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personal experience with Bodybugg/Sensewear

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Old 07-14-2008, 02:31 PM   #1
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Default personal experience with Bodybugg/Sensewear

hi all! not sure if this is the right place to post this, but i've gotten a lot of questions about it and thought it might save some headache to copy a post i'd made in response to questions about these monitors. i don't work for either of these companies (wish i did, it might have been cheaper) but for me personally, it's been a great thing to have. (i use some Beck phrases because i originally posted this on the Beck board - "no choice" is a Beck tool and the teeth brushing thing gets discussed there as well.)

there are two companies that i know of that sell them: sensewear (also called body media) and bodybugg. it's exactly the same technology, but sensewear is the group that developed it. they've already released the 3rd version - bodybugg is releasing theirs in the fall. that's why bodybuggs are cheaper right now; they're trying to clear out the old inventory. you can buy them from 24hourfitness.com, or the sensewear one from www.sensewear.com. the new version is smaller and lighter - less noticeable under clothes. this was important to me when i first started wearing it, but i don't really care anymore. if people notice it and ask what it's for, i just tell them it's a calorie monitor, and usually they want to know where to get one too. they only notice it though when i'm wearing short sleeves and you can actually see it. otherwise, it's hard to tell i've got it on.

it's wonderful, fabulous, really does what heartrate monitors or pedometers try to do, but not as well. (it also functions as a pedometer, in case you're tracking that too.) i'm 100% accountable when it comes to movement and exercise, and it shows in how i've changed my thinking. i don't even think NO CHOICE about working out (most of the time, anyway.) it's gotten a lot more like teeth brushing. it's like letting the air out of the tires in terms of internal dialogue - it's just part of my day. it's also made me a lot more aware of how much sleep i am or am not getting, and i'm a lot more conscientious about getting to bed earlier. still have to work on being overscheduled to make that more automatic, but it's step #2 in the process.

the website has also been a really good tool for meal planning and logging. if i do my meal planning carefully and realistically, when it's time to log my meal, i just click a single button ("I ate my meal plan") and i'm done. so now i'm working on making it possible to just click that button more often.

the monitor was expensive, but it's the first thing to really make a difference (over the course of months) in getting me accountable. i spent about $450 on it, which included the armband, the monitor, and 6 months of the website. my subscription is up in a month or two and i will ABSOLUTELY renew. the ability to create reports, export data, and see how my intake stacks up against my burn over time is incredibly helpful. it also helped me get religion about tracking my calories. i used to use Fitday, but i was never sure about the exercise calories so subsequently i didn't trust what it told me i should be eating/losing.

net net, wearing the monitor has made it easier to figure out how much i should realistically be eating. before, i tried a couple of diets that made me miserable, simply because most calculators grossly underestimate my metabolic rate. i wouldn't have known that without my monitor. when i was on the 6 week body makeover, i was ravenously hungry almost 24-7. the support person i IM'd told me it was because i had stretched out my stomach through overeating, wasn't drinking enough water, hadn't given it enough time, yada yada yada. i gave up on that (and three or four other perfectly good plans) because i wasn't getting enough food and it was too hard to be hungry all the time. i'm still trying to figure out what the right amount is to eat and still lose weight, but it's 100 times easier now i know more about my body.

if anyone still has questions, or wants to see a sample report, let me know!
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Old 07-14-2008, 02:44 PM   #2
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Omg, thanks for posting this! I'm really going back and forth between getting one/not getting one. I really WANT one, but I'm considering the price. But then again, my pitfall is always me not benig held accountable... me not counting calories on weekend nights out. I mean, I'm sure it's worth it. I would love to see any samples you have to show us!
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Old 07-14-2008, 02:51 PM   #3
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sure thing! i just printed up a report for the last 7 days so you can see what it really looks like. hope that helps! the enormous bump in activity on saturday was my 6 mile run (i'm training for my 3rd 1/2 marathon.) let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 07-14-2008, 03:49 PM   #4
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Thank you so much for posting this, including the sample report. This is REALLY good information as well as a believable review. It's the most information I've seen on them to date. Definitely something to consider...

I can totally understand how it would motivate you to move more, eat less and even get that all important sleep!

Good luck with your program.
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Old 07-14-2008, 05:31 PM   #5
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Wow, that is so cool

Thanks for posting--especially the link to your report.

Very interesting
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:26 AM   #6
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I want one!!!

Thanks for posting this
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:59 AM   #7
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y'all welcome! glad the information was helpful. for what it's worth, IRS guidelines allow HSA funds to be used to purchase them if a doctor signs off on it being part of treatment for obesity and weight-related health issues.

from http://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html#d0e2229

Weight-Loss Program
You can include in medical expenses amounts you pay to lose weight if it is a treatment for a specific disease diagnosed by a physician (such as obesity, hypertension, or heart disease). This includes fees you pay for membership in a weight reduction group and attendance at periodic meetings. You cannot include membership dues in a gym, health club, or spa as medical expenses, but you can include separate fees charged there for weight loss activities.


these monitors are often used by doctors post-WLS; and as part of bariatric clinic treatments, so it's worth looking into if you can use as HSA account to help pay for it (assuming your doctor doesn't use them.)

