Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Boomer Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.
You have to love an electronic device that cares enough to remember your name. And you know the relationship is promising when it strives to keep you motivated throughout your weight-loss program without barking like a drill sergeant or Jillian Michaels. For two weeks this month, I’ve dated—er, tested—the FitBit One, an adorable, unassuming little device, no bigger than an eraser, but with the brains of a computer and the heart of a personal trainer who really wants you to do well.
My son is getting married in a month. If there’s to be room for the mother of the groom in the dress that I bought, I should lose at least ten pounds before the wedding. As of this writing, I’ve lost six, and I have two trusty tools in my arsenal to thank for this success: the Digest Diet, a variation of which I’ve gone back on (you can read about my earlier success on the diet here) and the FitBit One.
I discovered the FitBit One when I went to Chicago this summer as a guest of Verizon Wireless and the Verizon Boomer Voices program. I assumed we’d be talking about phones, but that was just the half of it. The good people at Verizon Wireless and Motorola trained us not only on the DROID RAZR MAXX HD, but also on the FitBit One. We learned about other Verizon Wireless devices, too, but that’s another story.
You’ve no doubt heard that the path to great health is walking 10,000 steps each day. Well, FitBit has heard about that, too. Any day that you reach that goal (and I reached it…once), FitBit’s screen lights up with a sort of “atta girl!” message.
FitBit is more than a glorified pedometer, though. It tracks how many calories you burn each day and how many flights of stairs you climb. It also translates the number of steps walked into number of miles traveled. It’s genius, however, is in its ability to sync wirelessly with select computers and mobile devices—Mac or PC.
I downloaded the free FitBit APPs for my iPhone, my iPad, and the DROID I’m still testing. Control central, however, is my laptop, which I’m on every morning. There’s a mysterious little device that comes with the FitBit called a “Dongle.” Don’t ask. You plug that into your computer’s USB port, place your FitBit next to it, and it begins to sync. Once finished, you’re directed to log on to the account you’ve set up on FitBit.com. Check your tallies for the day, and you’ll see your stats appear on the site. Place your FitBit next to your mobile device, and it automatically syncs without your having to lift a finger.
There are bits of data you need to record manually. FitBit is not equipped—not yet, anyway—to miraculously determine what food you’ve eaten, how much of it, or when. But if you’re dieting you’re likely to keep a food log anyway; simply use the food log on the FitBit site. The calories are already programmed for many of the foods you are likely to eat, just enter your portions. Unusual items, like homemade, recipe-specific meals (the foods I prepare for the Digest Diet, for example), must be entered manually, but once you’ve done so they’re saved in your list of foods. Simply start typing to enter and the site’s predictive text brings it right up. Click and your entry is logged.
You can also record such activities as swimming, running, and other forms of exercise. And of course, each morning after you’ve weighed yourself, enter that, too.
Finally, if you’ve ever wondered whether you’re really getting a good night’s sleep, FitBit can tell you. Place it in the wristband that came with it, put it on the wrist of your non-dominant hand, and while you are sleeping, the FitBit records how many times you wake up and how long you’ve slumbered, gauging the efficiency of your sleep. It can even wake you up, if you like. And gently. Just set the alarm.
Since a wedding is prompting me to focus on my weight loss and overall physical health, I propose another perfect union: Digest Diet and FitBit should get married. The two together are simply awesome. (And it would be nice to have my favorite Digest Diet recipes already loaded into the device’s algorithms.)
Now that would be a perfect match.
The FitBit One retails for $99.99 and includes a rechargeable battery. Use of the FitBit website is free, but if you want to participate in FitBit Benchmark, an interactive tool that gives you access to the entire FitBit database, allowing you to track your progress against that of other users, you need to pay an annual premium membership fee of $49.99.