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How My Fitness Trackers are Hurting My Weight Loss

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this at all on my website but I just had a baby.🤣 Okay, it was about a year ago and I’ve been on a loooooong journey to get my body back into “fighting shape” for the Army.

One part of my journey has been weight loss. You see, I went from healthy to obese during my pregnancy due to problems with my thyroid that I never had until I got pregnant. (I guess the burden of building a little human being will do that to an already stressed out body.) So, I was so glad when I lost 30 lbs just by giving birth! And then I lost 0 lbs from breastfeeding for 4 months—apparently, I wasn’t in the lucky-girls’ club on that count. After that, I hired a nutritionist and lost another 20 lbs until my body hit a hard stop due to metabolic adaptation. (It turns out that even though I was tracking all my calories and macros, I was under-eating.) So I stopped my diet for 2 months to “refeed”, AKA help my body see we were not in a starvation situation and it was allowed to start burning calories again.

But despite hearing God say my two months of refeeding worked, I’m not losing any weight now that I’m back to the diet plan from my nutrition coach. So what gives???

Well, one thing I discovered thanks to the IIFYM and Postpartum Facebook Group was that my fitness trackers were lying to me! That’s right—L.Y.I.N.G. Lying.

You see, I decided to start tracking my calorie burn during exercise so that I could add those calories into my daily macro count and prevent under-eating. However, I have lost zero pounds doing that and became very frustrated at the thought of never losing my last 30 lbs—and possibly getting kicked out of the Army because of it. So I reached out to the Facebook Group and someone one there told me that fitness trackers tend to grossly overestimate calorie burn during exercise, and that this may be what is throwing my calorie count off (especially when, on some days, I’m adding 400 calories—a-whole-nother meal—to my daily calorie count due to what the fitness trackers are saying.)

Two days later, I got an opportunity to test what the Facebook Group owner was saying, quite by accident (ha! There are no accidents, but that’s for another post.) I put on my MyZone heart rate monitor, which tells me how many calories I burned based on my heart rate during exercise. I then got on a treadmill and somehow connected my MyZone to both the app on my phone and the LifeFitness treadmill. So I got to see how both machines calculated my calorie burn. Then, I went on WebMD to see what they had to say about my calorie burn. Finally, I prayed and asked God how many calories I burned.

Here are the results, all of which are based on my weight and either the duration and speed of my run or on my heart rate during my run.

1. LifeFitness Treadmill estimated higher than any other option at 274 calories (while connected to MyZone heart rate monitor).

The LifeFitness treadmill was tracking the same exact heart rate as my MyZone app on my phone, but said I burned 30 extra calories for the same workout.

2. MyZone was next up at 246 calories.

The MyZone app said I burned a bunch of calories for a 20-minute run, mostly in the 80-90% heart rate zone.

3. WebMD was third at 200 calories.

WebMD burst the bubble on the first two calculators’ based on a description of my exercise and body weight.

4. The Holy Spirit said I burn 2/3 of everything MyZone calculates, which is 164 calories.

So…to be clear, I’m going with number four. 🤣 I’ve learned to hear God’s voice, recognize it, and follow it (John 10:27).

Why am I sharing this with you? It is NOT so that you can start multiplying your calories burned by 2/3 on all of your fitness trackers. That, after all, may be a very specific calculation for me based on my body function. But, I DO encourage you to pray about everything (1 Thessalonians 5:16)—including fitness trackers—and test everything that you hear from the spiritual realm or natural realm (1 Thessalonians 5:21)—including how accurate they are—just as I am doing. This is one way that we can practice walking with God in every area of our lives.

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