurate now. I usually can judge about how much I have to eat just by looking at my steps. I've gotten to the stage where I can calculate it just be remembering the quantity of calories I ate with previous steps. I'd say the majority of the time, I've been pretty on target. If anything, this is just something to push you to work harder at losing weight. I just sorta look at it and if it's way too negative, I make a point of making sure I walk more that day or take more stairs. :) Basically, I'm getting that it's looking at actual activity levels and calculating whether we were as active as we reported - if not - than yes we should be probably looking at negative calories. I'm guessing the key feature works with our reported levels of activity and the Fitbit is pretty darn good at reporting that sorta of data.

Monica
  24345402
October 18, 2012 6:37 PM
I've actually stopped using my fitbit. Absolutely more trouble than it's worth. Never updates properly and you constantly have to fix or adjust. It's now one of my most expensive paper weights. However, I sure do have less of a headache without it.
Edited by dsmboy1991 On October 18, 2012 6:38 PM
  29133178
October 18, 2012 6:37 PM
As far as I know, the Fitbit adjustment comes from whether or not you went above the activity level you reported on MFP. I remember seeing that on multiple threads. Basically, the two sites compare and if you are below the activity level you're not going to get extra calories - those only occur if you are above what you reported. I remember seeing that described so you don't have to use the Fitbit activity feature. I suspect you have it wrong there. I know I've been using it this way now for several months and I've lost lots of weight so it must work.

Monica
  24345402
October 18, 2012 6:40 PM
happened to me yesterday also - I've been getting blank fitbit entries occasionally for weeks now. Finally decided to just disconnect the darn'd think from MFP. Something is messed up.
October 18, 2012 7:04 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Bottom line if you are not a sedentary person stop telling fitbit and MFP that you are. Up your activity levels and you can up your calories. You should know after a few weeks about how many calories you burn in a day and that should help you figure out your activity level. Fitbit is a great tool for judging your TDEE and when you know that you know you can eat at 20% less to achieve a 1 pound weight loss weekly.

If you are following the TDEE - 20% you should not be entering exercises into your log, it's included in your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, no need to count it a second time.

This update is great it allows you to increase your activity level and your calories. Your goal should not be to have a monstrous fitbit adjustment come the end of the day but a small one, or none.
Well that would be correct except for two things. One, that is not the way MFP was designed or works. Exercise is not calculated into your MFP goal, just normal activity. That is why you are supposed to (or at least have the option) to eat your exercise calories back. Next, for the Fitbit to accurately depict your daily activity, setting at sedentary seemed to be the right answer, since the Fitbit would add expended calories you get to add them in to a sedentary setting. Exercise periods are supposed to be recorded with the Fitbit in "activity mode" (same thing you use for sleep) and then you are supposed to match that activity period with an exercise entry. But apparently that is broken now, although it used to work just fine. So, if you have a Fitbit, (and it doesn't sound as if you do) you have been using it incorrectly.



I do have a fitbit and waiting around all day for calories was getting so discouraging I had to up my activity level I now include exercise that I regularly do into that and the one pound weight loss I have been seeing weekly confirms it works just fine.

Your profile says it all, burn more than you eat. That little device on your hip tells you how many calories you burn, or your TDEE, now eat less calories. Most people follow this as TDEE - 20%. If you follow the plan laid out in the "in place of a road map" post you need to up your activity level appropriately and that means stop logging the exercise since it becomes included in your TDEE.

Here's the post that I am referring to, half way down the first page Dan notes "I should note that on the MFP custom screen, I have taken out the workouts per week and cals burned since you dont log workouts with these numbers.":

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/654536-in-place-of-a-road-map-2-0-revised-7-2-12

Good luck with everything and have a good night!


When the MFP change went through, I was doing TDEE - 20% and had my activity level as moderate. I know that 2 days isn't great to base data on, but the more active I was during that time, the less calories MFP would allot me. Yesterday, MFP started me at 1780 at midnight, then dropped my calorie allotment to 1500 when I woke up. After doing my exercise, I had fewer calories - down to 1416.

I dislike the whole 'set your activity level to sedentary and eat back your exercise calories', so I use my Fitbit to give me a TDEE and take 20% off that. In order to get enough base calories on MFP, I changed my activity level to sedentary and pray the MFP/Fitbit connection will work like it did before the update.

While upping the activity level on MFP puts it close to what my Fitbit calculates as my TDEE, I'm uncomfortable waking up to diminishing calories. I feel cheated and lied to because MFP believes my sleeping is me mindlessly eating all night and I should never, ever have time to sit down and chill out.
  18511156
October 18, 2012 8:03 PM
I am very new to fitbit, having just gotten mine on October 4th. It is clearly more complicated than I first understood, but I want to chime in here and say that having fitbit "take away" calories I have actually burned is actually discouraging. One of the things i love about MFP is the data and the ongoing feedback about how I am managing my caloric intake and energy output. To go from one day having extra calories deducted by fitbit to the next having a huge number of exercise calories actually negated has been confusing. I have been less active today and yesterday and I can wait a little while to see if things even out once I get more active, but I just want to make clear that it is quite demotivating to do, say, 125 calories worth of exercise and have them removed from MFP by fitbit.

It appears that an update this week is responsible for this change, but I for one think it is actually a negative development.
October 18, 2012 8:06 PM
Mine's been doing the same thing. It shows up and deletes the exact amount of cals I've entered from exercise. I'm not even using my fitbit. It just sits on my desk...haven't touched it but it's still adding in these negative cals. I've just been deleting the adjustment, but it is getting annoying. I'm considering just disconnecting the FB and MFP. Hope they figure out the glitch before I have to.
  4859460

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