Reviews

BodyMedia, Me and the Surprisingly Friendly Calorie Matrix

I am a calorie-tracking god. Physical exertion and side dishes alike reveal themselves to me in a silent stream of numbers. Think Neo in the Matrix. What is the source of my power? The nice people at BodyMedia sent me a magical arm band device that tracks everything but my shoe size: my caloric output, steps taken, sleep efficiency, and activity level. Move over Fitbit. 

I’ve been wearing this jobby for about a month, and I’m addicted. Yes, people ask me if there is something wrong with me. They see the monitor and assume I have an ailment. It has been suggested that I wear it on my ankle, but then I’m pretty sure people will assume I’m Lindsay Lohan. 

Once a day I reluctantly take the armband off and plug it into my computer where the data it loads my data onto the BodyMedia website. (The site also allows you to log food intake, so you can balance your calorie budget.) Full disclosure, I have yet to reach the 2,685 caloric output goal the system sets for me, but I have been amazed by how many calories I burn by just existing. Who knew? In fact, the most striking feature of the whole techno getup is that it has made me MORE mellow about my exercise and food, and not turned me into a raving calorie-counting stress case. Based on the data, (accurate to 90%), I can eat a whole lot more and still be within a "losing zone." Love that. Other important things I have learned: 

 

  • On days that I’m busy running around doing errands I burn approximately the same as those days I go to work and the gym. That makes me feel a lot better about grocery shopping, house cleaning, and the other chores that keep me moving.
  • My sleep habits are sub-par. I have yet to reach the recommended eight hours of sleep, even if I actually lay in bed for 10 hours. The machine monitors whether I’m actually sleeping versus laying down, and I can monitor how many times I wake up during the night, which is apparently a lot.
  • The food database on the BodyMedia site is good, but the one on DailyPlate is better so I use that.

Last, but not least: This shiz ain’t free for everyone. I got the media member discount, but the real life cost is $259 for the armband and display. Worth it? Yes. Can you live without it? Obviously.

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