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I love the dotFIT Program but why can’t I add the calories I burn from exercise or other additional activities to my average daily calorie burn chart?

Answer: You answered your own question by using the word “average”.

First, your exercise was added into your daily burn when you answered this question as you created your program, “how would you describe your current activity level?”  You choose from seven possibilities that describe your typical week as it relates to your waking hours (including work and exercise). Second, your non-exercise activities and your sleeping calorie burn were included when you choose from the seven options mentioned above.

Finally, your “average daily burn” is just that, an average of a selected time period (no less than one week) between body measurements/weights. Therefore, altering one day or adding activity(s) will do little to change anything in the weekly picture, especially when you consider any extra movement from a normal average week is generally offset (reduction in energy expenditure) at some other time during the week. The only way to validate that your added activity is incremental to your “estimated average” would be to use a calorie expenditure measuring device such as the dotFIT armband, but then that would be the calorie burn number the program uses.

More info
Unfortunately not everyone can afford or wear an armband. Therefore, we designed the dotFIT program to work without the day-to-day, minute-to-minute accuracy the armband gives the user. In order to accomplish this, we base all starting and ongoing calorie recommendations on the latest, most accurate formulations combined with your true body/weight measurement changes and trends, leaving no room for error on the program calorie recommendations that will keep you on track to your goal.

Energy Expenditure Formulation
The purpose of estimating your energy expenditure is to give you the menus containing calorie totals that will get you started toward your stated goal. From that point on, your changing measurements will dictate your future, accurate calorie intake program recommendations.

The dotFIT program estimates your AVERAGE daily energy expenditure (EE) based on the following:
  • Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) using your physical characteristics and the Mifflin St. Jeor formula (MJF)
  • Your sleeping metabolic rate based on the hours you say you generally sleep and the MJF
  • Your average daily activities based on your selection (1-7 below) from the program questionnaire that best describes your AVERAGE week:
    • I spend most of the day sitting and I do not exercise.
    • I spend most of the day sitting and I exercise less than 4 times a week.
    • I spend most of the day sitting and I exercise at least 5 times a week, OR I perform continuous light activity but do not exercise.
    • I spend most of the day sitting and I exercise at least 5 times a week, OR I perform continuous light activity and exercise less than 3 times a week.
    • I perform light continuous activity and I exercise at least 3 times a week, OR I perform continuous moderate activity and exercise less than 3 times a week.
    • I train multiple times per day, OR I perform moderate continuous activity and exercise at least 3 times a week.
    • I am an endurance athlete training competitively, OR I perform heavy continuous activity and exercise at least 3 times a week.

Incorporating all the above logic allows an extremely accurate view of how many daily calories you burn on average. Even if you burn more on one or two days of the week by adding more work/exercise, research has demonstrated that you generally will unknowingly compensate by burning less during the rest of the same day or on other days (due to decreased overall daily movement) thus maintaining the accuracy of your estimated weekly or monthly calorie burn. For this reason we do not allow users to add what they might think of as additional DAILY burned calories to an AVERAGE daily burn as it would give them the sense of a larger energy deficit than actual. And keep in mind, the only way to validate that you are not compensating for sporadic increases in daily activities would be to use an accurate calorie expenditure measuring method for at least two weeks, and preferably a month.

Regularly burning more calories than estimated or losing weight quicker than desired
If a long-term change in your daily routine occurs, you may need to update your answers to the program questionnaire regarding the seven options above. Just choose your “current activity” descriptor accordingly to support either your increase in average daily calorie burn that forces you to continually perform more exercise while still maintaining the same daily activities (e.g. longer cardio sessions, more days per week, etc.), or vice-versa, you increase daily activities without decreasing exercise (e.g. job change, hobby, etc.).

Your body measurement/weight change is the answer to your true calorie balance, not your inputs or estimates
The program’s calorie recommendations and ongoing calorie adjustments are always accurate because they are tied to your goal and weekly or bi-weekly measurement changes – not your calorie burn or the calories you reported consuming. These numbers are nice to know; they give you something to add and subtract from, and help hold you accountable but do not have to be true. Measurement changes create an indisputable trend and ongoing calorie deficit recommendations that are tied to these changes and the mathematical laws of energy. Follow the program feedback and you will reach your body composition goal. In other words, when the feedback tells you to increase your deficit to XXcals/day – do it, regardless of what you believe you previously did.

Upgrading your program with the most accurate calorie measuring device available
If you are interested in receiving an extremely accurate account of your day-to-day, minute-by-minute calorie burn, step count, physical activity, sleep patterns and more, you should upgrade your program by adding the armband built by BodyMedia®, the leader in body sensing devices.

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