Training with a Heart Rate Monitor Helps for Weight Maintenance.

By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

A couple years ago I bought a FT40 Polar Heart Monitor ($129.00 or so on I already had a heart rate monitor but what made me purchase the FT40 was a short column I read about the FT40 in Self Magazine. What I wanted from the FT40 was to find out how many calories I was burning when I was running or cycling outdoors. If I run on my treadmill, I can get an idea of how many calories I burn.  But I love to be outdoors so outside is where I typically like to run unless it’s storming, icy or we have snow!

Several years ago, I performed a resting metabolic rate test on myself so I know how many calories I needed each but the calories burned during my active lifestyle  is where I needed the help.  I have lists of activities but wanted something more personal. Adding my workout calories along with my resting metabolic calories needs gives me an idea of what my daily caloric needs are each day. That number changes simply because sometimes I run longer or cycle outdoors or indoors and take a rest day when needed. 

Lose It App Can Help You Lose Weight & Keep It Off

As a dietitian, I have always encouraged my clients to keep food diaries so they can keep track of how many calories they are eating. Ofcourse being a registered dietitian for over 38 years help me personally to estimate the calories that I eat each day fairly accurately. A great app that I highly recommend is called Lose It!. Lose It! App makes it incredibly easy for me and my clients as well. But the one drawback is that you have to have either an I Touch or I Phone.  

Lose It! is free app that you can download directly to your I Phone or I Touch. For more information about this weight loss app you can go to

Getting Started

To start the Lose It! Process you need to get an accurate weight. Then you need to decide how many pounds you want to lose per week. The program then determines your daily calorie budget. The number of calories you burn at rest is estimated using a standard formula on height, weight, age and gender using the Mifflin equation. If you have had a resting metabolic rate using the Med Gem or Body Gem you can manually add this number of calories. You can adjust this daily calorie budget using the Adjustment field under the Daily Calorie Budget screen.  Next you begin to add your foods for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. You can add custom foods that are not in the database and also add custom recipes as well.  In addition to you can add your specific nutrient preferences as well.

Exercise Calories

If you don’t have a heart rate monitor that calculates how many calories you burn when exercising, the exercise database in Lose It!  is exceptional.  The calories burned are based on your individual weight.  It’s very interesting to scroll through the exercise to see how many calories can be burned for example I can burn 225 calories on an  elliptical for 30 minutes of exercise, burn 161 calories for hiking for 30 minutes, burn 225 calories running 30 minutes or burn 74 calories walking for 30 minutes.


You can set up motivators to keep you on track.  These motivators include: reminders on your phone when you forget to log, daily or weekly emails that share your progress with others, and sharing your progress on Twitter and Facebook.  You can also add friends as motivators.  I am getting daily updates on my I Phone about how well some of my clients are doing with their commitment to exercise and eating healthfully.  This information tells me how many calories they ate, were they over or under and also how much did they exercised.

Using a heart rate monitor together with the Lose It! App will help you keep on track with your calories and losing and keeping the weight off.

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Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition,, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.    


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