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April 18, 2016

What energy balance level would help you lose weight and stay fit?

“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.” Euripides, writer of ancient Athens

What energy balance level would help you lose weight and stay fit?


There are not that many naturally fit people. And before you envy someone, who has the thin gen, analyze their lifestyle. Sure enough you’d find out that their eating habits are moderate, and the level of physical activity is actually pretty high. In other words, that means those “naturally fit” ones do their best to make taken in and burned calories equal.

That difference between calories intake and burned is usually called “energy balance”. Unfortunately, there is no rule for everyone, the right number is an individual parameter which depends on the way your body functions. And why is it important to know the balance’s number? Because it is one of a very few ways to lose or control one’s weight.

1) Negative energy balance means that you burn more energy than you consume. Of course that leads to weight loss.

2) Positive energy balance means that you eat more calories than you burn. If such a situation is not a result of a party, but a habit, sooner or later extra kilos will be found around your waist.

The optimal energy balance is close to zero and lasts for some continuous period (several weeks or, even better, months). If it’s your case, congrats! Your lifestyle (eating, sleeping, physical activity, emotional state) can be easily described as healthy.

Great! But how do I find out my own energy balance?

If you don’t have any means to help you (scales, pedometer, pulsometer, special apps for calories’ intake calculation, etc.), there is no way you can estimate the energy balance, even approximately.

The easiest but not the most correct way is to step on scales every morning. But you’d regret not only every gram of fat, but also every glass of water, which is actually healthy, but can give the impression that you’ve gained some extra kilos.

You can take another & a more complicated path: using some special apps one can estimate consumed calories and then with help of a fitness-tracker count the energy balance.

In that case the number would be more correct, though again not accurate enough. Why so? First of all because calorie intake counting might not be as accurate as you wish for.

Reasons for that:

- The calorific value marked in tables is not always correct, it actually depends on the sort of product as well as on the way it was produced.

- Even more, those apps usually do not estimate some specifics of an individual metabolism, which affects a lot on how much energy you get eating these or those products.

- Measuring calories in a complicated dish? If you are not the nerdest person in the world, who do actually keep in mind the weight and calorific value of every single product put in that dish (including oil you fry something on), the number would be more than approximate.

- Finally, do you really have time to write down every single eaten piece? If so, you must be the most organized person on the world. And if you are not, let’s be honest, some forgotten food will change the real energy balance value.

The quantity of energy burned, counted by heart rate and steps number, is not that correct as well. Just because no one has invented a tracker that would count those records precise enough. If your boyfriend proposes like right now, your heart would beat like crazy, bit ooops! no calories burned. Or squats. Doing squats, you don’t make a single step, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t burnt a single calorie, right?

Of course, all those estimations will bring you to some energy balance number, but would it be accurate? Doubtful.

And there comes Healbe GoBe…

We gave you lots of reasons why fitness-trackers and apps are not that great in counting energy intake and outcome. So how is Healbe GoBe now way better? The main difference is the fact that it actually estimates those important numbers, by measuring the energy on its way in and out your body. In order to make those results as accurate as possible, Healbe GoBe uses data collected by three different sensors:

- an accelerometer - to measure activity and body movement

- a piezo sensor – to measure heart rate wave

- an impedance sensor – to measure the calorie intake   from food

That data combined allows you to estimate the calorific value that your body gets from all the products you’ve eaten, depending on ways they were prepared in and the specifics of an individual digestive system. It also proves to be precise enough estimating the energy you burn through basal metabolism, physical activity and food digestion. As a result Healbe GoBe lets you find out the very energy balance, that describes, not someone’s but your life with all its specifics.

So how do I find out about the balance using Healbe GoBe?

As for now you can find out the difference between energy intake and outcome just pressing the button on your wristband. To see the values, repeatedly press the button on the bracelet case. Each press is accompanied by a certain sign on the display. Press until the word “Energy” appears. The number you see at that moment is the energy balance for the current moment.

Also you can estimate the daily energy balance by checking the difference between calories consumed and calories burned in the “Energy” section in your Healbe GoBe app. 



