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Fitbit

Oh man, what a week.  This month is crazy and packed with activities.  Last weekend we went to Las Vegas for an attorney trip.  This weekend I’m planting my garden and I rented a 400mm f/2.8 lens from BorrowLenses.com, the same company where I rented the lens in San Francisco a few months ago.  All other weekends for the next month have more activities and work is so stressful right now.  I’m really excited about the lens and I should embrace all the activities, but it’s making me twitchy to think about all the stuff I need to get done in the middle of the chaos.  So onto a different topic!

As a patent attorney I need to keep up with all the latest technology, which makes this a dream job.  One area where technology and my own interests dovetail nicely, is in fitness.  As I think I’ve mentioned briefly, I’ve been trying to lose weight for awhile.  My job is very sedentary and when we moved to Utah I went from working in an area with no restaurants and no way to eat unhealthy food to being in the center of a town with excellent food options.  Just exercising and attempting to diet for the past year was helping me maintain my weight but not lose, so I bought a Fitbit.

 

 

The Fitbit is a little device that straps onto your clothing and it includes a pedometer and an altimeter.  The reason it’s so amazing, though, is that it’s combined with an excellent user interface for tracking all your activity and your calories.  The key to successful products involving the internet is having slick GUIs and this case is  no exception.  I’ve used a lot of applications where you can enter your calories and your activities, but they don’t give you any historical data.  In the picture above you can see how much I’ve walked for the past month.  The default goal on the FitBit is to his 10,000 steps a day, which is about 5 miles.  I’ve treated this like a minimum, because losing weight requires me to walk at least 15,000 steps and have a diet restricted to 1,200-1,500 calories.

 

In the image above you can see that I’ve been doing pretty well at burning more calories than I consume.  The one exception there came from when we were in an attorney meeting in Las Vegas for the whole morning and then went to a buffet for dinner.  It turns out that crabs legs are very caloric!

 

To lose a pound of fat, you have to burn 3,500 calories.  That means to lose two pounds a week you have to have a deficit of 1,000 calories a day.  If you don’t want to limit yourself to a 1,200 calorie meal, you can simply be more active.  For $50 a year, you get access to their premium service, which tells you about your historical food consumption and compares you with other users.  The above picture shows you that I’ve been pretty good at maintaining the 1,000 calorie a day deficit.

 

 

I really like the comparison with other users because I’m ridiculously competitive and I’m more motivated by seeing that I’m in the 95th percentile for the number of steps I’ve taken this week.  Take that, Fitbit users!

 

 

There’s also a sleeping component that I found helpful for getting insight into my sleep cycles.  You strap the Fitbit onto a wristband and it measures your activity during the night.  As you can see, I move in my sleep a lot.  On the nights where I felt like I slept horribly and I didn’t get nearly enough sleep I was much less active.  So I guess all this activity means I have really awesome dreams.

 

So far I’ve lost about 10 pounds in a month, which makes this a very successful product.  The most helpful part was being aware of how many calories I consume in a day.  A 1,200 calorie diet means having coffee and yogurt for breakfast, a salad for lunch, fruit for an afternoon snack and a healthy dinner.  I usually eat closer to 1,500 calories because I love those Chipotle burritos!  Last night I got my dinner there down to 550 calories by skipping the rice, corn and sour cream.  The tortillas alone are 290 calories!!!  And so delicious, mmm.

 

 

The other illuminating aspect of using the Fitbit is seeing how ridiculously sedentary I am during working days.  In the chart above you can see that I biked to work around 8, I used the bathroom or got water about every hour or two, I biked home around 7 more slowly than I biked in the morning (as indicated by the yellow color) and I worked out for about an hour starting at 10pm.  So if you too want to lose weight all you have to do is eat almost nothing and exercise for almost two hours every night!  Kidding.  Except not really.  Where’s my chocolate cake?  Here’s hoping that I can keep this up until July, which is when the Fitbit expects me to meet my weight loss goal.

 

 

2 Responses to “Fitbit”

  1. Tiffany says:

    I had a Chipotle yesterday…

    10lbs in a month is a lot, especially for someone who is already thin!!!!! You have amazing perseverance, but don’t wither away!

    FitBit tracking is pretty thorough; it’s interesting (and a bit creepy) that you can see your sleep movement.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I won’t wither, don’t worry. I gained weight since moving to Utah so I’m just trying to get back to a reasonable weight.