Monday, June 11, 2012

I Luv the Fitbit

As many of my software colleagues, I'm a do we say it...robust, big boned, a little on the bigger side.  OK, I admit it I'm kind of fat.  What makes it worst is that I'm short and fat so it's really quite an attractive sight.  In any case, I may be shrinking soon.  I just purchased the Fitbit Ultra and the Fitbit Aria Scale.    The Fit Bit Ultra is a cool gadget that fits in your pocket and records your steps, calories burned, activity, flights of stairs, miles walk and sleep.   The Aria Scale does what you expect.  It measures your weight and % Body Fat but the cool thing is that it updates your stats wirelessly over WiFi.   I know what you're thinking.  You dummy you can buy analog tools that do exactly the same thing at less than half the price and I know thats all true but I still love my Fitbit.  The problem is I had some of those pedometers and other gadgets but none of them had a cool website where all of this data is collected.  Fitbit is a start-up in San Francisco and they went to the Steve Jobs school of product development and realized that it's the entire end-to-end experience that matters and not just the individual components of the system.  Sure other products can log your steps but not all of them have a great website where all of this information is stored.  And more importantly, not all of them have the tracking, goal setting and goal keeping tools that Fitbit does.   Plus the fitbit gadgets update the website wirelessly and in a hassle free manner.  The Fitbit Ultra has a base station that can communicate wirelessly to the fitbit so if you're 15 feet from your base station then the stats from your fitbit will automatically get updated to the website.

A number of people at work have bought the Nike FuelBand product which is very cool as well and they like it.   I decided to go with the fitbit because it said it tracks your sleep and also measures going up and down stairs which it does.  I actually use both of these quite a bit since I have stairs in my house and I do sleep.  However, what I learned via my fitbit is that I don't sleep enough.  To measure sleep you attach the fitbit to an wrist band.  There is a little hole in it where you put the fitbit.  You hold down the fitbit button and it starts timing your sleep.  When you wake up, just hold down the button again and it will stop.  It measures how well you sleep and how often you wake up.  I'm not sure it's accurate enough to be used for Sleep Apnea studies but I can tell you that the days that fitbit tells me I slept crappy are the days I feel really tired so it's accurate from that perspective.

The best thing about fitbit is that it has actually made me care about the calories I eat and the exercise I get each day to offset those calories.  I now track all the calories I eat each day religiously.  Fitbit has a food logging module but it's not very good.  I just started using My Fitness Pal on my iPhone and iPad to log in my daily caloric intake.  The best thing about My Fitness Pal is that it has a lot of the food you eat built in to it's database.   Including popular menu items at lot of the fast food and big chain restaurants so you can quickly get calories for when you eat out and we eat out a lot so that's a pretty important feature.  Even cooler is that you can take a photo of the bar code for packaged goods in your home and My Fitness Pal will automatically input the calories, sodium and fat content into the system.  I tried 5 different things in my house and the bar code worked every time from Organic Cut Baby Carrots to the Rotisserie Chicken we bought at Whole Foods.  Very cool.

It's been a few weeks of use and I'm still doing stupid things like watching TV Shows on my iPad and walking around the dining room table just so I can up my step count.  Absolutely weird to watch but it works!  I'm on the easy plan to lose 20 pounds so I don't have to starve myself but I've already lost 3 pounds.

In conclusion, it may have cost me a pretty penny to buy these gadgets but possibly because they are electronic toys that connect to the Internet, I'm totally focused on hitting my step and activity scores to earn badges and hopefully to eventually lose some weight.  It's worth every penny.

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