I’ve been watching back to back episodes of the Biggest Loser for quite some time now and in the later series the Bodybugg became an integral feature on the flabby arms of the contestants.
I’m not sure why the new gadget took so long to register with me but within three days of me acknowledging the device and researching it on the web, I was donning the British version on my own flabby arm.
The British version is sold as the Ki Fit and looks the same as the US Bodymedia gizmo but the subscription service has supposedly been optimised for the UK market.
It’s a fairly pricey piece of kit or at least it becomes so once you’ve bought the obligatory subscription to the web service. I went down the expensive route and bought the premium option with the shortest subscription. Everyone in this household was very keen to point out that gadgets have a notoriously short half life for me, so I compromised and committed to 3 months only.
The KiFit is a 24/7 body monitoring device. It has a number of sensors that pick up movement, skin temperature, conductivity and who knows what else to determine your metabolic rate or calorie burn per minute.
I’ve no idea how accurate it is. Of course the website claims its super accurate and clinically proven but I’m a little cynical. I’ve still be drawn in though and by day 4 I am loving it. As with most things, such as weighing scales, fat percentage monitors and skin fold calipers, it is consistency that holds the key, absolute accuracy is probably a pipe dream.
This gadget enables me to derive some form of analytical study of my lethargic body. Calories out, activity rate, sleep efficiency and providing I log my food intake properly I’ve got the calories in part, sussed as well. It feels as though some element of control has been handed back to me. There is no need to guess whether I’ve balanced the activity and food well enough to put me into a calorie deficit.
The web service is key to bringing the whole thing together and I am incredibly impressed with the system. It works so well – even on a mac!
Here is the activity breakdown from today. I’ve been trying to get on my feet a bit more than usual, so I had a very short stint on the treadmill at lunchtime and a walk around the common before tea. On a working day I’ve been shocked to find that my time at work is no more taxing than a night in bed, my activity level rarely moves above comatose.
I’ve set the target at 10,000 steps per day, and given my days are generally pretty sedentary, its a reasonably stretching challenge. I was still on the treadmill at 11:45 last night trying to reach the desired number.
The sleep monitor perplexes me somewhat, I can’t decide what it detects. This recording comes from Friday night so I managed a long lie in and the best sleep efficiency rating to date. The past two nights I’ve recorded less than 5 hours sleep and regardless of the duration, my night is always broken into multiple chunks. Is it normal to wake so often?
Monitoring the calorie intake is obviously a vital part of the equation and I’ve found the website offers the best interpretation of a food diary that I’ve tried to date. The search facility is fast and accurate and enables you to select items by serving size or weight, which is very handy if you are eating out or with friends and don’t feel able to pull out the scales. Where food items aren’t available you can enter them extremely easily. I actually prefer to do this anyway so that I can be sure the data is accurate and it is particularly useful when when you make up a meal from scratch.
My only problem is that I can’t easily access the website from work so I use the Tap and Track iPhone app to record my intake during the day and then manually transfer the details in the evening. I notice the US site is offering a native iPhone app for recording food intake on the go and hope the UK version isn’t going to be far behind.
I’m going to maintain a photo food journal and kifit stats resource on the semi-anonymous posterous site. If you are interested in seeing my daily intake, feel free to check it out.