cheers!
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Old 07-16-2008, 04:18 PM   #8
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Would you mind explaining to me how this is different from wearing a Polar monitor 24 hours a day? Does it calculate calories burned differently?
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Old 07-16-2008, 04:42 PM   #9
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sure! a bodybugg or sensewear monitors four factors to determine how many calories you're burning: (and this is from the website, because i'm not as up on my physics and biochemistry as i used to be) 1) skin temperature, 2) galvanic skin response (skin impedence, which reflects water content of the skin and striction or dilation of the vascular periphery) 3) accelerometer for movement and 4) heat flux (the rate as which heat dissipates from the body). all these together are run through some complex mathmatical algorithms and correlated with each other, and that tells the monitor exactly what you're doing. it can differentiate between lying down and sleeping, between running and being on an elliptical, etc. there have been some problems reported in the past with biking but i think they worked that out. i can look at my activity summary for a day and see exactly when i got up from my desk to go to the bathroom. i can tell if i'm waking up a lot at night, even if i don't remember it in the morning. body composition doesn't affect it and neither does weight.

in contrast, the HR monitor takes your heartrate, compares it with your weight and age and gives a standard calorie burn. it's a little better than what you get from a machine, but not much. it's not nearly as sensitive, either. my heart rate will go up if i walk up a flight of stairs, but will also go up if i smoke a cigarette. the polar can't tell the difference. same goes for a pedometer - it tracks how much i'm moving, which could tell me how active i am, but sometimes not. if i'm riding a train, every bounce looks like a step to a pedometer.

long story short - the sensewear/bodybugg folks claim accuracy within 8% for burning calories, and the HR folks won't claim that it's anything more than an estimate at best.
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Old 07-16-2008, 04:47 PM   #10
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WOW! That was a lot of info! Thank you! I have a question...Do you have the wristband that you can read the current counts on? Also, if you are wearing it and part of the way through the day, you want to check on how many calories you have burned, how hard is it to get that information? I am asking because before I leave work I would like to check my numbers before hitting the gym. Is there a time breakdown so it would be easy to determine how many calories were burned during a specific time period? Do you think the wristband/watch thing is worth the money or is it easy to retreive the information whenever you need it? Have you ever used a HRM? If so, do the calories counts seem to be similar?

Thank you so much for answering all of my questions!
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:56 PM   #11
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Ahhhhh . . . very enlightening! Thank you so much kuhljeanie!!

YOU ROCK!!
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Old 07-17-2008, 08:56 AM   #12
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sure, blueyedlvrgirl - i do have one, and checking calories burned is like checking the time. there are a couple of buttons on the top part that toggle around to show you current calories burned (it resets to 0 at midnight), steps, activity time (goes back and forth between moderate and vigorous - moderate is 3-6 cals a minute, vigorous is over 6, but you can change that on the website), and time (i.e. it's also my watch. ) there are buttons on the bottom so you can see all that stuff for the day before, and it's got a trip setting (like a car odometer) that you can reset. i do that when i start my run, just to get an idea of how many calories i burned during that particular workout. the cal burn for the trip thing isn't quite right - i think it averages for that period or something - but seeing what you've burned for the current day is super easy, as easy as checking your watch for the time. yep, i've had hr monitors. my first one was a cheapie from target that i wore until it fell apart, so my second one was a nice polar model that calculated calories. i've not worn both at the same time to compare, so i'm not sure how big a difference it would be (on me, anyway) or compared different activities (like the elliptical v. sleeping.) to be honest, once i got my sensewear monitor, the polar HR and pedometer (a nice one too - can't remember the brand) have been lonely in a drawer. i'm kind of a gadget whore - love my electronics! wish the iphone could display java so i could upload my armband to that.

just for clarification, i have a sensewear, not a bodybugg, so i don't know how the bodybugg monitor works, but i'm guessing it's pretty similar. if you don't get the monitor, you can check your progress by uploading the armband and looking at the summary on the website. it's kind of fun looking at the screen and trying to remember what i was doing that spiked my metabolism. i'll attach an example, so you can see. the big bump in the morning was my long run for the week (i don't ordinarily burn 3000 calories a day. wish i did!)

again, let me know if you have more questions. it's probably a good idea to put it all here so anyone who's interested can read it.

you're welcome ggmugsy!
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:55 AM   #13
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Wow! Thank you so much for all of the information that you have presented here. It helped me in my decision. I bought one! Hopefully as I start to use it, I will be able to help others out with info, like you did for me. It will be interesting to do the same workouts I have done with my Polar and compare the calorie counts between them. I didn't get the display, I am waiting to see how much I really need it. It may be hard getting used to not being able to check my wrist for updates, like with the Polar, but there is a lot of anticipation involved in waiting. I want to work as hard as possible so I can see good results tonight when I upload.

Thanks again for all of the info!
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*299* *288 1st 10%* *275* *259.2 2nd 10%* **245--75 lbs GONE!** *233.3 3rd 10%* **220.2 100lbs GONE!** *210 4th 10%* **199--ONEderland!** *189 5th 10%*
**170.1 6th 10%--GOAL**
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:27 PM   #14
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Thanks so much for this! I've been trying to determine if it's worth the money or not and reviews such as this really help!

Now - do you think if you tracked your food/calories/deficit on your own you'd have had as much success? I guess what I'm asking is if it's the program or if it's the accoutability?
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Old 07-17-2008, 12:40 PM   #15
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Yes thank you very much for this detailed information. The sample reports also helped a lot to visualize. Currently I have a Polar F6 HRM.

From what I understand you have to enter in sensewear what you eat throughout the day, correct? Now it's easy to enter say if you had a cup of grapefruit...but if you had something more complicated - for example, any recipe with bunch of ingredients...how did you manage that? Does it come with its own specific list or you can add stuff? How does it calculate calories if it's not part of the list? Or you do you enter calories?

Thanks
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