Fitbit: Getting Fit With A Bit Of Help

There are cool products, and products that do cool things and bringing the two together is an art. Ask any Apple product designer/developer. Although I am a total gadget geek and technology freak, and it’s rare that I so quickly integrate a new product into my daily life. That hasn’t happened since my iPhone.

When I first heard about the Fitbit, it couldn’t have been better timing. I was already “trying” to lose weight. After a tough year of revamping what I want to be when I grow up, and an illness that kick-started the weight loss, I can say I was paying attention to my weight, but not actively doing anything about it on a daily basis.

It was actually a opportunity through my husbands work that brought this gorgeous gadget to my attention. Progressive company that it is, they offered the Fitbit as a health incentive. Let’s just say it worked. The day after he brought it home, I ordered my own and it’s been an amazing tool ever since.

The Fitbit is a fitness tracking tool. Think of it like a pedometer on steroids with constant feedback on your movement goals. A tiny personal trainer that gives you incentive to get up for that afternoon walk because you haven’t got your 10,000 steps in today.

The tool itself has an amazing online support for tracking food, adding activities it can’t track directly (like swimming – no water for this little thing) and gives you the thrill of adding a little competition in the mix. You can invite your friends to participate in your fitness journey. Thank God you can choose what your friends see, but it is fun to keep an eye on each other and encourage that evening walk.

Of course the instant feedback, or constant nagging depending on your mood, on achieving your daily goals has prompted the phrase “Damn Fitbit” in my house. This is said as we go out for another walk. Even then, it’s said with love.

Knowledge is power

We can totally guess at the amount of calories we put in our mouths daily, but anyone who has ever committed to a weight loss over over 10 pounds can tell you that there is no way to know until you write everything down. For most of us, it ain’t pretty. In the past I would rely on packaged foods, just to make tracking easier. The extra stuff that came with those choices always showed up on the scale.

I chose to started tracking on a Saturday that the family came over for a BBQ. The wine was flowing, and it was entertaining to view that first day of tracking my food. The shock of seeing a graph comparing calories burned vs. calorie intake that MATCH makes you re-evaluate that 3rd helping.

With any new habit, setting it up takes up the majority of the time. It took about a week to get pick out and “favorite” the foods it had in the system. With the meal feature I can add things together for easy click-to-eat tracking.

Losing weight is simple math, expend more than you take in. I hate math. I’m very happy I have Fitbit to do the math for me now.

You’ve got to move it, move it

I used to joke that by looking at me now, you’d never guess I used to be a dancer and an aerobic instructor. I can’t say I really had any issues with maintaining my weight until after my son was born, but since he’s almost 17, there’s not one pound I can blame on baby fat anymore.

Here’s some of the tracking and feedback I check out online. This is a screen shot of my stats for this Wednesday.

I had already made the decision to get moving several months ago, long before I knew the Fitbit existed. So what’s the difference? In those months, I managed to drop 15 pounds and bounced 5 pounds lower or higher depending on my interest in chocolate that week.

I’m on week 3 of the Fitbit and I have:

  • Lost an average of 2.5 pounds a week
  • Increased my cardio from 3 times a week to up to 3 times a day
  • Dropped my calorie intake by over 800 calories a day

Why does it work

If you have a little reminder sitting on your hip all day – or sometimes stuck on my bra – that tells you where you are on your goals, anytime, anywhere, you tend to pay attention.

That’s the simplicity of this product. Easy usage. Set up the base and it syncs within 15 feet. No docking needed until your Fitbit needs a charge, and so far that’s about every 10 days for me.

Hard core fitness people may find it lacking in certain features. Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I love this black-and-teal beauty. They know there are improvements that can be made, and listen to their very active user community through the Fitbit blog. Since I joined almost a month ago, there have been 2 new features added to their online interface. Both of which I started using immediately.

Once of the comments from a Fitbit user who had lost theirs noted, “I feel like I lost a limb.”  I read this note on week one and laughed. Week 3 and I can’t agree more.

I just hit a milestone with a total of 25 pounds lost. I have about a toddler still to lose, but the journey is well on it’s way and I’m driving everyone nuts with the energy I have. I just read about their iPhone app that will be out soon. I’ll be on that as soon as it launches!

When you are ready to commit to the challenge that improving fitness and daily health can be, the Fitbit can be an amazing and affordable tool to help you get there.

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Heather’s dream is to share with the world her success at becoming healthy after age 40. Heather lost over 88 pounds through changing her diet and incorporating exercise into her busy life. She would like to take what she has learned about becoming fit after 40, and using her Metabolic Training Certification to help others struggling with weight issues mid-life. Heather’s post day is Monday.
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  • Thanks for the FitBit points shared on this blog. Something also important I would like to talk about is that weight reduction is not all about going on a dietary fad, taking drugs, using diuretics, and trying to reduce as much weight as you can in a set period of time. The most effective way to shed pounds is by taking it gradually and following some basic steps which can assist you in making the most from your attempt to lose fat. You may already be following a few of these steps, nevertheless reinforcing understanding never does any damage. You have to ask yourself if you can sustain what you are currently doing for 25 years. If this idea depresses you then you are losing weight the wrong way.

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  • Thad

    This is pretty cool. I’m gong to go check it out. Thanx Heather.

  • I love my fitbit … they say that when you track your food you eat less and are more aware of what you are doing to your body. Time Ferris says taking photos of what you eat is even more powerful and the website has a place to upload photos.

    I just wish they tracked supplements and medications as well as the times that you take them … and blood pressure.

    Doctors could really benefit from some powerful reports you could run for them from fitbit and really play an active roll in your own health.

    Next, I’ll be doing those videos …. oiy.

    Cath

    • Heather

      I’m looking forward to all the steps we will be adding tomorrow on Angel Island :)

      I finally added a couple custom trackers for the stuff that wasn’t supported. I just saw they do have blood pressure and glucose… I’m starting to use the heart rate every week or so to see if all this cardio is working!

      Thanks – H