Fitbit One – The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Is Not A Line

This review has some back story to it. A few years ago, I had gotten quite … what’s the word… chunky. Chubby. Pudgy. Definitely thick around the middle. My wife and I both went into overdrive to get healthy, using a site called SparkPeople to log our calorie intake and making a concerted effort at exercise. At the time, I was working from home and the boys were being home-schooled. So no commute to work meant I had about 70 minutes every day that I wasn’t stuck in a car. I got into running and, during the winter, made it to the gym.

The pants went from a size 38″ to a 36″ to a 34″. Had to go to the jeweler to re-size my wedding band because it was falling off my finger. Long story short: I lost almost 30 pounds.

And then life changed. 

I changed jobs and needed to go back to the office. I figured, “All I need to do is maintain my weight, so how hard can that be?” In other words, I stopped using SparkPeople to log what I was eating. Here’s a quick formula for you: Stop exercising + Stop counting calories = Weight Gain.

The 34″s are in the back of the closet. Didn’t quite need to take out the 38″s thankfully, and while the ring is a bit snug I didn’t need a trip to the jeweler’s. But both of those things lurked if I didn’t change something.

So …. ugh. Enter Back on the Program Take II. 

Definitely went right back to SparkPeople. Great site for logging everything you eat. Just about everything and anything you can eat can be found there. And now they have a handy “scan the barcode” portion of their mobile app that makes it even easier. Other members of the site share their foods as well, so there’s a massive database of food. Once you get your favorites going over a period of time, they’re right there for you to click on and add as you’re eating. 

The bigger challenge was exercise. The new job doesn’t leave a ton of time for getting to the gym, especially during the week, so how to ensure I was burning more than I was eating? 

Enter the Fitbit One . As usual I hemmed and hawed over which fitness tracker to use. And with so many new ones about to hit the market, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to jump in or wait it out. But my wife, who is the Queen of Research, finally took the plunge on a Fitbit One. And like the iPad and the laptop she also brought into the house, I oooh’d and awwww’d over it and bought myself one a week later. 🙂

The Fitbit tracks a lot of stuff. Your steps, your active minutes, the number of floors you walk up (it has an altimeter), and works that out to calorie burn. It syncs with SparkPeople so that you can see whether what you’re burning is more than what you’re taking in. And it allows you to change all the settings for each one of these for daily goals. It also has a sleep mode to tell you how long and how well you’re sleeping, which I find very interesting. And then, to boot, it sends you a weekly view of all of this data in an email or you can pull it up directly from their site or the mobile app. 

All of which makes it a great little device. But how do you make sure you’re getting your steps every day? How do you get from Point A (your current weight) to Point B (your goal weight) when you have to commute to work every day and sit in meetings?

This is where the title of this little blog comes in. This is how the Fitbit motivates. Need to make a Mother Nature stop? Don’t visit the nearest bathroom. Need to have a 1 on 1 meeting with an employee? Ask if they’d like to walk (either outside or inside) for the discussion. Need to carry groceries in from the car? Make two trips instead of one. The son’s breakfast is in the toaster? Don’t stand there and wait for it, make a couple trips around the island while you wait for it to pop.

You get the picture. This is where the Fitbit really makes you work for your steps. Unless I’m really in a hurry, I’m taking a meandering path to where I’m going. I actually don’t mind having to go back upstairs for something if I’ve forgotten it on the way down. 

The Fitbit has made me cognizant of how much I’m moving, and it’s making me aware that I can take those extra few minutes to put a few extra steps in between where I am and where I’m headed. And that’s helping me get from where I was weight-wise to where I want to be. After three weeks I’m down more than eight pounds, thanks to both Fitbit and SparkPeople.

And it’s also working for our dogs, because my wife and I get a few extra steps in after dinner walking them around the neighborhood. 🙂