Simple rules for losing weight

The most of the Healbe GoBe users aim to control or lose some weight. In the first case it is enough to keep the balance at about zero (100-200 calories can go up or down). If your goal is to lose some, it requires the energy balance shortage, so your body would be forced to melt fat reserves.

1) Nutritionists believe that calories deficit might not be bigger than 400-500 per day. And of course you can cut down even less, though that would mean slowing down the speed of your diet. For example, eating 1000 calories less every day and training in order to burn 150 calories more than regularly (a 30-minutes walk of a mild intensity would do the job) you’ll be losing 1 kilogram per week. Want to lose about a kilo every week, not month? Consume 400 calories less every day and work out for at least an hour every other day.

2) Why not be even more extreme? ‘Cause not eating enough slows down the basal metabolism, as your body does all it can to safe some feeling an unusual shortage of the necessary resources. Instead of losing fat you’d be collecting it.

3) Sometimes after having great results, one slows down or comes to a weight-loss plateau (not losing any for some time). It just happens. And we strongly do not advise you to start panicking, cut calories down or work out even more. The main reason for plateau situation is that during first week of any diet a body normally loses water, getting energy from glycogen, the carb collected in muscles and liver. Only when there is no more glycogen left other fat sources will start melting away. And then, during the 4th of 5th week, your body would be gaining back the water it lost. Good thing actually, as effects of dehydration are extremely unpleasant!

4) Some people, including the author of this column, tend to be let’s say corpulent. Those of us need more time and effort to lose kilos, but again starving is always bad decision. Just be patient!

5) It is important to follow the energy balance not only on the daily, but on weekly and monthly basis. Eating less today and overeating tomorrow will not help you.

How to avoid mistakes counting the energy balance with Healbe GoBe?

Counting the energy balance Healbe GoBe compares eaten calories to calories burned. That means that any wrong data can influence the energy balance result, usually making it smaller than it actually is. Mistakes might be caused by:

- Food’s composition. The less ingredients a dish consists of, the easier it is to estimate its calorific value;

- Eating schedule – if you chew something every 20-30 minutes during a couple of hours (eating out or celebrating Thanksgiving, for example), you make it tough to count the complete calories intake;

- Wristband wearing style. Don’t take it off after eating anything, otherwise there is not gonna be any record.

See more in the article about Why & How You Should Track Your Calorie Intake.

We constantly work on the energy expenditure algorithms’ improvement. But a lot depends on you. Don’t to wear your wristband on the morning jog = inaccurate Energy Balance in the end of your day. Try not to take it off as much as possible – the longer your wear Healbe GoBe, the more accurate collected data is. So, wearing it all the time, not to gain weight keep the energy balance at 100 / -300 calories, and to start losing get to -500 calories.

How does one achieve such a result?

It’s your choice. You can either sacrifice high caloric, though awesome food (hotdog gives plus 500 kcal, 100 g of fried chicken equals to 400 kcal, and only 50 g of black chocolate is 200 kcal), or work out really hard. And by really I mean REALLY! To burn just one can of sweet soda you’d have to run 1,8 km. Had a pork steak? Pay for it with 50 minutes in a gym.

Don’t treat your weight-loss plan as a race for not-eating, skipping breakfasts, ending up starving and craving junk food. If you stay far below your calorie limit for the day (keeping the negative energy balance), you're not giving your body any benefits and, what is most important, don’t speed up the process of burning the calories you’ve consumed. For a healthy way of losing weight and keeping shape be mindful about the optimal energy balance. Healbe GoBe can easily measure the difference between calories consumed and burned and help you to achieve your body resolutions.

Please note that while the Healbe GoBe bracelet is designed to provide you with information about the conditions and trends in the physical state of your body, Healbe GoBe is not meant to be used as a medical device and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease; also note that it should not be used as a substitution for expert medical advice. Healbe GoBe measures the basic characteristics of your body using unique technology and algorithms to provide you with accurate data (including consumed and burned calories, step count and distance walked, energy balance, sleep quality, stress level, and heart-rate), but the accuracy of the GoBe's readings depends on the accuracy of the personal data you put in your profile and whether or not you are using the GoBe correctly.

Healbe recommends that you always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health expert with any questions you may have regarding a health condition, diet, or physical fitness program. 


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