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How to lose weight and get in shape with a Fitbit tracker

Updated on January 30, 2013

Being healthy and losing weight has been getting more and more attention for the past years.
Every magazine wants to tell you how to lose 10 pounds in a week, or how to get abs by doing one magical move, once a day.
In all the bigger cities, posters about health and weight loss are not easy to ignore.
And more and more commercials on TV is bringing you the newest low-cal dish, or the cheapest meal-replacement shake, right into your living room.

It can all feel a bit overwhelming.
So many people are chasing the "secret" to weight loss, and it is a shame how it has become a question about how to lose the most the fastest, instead of how to be the healthiest you can be, without the crash diets and extreme exercise programs.

Somewhere in the back off our head most of us know that you just need a bit of exercise and a healthy diet. But it can be hard to start.
Because what is right? When are you eating healthy, when are you not? Did you eat too much today or was it okay?
There is so many informations to research and understand before you can truly lose weight the healthy way, and it can be harsh.

Many people in the western world feel like they have found a way to stay healthy, and so many people is doing that by staying inactive all day, and then spending hours at the gym each night.
I realize it may work for a lot of people to do things that way, but personally I find it to be much more enjoyable to stay active during the day.

And this is where the Fitbit can help you.

Fitbit One
Fitbit One | Source

What is a Fitbit?

A Fitbit is, basically, an advanced form of activity counter/tracker

You wear it on you through the entire day, and it is designed to be able to fit almost everywhere.
It can fit on your pants pocket, you bra, your pants, your shirt.
Most people won't even notice that they have it on.
You can also buy the fitbit flex, that you can wear as a bracelet.
The fitbit is updated through a small bluetooth usb-plug.

While wearing it on you all day, the fitbit keeps track on multiple activity statistics about your day.

  • Amount of steps (And you can calibrate your own steplength if you feel like it)
  • Floors climbed (+ How much the floors add up to. For an example, 24 floors is the same as climbing The La Danta Pyramid in Guatemala)
  • Kilometers/Miles traveled
  • Calories burned (Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) + calories burned, calculated after the amount of steps and floors you have done during the day)
  • Active score (A number that tells you how active you have been all day, starting at zero)

Besides this, your Fitbit will also tell you the time, and you are able to set a silent alarm that will wake you up in the morning with vibrations, instead of sounds.


Statistics
Statistics
Calories burned burned the day
Calories burned burned the day
How much activity during the day
How much activity during the day

The Fitbit website

When you buy a fitbit, you will also sign up for fitbit.com.
On the Fitbit site you'll have your own Fitbit dashboard, where you will be able to see all your statistics for the day (and days before), the week, the month and the year.

In the bottom and the site of this capsule, you can see some photos of how the statistics on the Fitbit site look.

  • Log your food
    - You can log every single item you eat, and your fitbit site will calculate your many calories you have eaten, and also what your macros (protein, carbohydrate and fats) are like for the day. It is also possible to see your sodium, fiber and water intake.

    -With the basic version of fitbit you can also add 1 personalized tracker. In my case I have chosen to track how many grams of caffeine I have during the day.

    - The food log is divided into groups of breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner and "anytime". There is a lot of different foods in the database, and it is also possible to add foods yourself.

    - You can make a food plan, if you want to lose/gain weight, and the fitbit site will calculate how much you will have to eat each day to lose (or gain) your preferred amount of weight.

    - In the end of the day you will be able to see some numbers and statistics of your food during the day, and also how well you stayed inside your calorie range (also considering your amount of activity during the day)

    - Follow your graphs on how much you burned, compared to how much you eat. (NOTICE: No tracker or website will ever be able to calculate exactly how many calories you are burning. It will always be an estimate, but I have found Fitbit to provide you with one of the best estimates you can get, since it is tracking you 24/7)

  • Activities

    The fitbit is great, but it can't log everything. It is not a big sports tracker, because it counts steps, not movement in general, so you can go to the gym and have a hardcore strength-training session, and your Fitbit won't notice. Therefore you can log your own activities, and you Fitbit will add them and the calories burned, to your daily statistics.

