Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I am in love with my FitBit Ultra.  A FitBit is a teeny tiny pedometer, but calling it just a pedometer is like calling Romeo & Juliet a play.  It is, but also much more.

The happy little black gizmo is about the size of my finger, and can be clipped onto your waistband, or stuck in a pocket or even a bra.  It's much less conspicuous than any other pedometer i've ever tried, which i admit, was a concern.  I may be geeky and overweight, but i try to draw attention to neither of those things!  It tracks your steps, flights of stairs (and hills), calories burned, distance traveled and gives you the time.  All of this you can see by pressing the little button on the unit itself, or when it syncs to the website via wireless connection when it is 15' or less from the base station.

It took a little adjusting to get my mileage more accurate to my runs, initially it was overestimating my stride, and i still would like to go to the track to get some more accurate measurements, but in due time.  I've now used it for several walks, walk/runs and even a hike and found it was quite accurate.  It's been a great motivation to do a little more throughout the day, and even helped me do my chores!  If i am 'short' on my daily goals, i will walk around the house putting things away to collect steps and flights of stairs.  It's amazing how sedentary i am during the day at the office and how active i can be by just simple things like cooking, cleaning and having fun!  Even shopping suddenly turns into a mental game of how i can get in a few more steps.

For years i've heard the lines about park further away from your destination, use the further copier, and other little tricks to get more activity in your day, but never really thought hard about how they actually have an effect.  It's 20 seconds, right?  Wearing a pedometer has turned those little things into something numeric, and therefore more real for me.  Because i have a goal to work towards each day, i am inspired to try those small changes, rather than see them as something nice, but not important.

I also feel that by using the fitbit i am more accurately tracking my calories, because some days i am very active at work and other days not so much.  It's helpful for me to know what an office day looks like so i can find other ways to be active.  Similarly, when i am more active, i can balance that with a lighter workout for balance.

Although i don't know how accurate it really is, you can also use it to track your sleep.  By wearing it on your wrist (it comes with a wristband), it will track your movement and create a report of how long it took you to fall asleep and how often you woke up.  This has been very helpful for nights where i have had trouble sleeping and noticing patterns in my sleep habits.

Because it syncs with tools i am already using, primarily LoseIt and RunKeeper, it also is particularly useful.  Unlike a traditional pedometer, i don't have to enter anything.  Each time i sync, Lose It adjusts my exercise calories and tells FitBit what i've eaten.  There is a huge list of apps and sites that work with FitBit's API, and i suspect it'll keep growing.

Overall, i love this little gadget and think it will continue to be a great tool on my weight loss journey!

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