Wendy Damonte Tests out the Fitbit – and Learns a Lot
My husband hates going to the airport with me. He has to listen to me grunt and groan as we walk through the crowds. I’m always appalled at how obese Americans are now-a-days. I know I shouldn’t be. After all, the latest statistics put the obesity rate around 60 percent. But still, when you see it right in front of you, it’s tough to witness. It actually makes me sad.
So a few years ago, I decided to put my sadness to work. I created a running club for an elementary school in my county. I started doing speaking engagements to try and bring about more awareness. I dedicate my Health Watch segment at my TV station to obesity stories as often as possible.
And for the last two weeks, I’ve done something more. I’ve tested a Fitbit Flex so I could hopefully help motivate others to start moving their bodies more.
For those unfamiliar with Fitbit, it’s a bracelet. But it’s a really smart bracelet. It tracks how many steps you take, how many calories you burn, how long you sleep, how long it takes you to fall asleep and how many times you’re restless while you sleep!! The fact that one tiny, and pretty hip looking, device can do all that totally amazes me.
Ok, here’s the scoop. Most people try to take 10,000 steps a day. My average was 6,000. Dang it! That proved to me I have to work out every single day to get to 10,000. A good push for me! It also told me something interesting about my nutrition. I don’t eat enough. By the end of the week, I was at an 8,000 calorie deficit. That’s really bad for me… well anyone!
If you want to stay active and lose weight, current science says we have to eat enough! My body is holding on to every fat cell it can because I’m feeding my primal self’s fear of dying from lack of food. The Fitbit was really helpful for me in this department.
It also opened my eyes about the amount of sleep I get. I get a lot! More than 8 hours a night. But during that time, I’m restless on average 11 times and it takes me 19 minutes to fall asleep. Pretty cool info!
But it’s not perfect, here’s what I didn’t like about the Fitbit. I bike and swim several times a week. Since the Fitbit is based on steps taken, all of those workouts don’t show up (except for minutes of activity and calories burned). So I work out for two hours a day and don’t get a single credit on my steps. Kind of a bummer.
For people like me who work out a lot and are working on their fitness level and not just trying to get into shape, I don’t know that the Fitbit is ideal. However, for someone who is right off the couch and doesn’t know where to begin, this gadget really will make a huge difference in their life. Renown Dietician, Lynice Anderson, agrees. “Any carrot that’s going to get people to want to move or inspire people to move more is a good thing. So for people who are looking for the next thing that’s going to motivate them the Fitbit really can do that.” I completely agree.
Here’s an interesting side note: I let my 8 year old son wear the Fitbit for a day. He went to school, came home and did chores and went to bed. That’s it. No sports practices on this day. He took 19,000 steps!!! That just goes to show you how active children are. Now if we could all just act like kids, gadgets like Fitbit wouldn’t be necessary!