Confession: I am a Software Developer and I do not move much.
My wife had gotten a FitBit and was loyally using it. She offered to let me where it for a day which I did not do, but rather I told her that I am pretty certain I walk at least 10,000 steps a day easily ( FitBit suggested target ). She had purchased one for me and boy was it an eye opener; I was very immobile. In a given day I was lucky to get between 3,000 and 4,000 steps in a day and that is while walking two blocks to the car. My day was made up of limited walking around the house, 15 minute walking to the office and back to the car again in the evening. The rest of the time I was motionless in my chair at work typing on a keyboard and motionless at home either watching the TV or typing on a keyboard. I found that I was not fit at all.
Time for a transformation, but not too drastic.
I started walking 10,000 steps per day, seven days per week. The first week was while I was on vacation which seemed easy. You would think walking Canada’s Wonderland you would get it easily – nope! The second problem I ran into was I had forgotten my running shoes at home and I was spending time 4 hours from home for a week. I was doing 10,000 steps in sandals ( glad they were not flip-flops ). First chance I had when we were in town was to buy a pair of decent shoes. This was my first lesson – Listen to my feet and treat them well.
Now that I had my 10,000 step routine down, I needed to step up my game. Calorie counting… This is another piece to the FitBit experience. I tried it for a few days and found the FitBit food dictionary to be very limited. I tried MyFitnessPal and discovered that they had a much more extensive food dictionary and it was easier to use. Best thing yet was that MyFitnessPal worked very well with the FitBit. Everything worked well until… I discovered that I am limited to 1640 calories per day. 1640 calories was based on the fact I was male, my height, my weight, my age and my goal weight. Everything is scientifically figured out so that I did not have to think. 1640 calories means I have to really plan my meals and the slightest slip can throw my day’s count into a spiral. Parties and vacations have proven the most difficulty, but I am getting at planning it.
Since doing this from middle of June until September I have lost almost 5 pounds… doesn’t seem much, but I am feeling great. My shirts fit better, I have a little more energy and I have seen much more in my walks than I have seen in the time living at my current residence. I had been missing a lot.
If I were to recommend anything, this is what I would recommend…
- Don’t use FitBit by itself. Use something like MyFitnessPal to compliment the activity tracking
- Do it with a friend or two as it makes it more fun.
- Use the barcode scanner in MyFitnessPal to log your food – it is way easier
- Have extra bands – wearing the same one is boring and it can get a little smelly
- Track your sleep – sleep is very important to overall health and believe it or not; it can help lose weight
- I save my extra calories that I earn through activities for the night I go out with friends or want a beer. Try not to use them.
- Use the badges that you get from FitBit as goal. It makes it more fun (I had recently got the London Underground badge).
- Don’t compare yourself with friends. They won’t like it and you will not have fun. Comparing yourself makes additional stress.
- Set some alarms in your FitBit to remind you to get up and walk. I walk the stairs in my office building two times per day.