My New Little Friend – Meet “Fitbit”

Good evening. It is a wild Saturday night at our house. We just sorted a giant tub of pencils, played a board game together, and now I’m on my computer surrounded by Kleenex and cough drop wrappers. I am feeling pretty miserable with my cold that won’t go away. I’ve had a sore throat for about a week now and my sinuses are angry. I’m over it. WAY over it.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a little about my new toy. My husband snooped around on one of the ‘wishlists’ I keep on our shared calendar/shopping list app and discovered I also wanted a “Fitbit”. This gadget is mostly a pedometer but it also keeps track of things like flights of stairs climbed, miles walked, calories burned and, something I’m very interested in, sleep efficiency. You can read more about the Fitbit on their website. They retail for about $99.
IMG_2990The Fitbit is extremely small and light. I’m worried that I could easily lose it but the little silicone holster seems to be doing a good job so far. Although I usually clip the Fitbit to my pants, it can be worn anywhere on your body – sometimes I even clip it to the inside of my bra. At night, you can take it out of the holster and slip it into a soft bracelet that you wear on your wrist. I have been trying this most nights and have not found it to be uncomfortable. Apparently you can use an app on your phone, iPad, etc. to set a “silent alarm” and the Fitbit will gently wake you up from your sleep by buzzing you on your wrist. I think I’ll try it sometime this week (but use our alarm clock as a backup!) I’ll have to do another post about the information I gather while I’m “sleeping” – I can definitely pin-point my multiple “potty” breaks during the night!

The device talks to anything you have with Bluetooth enabled (iPad, phone, etc.) and/or there is also a little thing you can plug into the USB port on your computer to transmit data. Because of this, you basically have to do nothing to upload your data – it just happens anytime you launch the app. A full charge seems to last at least a week and it just takes a little bit of time sitting on a dock to charge the little tiny battery.

I have barely scratched the surface of all the bells and whistles with this thing. The reason I like this particular unit is that it will, supposedly, sync up with many of the popular fitness and calorie tracking apps out there – MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, etc. I have already started using those and like that I can share the data. Fitbit also seems to have an extensive network of “groups” that you can chat with, compete against, etc. Without much effort, I found a local group in the Phoenix area that shares encouragement, etc. There is a place to track meals, calories, water intake, etc. If you do an activity that might not necessarily register as “steps” (for example: weight training) then you can manually enter that information as well as calories burned, etc.

The ‘standard’ I often hear with pedometers is to try to achieve 10,000 steps per day. I am learning that a typical day for me without going to the gym is about 5,000-6,000 steps. This is quite a bit I think. I am interested to see what happens to that number next week when the kids go back to school and the activities (and laundry!) tick upward even more. A few days last week I was motivated to try to get my Fitbit to the 10,000 step mark so I walked a bunch of laps around the football field while my son practiced. I think this will be my routine … as soon as I shake this nasty cold. I have already found that I will run up the stairs more often just to get more stair climbs registered. IMG_2991Another little cute gimmick is a ‘growing flower’ that measures your activity level for the day – the more active you are, the bigger your flower gets on the Fitbit. Today my poor flower is only about 50% grown since I’ve felt so lousy.

I used to wear a pedometer that linked to the internet – back when that was fairly new technology (and I had 2 babies at home). The company eventually went under and I wasn’t able to see the data any more – but prior to that I was addicted to getting all of my steps in every day. As a busy mom that often feels like I get “nothing” done all day, this gives me a little validation that I did not, actually, sit on the couch all day and eat bon bons (I’m still waiting for that. I thought that was what stay-at-home moms did all day – I was totally misled). I know that if I am sitting at 9,000 steps towards the end of the day, I am likely to go for a quick walk or something just to hit my goal.

If you happen to be reading this and have a Fitbit – or are on any of the other weight/exercise tracking apps (MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, etc.) and want to be “friends”, leave me a comment and we’ll get connected! If you are looking for a little ‘motivation’ to get off the couch and exercise more, so far I recommend my new little friend!

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3 Responses to My New Little Friend – Meet “Fitbit”

  1. Kathy says:

    I have had my eyes on those little gadgets for some time. Thanks for sharing about your experience with it. I think if more of us monitored how many steps we’re taking in a day, we’d actually be more surprised than not.

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  2. I just started Optifast through Kaiser Permanente – I am on week 5 and am closing in on a 20 lb loss! This has changed my life. I mean, Changed. My. Life! So as a reward, I got the Fitbit Flex, which lives on a wrist band. I am hoping it will track the walking I do on my treadmill desk. I put in about 2-4 hours a day walking slowly while I work on the computer, do phone meetings, write, etc. The other pedometers I tried didn’t capture the 1-1.5 mph that is about all I can while actually being productive on the computer. So I have high hopes!
    Do you enter your Optifast meals in the Fitbit food log? I think I will probably wait until we start to include “real” food to use that feature.
    I found your blog by looking for folks like you who are sharing their Optifast journey — and I have really enjoyed reading your posts!

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    • Hi! Thanks for your comment! A treadmill desk? That sounds awesome! Congrats on your weight loss so far – you are off to a wonderful start! I would think the FitBit would capture that pace but I’m not sure. The Flex came out right after I got my FitBit “One” but I hear it is more sensitive so it should do great.
      Personally I use My Fitness Pal as my tracking app for both food and exercise. The FitBit actually interfaces with it quite seamlessly as they have partnered with them (as well as many other food/exercise apps). So, you really don’t have to do anything after you set it up – the FitBit steps automatically show up in the MyFitnessPal and you can deduct (or at least view) any extra calories you have from exercise. I try not to “eat” those calories but it is good to see. My Fitness Pal has all of the Optifast products (and a million more) in the database. If you have a smartphone you can also scan bar codes easily too when you add regular food back in. I really like it!
      Anyway, if you are interested, please make me your “FitBit” friend //www.fitbit.com/user/242BZM (not sure if that will work but you can search for me by my email if not marthamkaiser@gmail.com) or I am marthamk on MyFitnessPal too.
      Keep me posted on your progress! Thanks for the feedback!

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