Why should I use Figwee?

Figwee works. Not only will you get results, but it will be enlightening, empowering, and simple.

What advantage does Figwee have vs. My Fitness Pal, Weight Watchers, or any other popular tools?

Figwee is unique, faster, smarter, and more accurate than any other calorie counter in existence. It is nothing short of revolutionary.
Why? Figwee is the only solution that uses pictures of food, not text and barcodes, to help you estimate your portions.

Humans are visual creatures. When we think about food, we visualize it. We are not very good at estimating food portions using text as a reference. We are, however, very good at estimating things visually.

Humans think this: Not this:
keypie Pie, Key lime, 3.2 oz

If you use only text to track your food intake, you will be wrong the majority of the time!
All other solutions tout databases with millions upon millions of foods…who wants to sift through pages of results wondering which is the right one?

Our use of a streamlined yet thorough database lets you find what you ate in seconds, making us the fastest solution on the planet.

Figwee is by far and away the most accurate way to track food, because if you pick the exact food you ate but get the portion wrong, you may as well have picked something at random. The small differences in key lime pies is not your issue…it is how much you ate that really matters.

Your other big issue is if you stop tracking your food after getting frustrated looking through text results. And how useful is a barcode after a home cooked meal?

Why should I track my food portions and calories?

Calories can be thought of the same way as money…you would rarely buy something not knowing how much it costs, but we do it with food every day!

If you spend more money than you make, bad things happen. If you eat more calories than you burn, bad things happen.

Controlling your health starts with controlling your food and knowing that you are eating the right amount of energy for your needs.

It is the only proven method that can be sustained…all ”diets” inevitably fail over time. If you track your calorie intake and burn, you will build an understanding of what foods you value for their satisfaction, and which foods are not worth it to you. This information is critical to your ability to eat healthy and actually enjoy your food. If you like butter, then have butter. All you have to do is account for it. Don’t believe what you read about “eat this food, not that food”, etc. While there are clear health benefits to choosing your food wisely, the fact remains that you can eat anything you want, including deep fried ice cream, and still lose weight. The act of tracking your calories is the single most important step you can make to take control of your health and well being. Just by doing it, you will benefit.

I cannot find the exact brand of food I ate in the database. What do I do?

This is a good place to briefly explain the Figwee philosophy and why it works.

The single most important thing to do gain control of your calories is to keep a food diary. This fact is un-debatable.

The act itself keeps you aware of what you are eating, and people naturally make adjustments to their intake when they understand what is going on.

Other apps and tools attempt to make your food diary a precise task, which is a fool’s errand. The result is a difficult, unfriendly approach that leads itself to apathy and a non-existent food diary. If you stop using an unfriendly product, it is as un-precise as it gets. You’ve now lost the most important benefit in an attempt to make it perfect.
Further, even if you soldier on, the more difficult it is to enter food the more likely it is that you will forget to enter something, and then all attempts at precision go down the drain.

Gaining control of your calories is not a precision task. It is, from a practical standpoint, impossible to precisely account for the calories your body needs and how much you ate to compensate.

So why is everyone making it so hard to make diary entries? Type in a popular food and you’ll get hundreds of results to sift through, and you still will not know if you got the volume of that food correct.

There is no doubt that accuracy is important, but the biggest threat to accuracy when it comes to controlling your calories is to get the volume incorrect.

It is not so much which chocolate chip cookie you had, but how big was it? Sure, maybe you looked up your Taco Bell taco. How confident are you that they prepared it with the same amount of meat and cheese as the corporate nutrition pamphlet? Figwee weighs the food in each picture so you know what you are looking at is accurate. Get the brand right and the volume wrong, and
you’ve wasted your time looking up the brand. We built Figwee with this in mind.

Figwee is about the things that are most important:

  • Keeping it easy so that you actually keep a diary.
  • Getting the volume correct.
  • Understanding the food you eat.

Let’s look at the last entry. If you ate at a restaurant and had rice, you simply need to enter the correct volume of rice and add a small amount of oil or butter. That is because wherever you had the rice they added oil and butter to it. This is why there is a difference between the rice calories on the box and the calories from any restaurant.

We make it easy to add both of these items in the time it takes for you to look up a specific restaurant and find “their” rice. More importantly, you would come to realize that every time you have rice “out” you are also eating oil. So instead of looking for the exact rice you had, enter the base component and then ask yourself how it was prepared. This will serve you much better than a misguided attempt at finding the perfect rice from a list of hundreds.

You need to strive to understand your food and its preparation. And most importantly, eating your rice at home is the best way to eat rice and Figwee has got you covered. You will not find your “home brand” rice, the way you prepared it, in a list of hundreds of rices regardless.

