Food Tracking and the FitBit – Diet Day 35

It seems like every day I use my FitBit Ultra I learn a little bit more. I am finding capabilities that I didn’t know existed and I’m now working on a plan on how to incorporate these features into my overall health plan. Initially I bought the FitBit to merely track my physical activity in the form of steps but shortly thereafter I’ve found an abundance of useful and sometimes non-useful information.

Being on the Take Shape For Life diet I have not really had to worry too much about what I eat and in what quantity. These types of decisions are taken care of especially for the five meal replacements that are strung throughout the day.

Because of the rather regimented eating program I had initially dismissed the tab on the FitBit web page that dealt with logging food. If I cannot really change what I am eating other than choosing the kind of food I should eat from the box what’s the point of tracking it? Curious and bored I decided to explore the food page and try to understand what it means.

The page allows you to log each and every type of food that you eat during the day. The data entry section is rather easy to navigate and the system seems to have a fairly extensive list of foods from which to choose including many national franchises.

For those foods that the database doesn’t know there is a button to add the food. You can simply enter the name, manufacturer, and number of calories in a serving or for those who really are interested in what they are eating nutritionally you can enter most of the information from the nutritional facts table on most foods.

Not surprising the Medifast food used by Take Shape For Life was not entered but I quickly added the 18-20 items that I generally eat from their catalog. Once all of the food was entered I could select them and put the foods in the proper time slot.

Immediately the graphs would change and show me not just the number of calories that I had consumed but also the types. According to the documentation that came with the Welcome Kit for the diet I should try to limit my carbohydrate intake to around 80 grams per day to successfully maintain weight loss.

Before FitBit I had no idea how many carbs I was eating. For most days I was well under the total necessary but there were some days where I had inadvertently gone over due to the choices I was making both in the meal replacements and also with my Lean and Green meals.

Another great feature of the food area of FitBit was that it tracked not just my food intake but then compared that to the level of activity I was getting. This would allow me to know whether I was keeping the intake and output in balance or if my choices were leading to success slowing or stalling.

You can also set weight goals for yourself and tell the system how aggressive you want to be towards those goals. Given your activity and your food intake the system will give you an estimated date of when you will reach your goal.

This was interesting. I knew I wanted to be out of the fat burning state before Opening Day of baseball on April 6th. Using the data on FitBit I can now determine whether I will meet these goals or not. Yet another tool to have in my toolbox to be healthier and make good choices.

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