Over the holidays, I came to the conclusion that my weight was a bit out of control (and not in the playful, “Animal House” sense). Realizing you’re in the top 3 of the fattest people in a room isn’t exactly the sort of gift you expect nor is it one a man holds near and dear to their heart. I needed to change things up, but leaving me in charge of the motivation aspect of this change would surely be met with the least amount of progress possible. As readers of this site, you understand my issues with willpower.
Whether my family was hinting at my substantial weight gain or just thought it was a neat gadget I’ll never know, but my acquisition of a Fit Bit Flex this past Christmas has turned into a surprisingly crucial part of my current weight loss routine.
The Fit Bit line is composed of bracelets that track not only the steps you take throughout the day but also your sleep patterns as well as providing a robust web resource for inputting a wide variety of other weight loss related data (caloric intake, body measurements, etc). As a previous Garmin enthusiast, I felt right at home with the Fit Bit Flex though unlike the Garmin, the barrier of entry for the Fit Bit is much lower. Where as the Garmin is great for experienced runners, the Fit Bit is the perfect tool for those beginning a fitness routine.
For those suspicious of government surveillance and tracking, you’ll be happy to know that the Fit Bit only tracks your movement as opposed to using satellites to monitor the amount of steps you take. It’s obvious their interest is in helping you lead a healthier life instead of filling a gigantic hard drive with your daily routines (not to worry Garmin users, I believe the same goes for you as well). If the government finds anything out about you, it’s that you’re taking the next step in driving down healthcare costs (and fitting into those fashion jeans you’ve been hiding in the back of the closet).
For guys, its tough to look at walking as the first step in losing weight. We’re more or less instructed that lifting weights and running is the manlier thing to do and anything less isn’t worth the time. The problem is, quite a few of us either a.) rush into serious exercise routines without much of a fitness base or b.) give ourselves way too much credit for the exercise we end up getting. For those in category a, we tend to burn out quickly while category b never see results.
What the Fit Bit does is act as a constant monitor of health, praising you with achievements when you’ve had a very active day and shaming you when you’ve done less than you should have. With the included food logs and sleep tracking, you’re able to see the whole picture instead of focusing on the convenient little mistruths we tell ourselves (trust me, walking 2 miles does not earn one the privilege of eating an entire pizza). Including the tablet or smartphone app and you can’t ever escape your goals, which sounds menacing but is very beneficial.
Because it’s lightweight, water resistant and relatively small, the Fit Bit never becomes cumbersome or gaudy which is great for those of us that don’t normally wear watches or other wrist jewelry. It also only needs to be charged once a week, which is also quite convenient.
The device has pretty good accuracy with tracking steps and does a pretty good job of tracking mileage. When comparing the results from my Fit Bit with the same route I walked retraced in Google Maps, it was within about a fourth of a mile above what I actually walked. With my wife’s Fit Bit, it was a bit below, so we determined the actually measurement was somewhere in between. This isn’t too big of a deal for me, but for sticklers and those needing as much accuracy as possible, it may cause some problems down the road.
Another reason why I consider the Fit Bit a launching point rather than a replacement for the Garmin is because it doesn’t have nearly as many features on the actual device since the display is quite simple (it only shows the goal you set for that day as opposed to time, distance, etc). That being said, there is also the Fit Bit Force available that does show more information on screen rather than require you to monitor everything from home. It’s a bit more expensive at 129.95 (the Flex is $99.95), which is less than most Garmin products that do similar things (obviously satellite tracking is going to cost you a bit more). Couple that with their size and ease of use and Fit Bit looks to be the better deal for beginner and moderate fitness enthusiasts.
At this point in time, I’m down about fourteen pounds. While beginning the Paleo diet has been a great addition to my lifestyle (more about that later) having the data from my Fit Bit Flex is just as important to my overall strategy for health. For those starting off a weight loss routine, Fit Bit is definitely a great place to start.