Therefore, the simple answer to a missing food is to find the closest basic match and use that. At the end of the day, all food calories are just combinations of fats, carbs, and proteins. Get the volume right, and make sure to ask yourself if there is something you need to add because of how the food was prepared.

You will get proven results without the specific brand. In essence, an intelligently simplified process leads to better accuracy and results, and a better understanding of food.

What is the difference between Figwee Visual Food Diary and Figwee Calorie Control?

Figwee Calorie Control is our full featured product that lets you track your calories and activites, set weight-loss goals, save common foods and activities for quick entry, create custom foods, track your fitness progress, and more. It is a monthly subscription that can be purchased in-app or directly from the desktop via the web and cancelled at any time. It is both a desktop and mobile application that automatically sync with each other real-time.

Figwee Visual Food Diary has the bare minimum features necessary to look up and record the foods you eat. It has sponsored messages in the free version, which is available to make Figwee accessable to anyone that needs it and has a smart mobile device. Removal of the sponsored messages is a simple, one-time in-app purchase.

Figwee Portion Explorer was our flagship product that allowed only for a look-up of food portions. It has been discontinued and replaced with the more robust Visual Food Diary.

Can I use the desktop version on my smart mobile device without using the mobile app?

If you purchase the monthly subscription for Figwee Calorie Control, it will work on any mobile device with its browser. The only requirement is that private browsing must be turned off.

However, if you plan to ever use a mobile device, it is highly recommended to get the iOS or Android app for your device from the get-go to enjoy the best experience.

How is my Base number of calories calculated?

Keeping track of your calories is a simple math equation, which Figwee calculates for you. In the simplest of terms, there are five factors that affect your outcome:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – This is the amount of calories your body uses to maintain its normal functions at rest. If you didn’t move a single muscle all day, not even to sneeze, then you would burn calories equal to your BMR. While there are factors that affect BMR that you can control, like temperature, they are negligible. We calculate this from information gathered in the settings section. For more info, see the FAQ entry for BMR.

BMR Multiplier – This factor is to adjust your BMR for daily activities that burn calories that you will not enter or track in Figwee. It starts with 1.2 for sedentary people. For more info see the FAQ entry for the Harris-Benedict equation.

Burned – These are the calories that you burn through activities during the day over and above the BMR Multiplier (Don’t enter opening the cupboard; do enter shopping). These come straight from the Activity Log.

Eaten – This is simply the calories consumed for the day. These come straight from the Food Diary.

Goal – This is the number of calories you must adjust up or down to achieve the desired weight gain or loss. If you want to lose a pound a week, a pound is 3500 calories, which is 500 calories a day deficit. Your goal is set in the settings section.

In Figwee, we combine your BMR, BMR Multiplier, and your Goal into one number. This is your Base number. The idea behind the Base number is that it is a combination of factors that you do not need to manage daily as you track your calories.

Why did my Base number change?

The Base number only changes when one of the numbers that factor into it changes.

The following things affect the Base number and are located on the settings page:

  • Your weight (BMR calculation)
  • Your height (BMR calculation)
  • Your age (BMR calculation)
  • Your gender (BMR calculation)
  • Your goal
  • Your Basal Metabolic Rate Multiplier

In addition, your weight will change if you enter a new weight on the results tab.
The Base formula will then use the last recorded weight.
If you are losing weight and recording it, your will see your Base number slowly get smaller.

What is Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)?

Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the minimal rate of calories burned by your body at rest. This rate is an estimate and it is expressed as the total resting calories burned in a 24 hour period.

Currently the most accurate formula to estimate a person’s BMR is called the Mifflin St Jeor equation: (10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5(males only) -161(females only).

Don’t worry, we have calculated this for you based on information entered into the settings page. BMR does not include any calories burned through muscle movements. To make the formula useful for calorie control purposes, it needs to include some additional calories to account for daily basic movements, like getting out of bed, sneezing, opening a cupboard, etc. To achieve this, a second formula is applied to the BMR called the Harris-Benedict multiplier.

The multiplier guidelines are as follows:

  • 1.200 – little to no exercise
  • 1.375 – light exercise (1-3 days per week)
  • 1.550 – moderate exercise (3-5 days per week)
  • 1.725 – heavy exercise (6-7 days per week)
  • 1.900 – very heavy exercise (twice per day, extra heavy workouts)

However, in Figwee, we only use the 1.2 multiplier as a starting modification to your BMR. The reason is that you need to log your activity over and above the 1.2 level in order to accurately track your caloric needs.

We do allow you to change the multiplier, but it is not recommended that you do so unless you are sure you know what you are doing.

One example might be a runner training for a marathon who could use a higher multiplier to cover their daily training activities so they do not need to enter them in the Activity Log.

Those of us that need to change the multiplier already know who they are. The rest of us start with a 1.2 multiplier and enter activities in the Activity Log to get the best results.