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My Fitbit experience: Lost 27 pounds, gained a lot of questions

Ryan Faas | Aug. 25, 2014
Back in March, I wrote about how Fitbit and Pebble had changed my view of wearable devices, turning me from a skeptic into a promoter. I also wrote about how easy it was for me to to get hooked on activity-tracking as a wellness tool. Although I'd bought my Fitbit to encourage me to be more active, I hadn't really planned on using it specifically as a weight loss solution. I figured I probably would lose some weight, but setting a goal or actively tracking calories wasn't part of my intention, though the Fitbit app does include an excellent database for calorie tracking.

Back in March, I wrote about how Fitbit and Pebble had changed my view of wearable devices, turning me from a skeptic into a promoter. I also wrote about how easy it was for me to to get hooked on activity-tracking as a wellness tool. Although I'd bought my Fitbit to encourage me to be more active, I hadn't really planned on using it specifically as a weight loss solution. I figured I probably would lose some weight, but setting a goal or actively tracking calories wasn't part of my intention, though the Fitbit app does include an excellent database for calorie tracking.

Despite not setting an intention for weight loss, I have lost weight. That wasn't a big surprise. After all, I'm doing more than 15,000 steps and 10 flights of stairs almost ever day — way more than the 6,000 to 7,000 steps a day that I was doing when I first bought my Fitbit Force (which was subsequently recalled and replaced by first a Fitbit Zip and then the more feature-laden Fitbit One). During the past couple of months, with the warm weather, I've actually been exceeding that goal and getting 20,000 steps or more in at least a couple of times a week. Other than that, however, I really haven't made any lifestyle changes, particularly to my diet, although I've always tended to a relatively healthy eater. I honestly assumed I'd lost five or ten pounds at most.

After a recent doctor's appointment, I realized I was wrong. During the visit, I was invited to join the practice's new patient portal. I did so and went poking around the pieces of my medical history that were available including the section of vital signs. I was shocked to discover that since an appointment earlier this year, I'd lost 22 pounds. Over the couple of weeks since, I've lost another four pounds. All totaled, over the past 23 weeks (I resumed using a Fitbit in mid-March), I've lost a total of 27 pounds. That equates to roughly one pound per week, which fits with the general one to two pound per week guidelines for healthy weight loss.

I think there are a couple of interesting takeaways from this. Wearable devices can be an excellent motivational tool, particularly paired with social and reward apps like Every Move. Consistent use of activity trackers and similar fitness and wellness apps can be incredibly effective without making the experience seem like an intrusive effort into daily life. Doing a little bit more every day can add up to significant outcomes.

The value, for me at least, wasn't so much in accumulating aggregate data as it was as a daily motivator. It's useful to have all that data, but for me it really is just the daily awareness of achieving or coming close to a goal.

 

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