Fitbit & Lose It! [UPDATE]

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Photo courtesy of Fitbit Inc. Logo courtesy of FitNow Inc.

For all you Fitbit and Lose It! fans out there, I’m happy to report that two-way syncing is now available between your Fitbit and Lose It! accounts. This is a feature that Fitbit had been hinting at for quite some time on their App Gallery, and, last night, the TR Crew was very excited to discover that it has now been released.

As I mentioned in my earlier review of the Fitbit Ultra, the food logging portion of the Fitbit website is really the weakest part of the whole experience of using the device, because it has a relatively limited database, where only brand-name or restaurant foods are included. This means that the user is often left trying to guess, for example, which restaurant’s version of sesame chicken is closest to the one they made at home. The option of creating foods to add to a personal database is available, but, in the case of a home-cooked meal, this could still involve some amount of guesswork. When you’re trying to lose weight through careful calorie-counting, having to guess is not a reassuring or helpful thing!

Lose It! is a free service, that can be accessed via their website, or with the Lose It! app (still free!), which is available for both iOS or Android users. The TR Crew, and many others (check out all of the rave reviews!), feel that this is one of the best apps, if not the best app, out there for counting calories and tracking exercise. We were therefore disappointed initially to find that we would have to leave LoseIt! behind (or be forced to log all of our foods twice) if we wanted to use Fitbit’s food logging feature. However, because two-way syncing is available between the two sites, this is no longer a problem! Now, when you log foods using the Lose It! app or website, which has a much more extensive food database and even includes a bar-code scanner, the calories you consume will be pushed to your Fitbit account. In addition, when you log activities using your Fitbit (or have a particularly active day in terms of your number of steps taken) and your calorie goal is increased, this will be reflected in your daily calorie goal on Lose It!

How does this two-way syncing work, you ask? Well, foods added to your Lose It! account will be added to the correct meal of the day on the Fitbit Food Log as bulk meals (with the total calorie count), instead of listing each individual food. This means that, for example, all of the foods you log for lunch in the Lose It! app will be recorded as a single group in the lunch portion of the Fitbit Food log, as seen below. The same goes for breakfast and dinner, whereas snacks will be recorded as “Anytime” foods.

In regard to syncing from Fitbit to Lose It!, Lose It! will record a “Fitbit Adjustment” in the exercise portion of your account based on the total calories your Fitbit estimates you will burn each day (which is calculated based on how many steps you take). The method for calculating the “Fitbit Adjustment” is shown in the following image:

Here’s how it works: First, Lose It! assumes a certain amount of daily activity and uses an equation to calculate a base calorie burn for a person using their weight and age. It then calculates your daily calorie goal based on said calorie burn and the amount of weight you intend to lose each week. In my case, as seen in the image above, Lose It! calculates that I will burn 2432 calories from general daily activities (I think this equates to a light to moderate activity level). In order to lose, for example, 1 pound per week, I would need to eat 500 calories less than 2432 (= 1932) each day, for a total calorie loss of 3500 (500 cal * 7 days = 3500 calories = 1 lb) per week. If my Fitbit indicates that I will burn more than 2432 calories in a day because of an increased number of steps from going for a run, or from just generally being more active that day, the difference will be added to my Lose It! calorie goal as a “Fitbit Adjustment”. In the image above, my adjustment for that day was 76 calories.

The TR crew used the Lose It! app religiously for many months before buying our Fitbit Ultras, so we are very happy to see increased integration between the two services; Lose It! is one of our favorite apps on our iPhones! The availability of two-way syncing is also especially great for Android users, as there is not an Android Fitbit app, yet. If you are interested in linking your Fitbit with your Lose It! account, instructions on how to do so can be found here. Happy calorie-counting, everyone!