Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Body Bugg Review part 1

I won’t make excuses for it.  I am out of shape.  Period.

Over the past few years, I have preferred to sit and do nothing rather than exercise.  It was a choice.  There were plenty of circumstances that make it an easier and more appealing choice most of the time. 

Once upon a time, I couldn’t gain weight no matter what I did.  I drank powders and lifted weights, but didn’t see any increase in my size.  I was a very active teenager and college student.  Every job I had required me to be on my feet in the Arizona outdoors.  That is… until ministry.

Most ministry happens to be done sitting down and talking or on the phone, or at a computer.  There were times when we played in basketball and softball leagues.  There were running games at youth group.  But mostly, I was on my butt.  And I have paid the price for it.

I did work hard to get back in shape in 2003-2004ish only to hurt my legs and develop spiral fractures in both of my legs.  This put me back on my butt. 

I tried a number of times to get exercise by swimming, playing basketball or running on a treadmill, but I had little motivation especially since I am normally around the kids when I am not working and little kids are no fun to play full court basketball with, and are a heart attack to allow to fend for themselves while I swim laps in the pool. 


But this week.  I started something new. 

Last friday, Kim bought me The Body Bugg.  Now keep in mind that as a church planter, my office is in my home, and a good percentage of the time, Braden or the rest of the kids are with me, so I can’t just take off running.  Also keep in mind that even when I go and meet people, it is over a coffee, or at a restaurant.  Also keep in mind that I love greasy food and beer.  Also keep in mind that I am  a nerd.

This Body Bugg thing is exactly what I need.  You strap this thing to your arm.  It is very small and you don’t even notice it.  But it keeps track of how many calories you burn in a day.  It does this by measuring your Galvanic Skin Response (basically a measurement of electric stimuli in your body), it measures your sweat production, your temperature, your movement through an accelerometer and pedometer.  Based on these measurements, it can pretty accurately determine how many calories you are burning.  (there are a few exceptions where I have found inaccuracies.)  But it seems to be very good at guessing how many calories you are burning. 

Not only does it tell you how much you burn.  You plug it into a computer and with a membership to the Apex program, you enter every single thing you eat to get a report of how many calories you ingest. 

Based on your weight loss goals, it develops a program that you can use to lose a certain amount of weight, or maintain weight or even build muscle.  The only catch is that you have to plug it in at least daily, and you have to accurately report what you eat. 

Because of my current size, weight and lifestyle, it has determined that I need to burn 2900 calories daily and I have to ingest 1650 calories a day in order to lose about 2 pounds a week.  This gives me a caloric deficit of 1250 each day. 

I want to lose about 45-50 pounds.  It has told me that I can do this by June if I can keep this kind of deficit on a daily basis.  Of course you can starve yourself and lose it faster, but then you are losing muscle weight and without as much muscle, you will put fat back on even faster and easier than ever. 

So, my plan is… To do this every day.  I can eat as many calories, as long as I burn 1250 more than I eat.  Which is not an easy task.

The problem so far is that in a very sedentary state (ie working at the computer or watching tv, sitting and eating, driving etc.) I burn about 1.6-1.8 calories a minute, meaning that I have to find a way to burn about 400-500 more calories than normal each day.  I can do this by being quite a bit more active, or just working out for that many calories. 

I also have to eat a lot less than I was.  Like crazy less.  1 normal fast food meal for me, uses most of my calories.  Easily.  So now I am eating  a fraction of the calories.  Some fruit for breakfast. A Burger and fries for lunch and I will be eating a salad for dinner, without dressing.  And that’s it. 

I know it sounds rough, but the quicker I drop weight in a healthy way, the quicker I can start getting more active and building enough muscle to prevent weight gain in the future. 

My goal is not only to drop the weight, but to be more athletic and add some muscle afterward.  My goal is health and balance.

So, for right now.  I am doing this thing.  I am going to be completely bound by my commitment so that I can do it in the shortest amount of time and get to feeling better and healthier sooner.

I am allowed to weigh myself on friday to see if I am losing.  We’ll see what happens.

Today is a rough day for Body Bugg and me though.  Tuesdays, I normally do as much clerical stuff as possible.  I am writing, emailing, communicating, talking on the phone, and not leaving the house, so I am burning fewer calories than any other day of the week.  I stupidly had 4 tacos for lunch which added up to around 900 calories.  But if I don’t make my goal of calories burned, I will put myself in a bad position for eating another bite for the rest of the day.  So, I will be walking and running the track behind the house today after the kids go to bed.

It will be interesting to see how much weight I lose this week and how accurately this thing tracks over the course of months.  I will post another review later when there is data to report.


* I said earlier that I found some inaccuracies.  

1.  Steps.  It has a pedometer that claims to accurately measure how many steps I take.  Last night, I plugged in and had a total of 9,975 steps, so I put the bugg back on and walked in a joking and exaggerating way 25 big steps to get to 10,000 which is actually the suggest goal for the number of steps.  I not only counted out 25 steps, but walked through the house up to my room and got on the recumbent bike for about 20 minutes.  I then came downstairs at least once and went to the bathroom.  When I plugged it in, I only had 10,014 steps.  I had easily taken a hundred steps in my estimation.  hmmmm

2.  Activity.  When I run around outside with Jeffrey playing catch, I can burn up to 9-10 calories per minute.  However, when I get on the recumbent bike, even though I will get sweating hard and breathing heavy, I will show only burning around 4-ish calories per minute.  I imagine that I am burning more than that when I am on the bike.  I can burn as much as 5-6 per minute when I am just walking in the neighborhood.  I am wondering if because my arms don’t move at all, it the bugg does not pick up accurately how much I am burning. 

3.  Swimming.  Obviously you can’t wear this thing swimming.  Which would be a major bummer to learning how many calories you burn while exerting yourself in the pool.

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