Important fact number one: I am not much of a gadget person. I use any gadgets that I have to use for their primary purpose only. The bells and whistles on my phone? No idea what they do. I can call and I can text and that’s good enough for me. So when our exercise physiologist, Beth Shepard (who I happen to adore), wrote a blog on fitness gadgets, I didn’t pay that much attention.
Important fact number two: I have a friend who has lost 120 pounds over the last two years. She went from 250 pounds to 130 pounds by eating healthfully and moving her body. It’s been remarkable to watch her transformation. To keep herself motivated through a recent weight plateau, she bought a Fitbit and told me excitedly all about it. Well, I was feeling a little lackadaisical about my physical activity and so decided to splurge on a Fitbit too.
Two months later, I am a Fitbit devotee. I have worn simple pedometers on and off for years and I think they are great. But the Fitbit definitely packs more punch than any pedometer I had previously used. Now, I must say that I am in no way affiliated with the company, but if Fitbit asked me to be their spokesperson I’d gladly agree. Here’s why: the Fitbit is tiny, comfortable to wear and does not fall off. It is accurate and gives immediate feedback on steps taken, miles covered, and stairs climbed. And here’s the best part – it comes with a docking station which plugs into your computer. Every time you walk by your computer, your Fitbit website account automatically updates all of your data. So what does Fitbit do that makes it the Cadillac of health tracking devices?
Fitbit tracks what you eat: You can track your food intake on the Fitbit website, and it is very easy to do. I have tracked a few times but have not done that piece consistently yet. This is a very important tool for people wanting to lose weight, as many studies show that keeping a food journal helps keep healthy eating on track.
Fitbit tracks your sleep: You can also wear your Fitbit while you sleep and the number of hours of sleep you get will automatically be logged. It even tells you how many times you wake each night. If this weren’t so amazing, I’d think it was a little creepy. Okay, maybe it is.
Fitbit rewards you: I am rewards-oriented when it comes to my physical activity. I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I like a stroll or some light weight lifting and… well, I also like the couch. It’s a little challenging for me to push myself in the exercise arena. Fitbit has the answer for that – I get virtual awards emailed to me when I pass certain milestones, such as 10,000 steps per day or fifty miles walked per week. That’s fun for me. Laugh all you want, I know what works for my psyche! It’s kind of like a gold star chart, but for adults (seems to work better on me than on my kids).
Fitbit gives you pie: Okay, not really. But the Fitbit does give you a user-friendly pie chart for how many waking hours you have been completely sedentary (versus lightly active, moderately active and vigorously active). Meeting after meeting at work makes for a very sedentary day even if I powerwalk for an hour early in the morning. I thought I was really aware of moving my body every twenty to thirty minutes (standing and pacing during a meeting) but apparently I still have plenty of work to do in that arena. This was incredibly eye-opening for me.
I like my Fitbit. It’s not a magic pill – nothing is. I actually still have to put on my sneakers and move my body. It doesn’t put vegetables on my plate. It doesn’t do the hard work for me, but it does make the hard work even more rewarding.
So tell me, what do you use to keep your exercise and eating on track?