  • Weight

    You can log your weight when you want to, and see some graphs of your weight loss during time.

  • Sleep

    With your Fitbit you get a "sleeve" for tracking your sleep (it is included in the box)
    Every night when you are about to enter sleep, you will just slip your Fitbit into the sleeve, strap it on your non-dominant arm, push a button and go to sleep.
    The next day you will be able to see stats on how much you slept, when you slept, and how many times you woke up/tossed and turned during the night.
    You can also see a graph on this.

  • Journal
    You can add personal diary logs, and you can also log your mood of the day, and whether or not you have been suffering from any allergies/sickness

  • Heart
    You can log your resting, normal and exertive heart rate and follow your graphs along the way.

  • Blood pressure
    Same as with the heart rate. Track your blood pressure, if you want to, so you can make sure it stays in the right range.

  • Glucose
    I have not used this one, but you can track your glucose numbers at 3 different times during the day. I can imagine that this will be a very good extra tool for diabetics.


Besides this large range of different things to log, you are also able to get badges and track your best performances, in the different activity trackings.
The Fitbit website is also home to a big big community where you can chat with other Fitbit-people from around the world.
There is also a wide range of different groups, and you can get friends and see how you rank against them.

It is possible to buy premium Fitbit advantages for the cost of 49.99$ a year.
With this you can see even more statistics and graphs on your activity/food/health, get a more detailed sleep report and rank yourself against other people all over the world, and how your health is compared to theirs.
Personally I have not found a need to buy the premium, I am fine and content with the amount of information I have available to me already, without paying extra.

Fitbit Statistics
Fitbit Statistics
Sleep Tracker
Sleep Tracker

Pros and cons of the Fitbit

Pros of the Fitbit:

  • It is very accurate, since it is on you all the time.
  • The size is good and small, and it is not so big that it gets annoying and noticeable
  • The graphs at the Fitbit site are great and informative
  • It is pretty.
  • It can monitor your sleep, which is great. A fun little extra thing.
  • The food tracker on the site is good and have a lot of different options
  • Lots of options. You can always chose to just ignore some of them if you don't need them.

Cons of the Fitbit

  • The Fitbit tracks when you are awake at night, but it is not very accurate. Sometimes I have been having a perfect night of sleep, and the Fitbit will tell me that I was awake 24 times.
  • The Fitbit One is right now sold for just under 99$ at amazon, which for some people will be a lot of money to spend.

Food log
Food log

Personal conclusion

I love my Fitbit, I really do.
I don't need to lose weight, and neither to I need to gain it, and for me it is mostly a fun fitness gadget.
While I am good at getting my runs in, and I bike almost everywhere, I still found that I was really sedentary during the day.
I kept telling myself that it was okay I was sitting down all day, since I went running most nights.

When I got the Fitbit, it really opened my eyes
It is told that 10.000 steps a day should be the perfect recipe for health, weight loss or maintain, and even with running 5-6 days a week I didn't get there most days.
The Fitbit helped open my eyes to the fact that I was actually more sedentary than I thought.
For a while I also used the food tracker, just to get an idea about how my intake was looking, and I found it fun and easy to use.

I think the Fitbit tracker is a great tool, especially if you love gadgets!
If you are "just" looking to lose weight, but can't be bothered with too much tracking and information, I wouldn't buy the Fitbit.
And if you just want a workout tracker, you should get yourself a heart rate monitor or a gps watch instead.

The Fitbit is for people who most of all want to stay active during the day, or people who like to track what they do, and how it affects their health.

Either way, I think it is a good and fun gadget, and I praise the people behinds this little fitness jewel.

And if you decide to go out and get your own Fitbit, I wish you all the best of fun and luck with it!

Fitbit One
Fitbit One | Source

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