Sometimes I meet food and travel bloggers and marvel at their thinny-thinness. Because despite doing a fairly good job at eschewing most breads and pastas, and despite not having much of a sweet tooth at all (exceptions = mint ice cream and lemon tart), my losing battle with the gym continues.
Sure, I go through phases. In 2008, I was all about the British 10k and I was thinner than I’ve been in a long time, thanks to long weekly runs through Queen’s Wood in Highgate, along with lots of interval training on the treadmill at Virgin Active Moorgate. Then in 2009, I hired a personal trainer who boxed with me in my living room twice a week for six months before he nipped off to Australia and I stopped boxing. (The dress I wore at Christmas that year — a bondagey type of thing that did wonderful things for my top and bottom — still hangs morosely in my closet.)
And then I repatriated back to the US and I didn’t buy a car on purpose because I knew what life in America was going to be like. If I bought a car, I would never walk anywhere and I would never ride my bike. I would go out to eat at restaurants where portion size was EASILY two (or three) times what portion size in London was like. This would be another losing battle. I was afraid. Very very afraid.
So earlier this year, when my dad told me he was going to get me a Fitbit for my birthday, I was kinda okay with it, despite the underlying message he was sending. And then my friend Renee got a Fitbit. And then Kelly. And then Julie. So I finally gave in and asked my dad where my Fitbit was, and it arrived in the mail the other week.
And I am sort of in love with it. Firstly, because I am a data junkie.
Here, for example, is my Fitbit data from yesterday, Saturday August 11th. A very good day. I walked six miles and burned 2,416 calories. (While I’m sure this data isn’t an exact science, some data is better than no data, and by using the Fitbit every day, the comparison data — the ability to compare yesterday to today and tomorrow to last week — is still useful.)
Here’s where things get scary though. On Tuesday, August 7th, once I was out of bed, I spent 77.5% of the day sitting on my ass. Gah. Talk about motivation for getting up off your ass.
For women, you attach the Fitbit to the middle of your bra. Men can use a belt loop or a shirt pocket. Then, when all your friends have Fitbits, there’s a leaderboard that tracks who’s walked the most, who’s burned the most calories, and who’s been the most active. Who doesn’t like a little competition?
Two big observations:
- Someone like me, who is really only 5 ft 4 on a good day, burns an average of 2,310 calories a day. For me to lose weight, I need to eat a lot less than that. This is making me take a hard look at what I eat every day and ask “Is it worth it?”
- The days I’ve burned the most calories are not necessarily the days where I’ve had big workouts, but rather the days where I’ve been on my feet all day, walking and walking and up stairs and down stairs. Because of this, I’ve been walking to and from work more often (about three miles each way) as well as taking the stairs more often at work (both up and down) and just getting out and about more, walking around for anything really. (Anyone want to take a walk to the shop? Because I’m going.)
In considering the Fitbit, I also looked at the Nike Fuel Band, but there were two things about the Fuel Band that I didn’t like:
- It’s very obvious because you wear it on your wrist. I wasn’t so keen on the obvious bit.
- Online reviews frequently quoted people who had sat on their couch all day, but had somehow managed to walk three miles. This is because the Fuel Band relies on movements of your arm. Read a book with a Fuel Band on, and apparently you’ve run a marathon.
The Fitbit also tracks sleep quality — I definitely need to get more sleep during the week — and can also track your food intake. (I tend to use My Fitness Pal for that instead though as My Fitness Pal has the best library of food options.)
One thing I dislike about the Fitbit though is that it doesn’t synch with the website and the iPhone app unless I am within 15 meters of my home computer with the Fitbit base station (a USB device) attached. Technologically speaking
So…as of today, I’ll have finished a full two weeks with my Fitbit. I’ve worn it every day and haven’t slacked off one bit. And most importantly, it is making me change my habits. Wish me luck in continuing.
The Fitbit retails for about $100 USD.
P.S. If you too have a Fitbit, we can be friends on the Fitbit site. Add me using my kristainlondon at gmail dot com address.