Let’s just get one thing straight: losing weight is difficult. There are highs and lows, plateaus, and fluctuations. Regardless of how regimented you attempt to be, there will be days when the going gets tough—and it can sometimes be difficult to get out of that slump.
With a Fitbit device, all of the frustrations associated with the highs and lows, the plateaus, and the fluctuations will be put into a larger perspective and, more often than not, cease to exist.
Fitbit: What it is
Founded in 2007, Fitbit has gained a steady following from its San Francisco headquarters, especially in the last year. As stated on its website, the company’s philosophy focuses on three factors: (1) everyday steps add up to big impact, (2) stay connected, stay motivated, and (3) make health a habit one day at a time. Based on these three principles, Fitbit offers three devices to help achieve these goals, ranging in price from $60 to $130. This review will focus specifically on the Fitbit Zip, the $60 option released in September 2012; the Zip has many features, including the ability to track calories burned, steps and distance, and is sweat, rain and splash-proof.
The Zip is so small that you can wear it without it being visible to your family and friends (although you should never be worried about taking steps to be healthier). Most women attach the zip to their bras, which may seem like a hinderance, but you will nearly forget that you’re wearing it.
Along with the standard features of showing calories burned, steps and distance, you can also sync your Fitbit Zip with an online profile on the site. When you create a profile online, you can track your food, exercise other than all those steps, and your overall weight loss. The package with your Fitbit will contain a small hookup to your laptop that allows you to sync your Fitbit with your online profile anytime, anywhere.
The food tracking system on the Fitbit online profile is incredibly helpful for not only calorie counting, but also seeing a breakdown of your daily intake of salt, fat, and sugar. Based on whichever program you choose to lose weight with on the online program—based on how many calories you believe you can burn per day, ranging from 250 to 1000 calorie deficit—the program will show you how many calories you can have per day based on what you’ve burned thus far and what you want to burn. This system also shows you when your prospected weight goal will be attained, making it that much more imperative for you to be diligent.
Much like any online food journal/calorie counting system, however, this one does have it’s flaws. Not all of the food you eat will be in this system, which can be agitating when you’re attempting to log in calories while in a rush. Also, it is difficult to fully ascertain the amount of calories you eat everyday when you may eat out a lot. This shouldn’t be burdensome for those who frequent large chains like Subway, Chipotle or Starbucks, but it is much more difficult when you’re visiting local restaurants. A final problem with this system is that is can sometimes show somewhat ridiculous numbers. For instance, if you are especially sedentary for one or two days out of the week, the system can say that you haven’t burnt enough calories for your goal, which leads to looking at outside sources to clarify your TDEE and BMR.
Similarly to the food tracking part of the online profile, you can also track your daily exercise online. By simply searching for and selecting your exercise—whether it be running, elliptical, or weight-lifting—you can add in the amount of time you exercised (with a starting time for accuracy), and the optional options of calories burned and miles. However, these latter two areas are not necessary (and usually inaccurate already), so Fitbit will calculate your calories burned itself. Besides, the website has your statistics; workout machines typically do not ask for them.
There are some issues with this tracking system as well. Sometimes it is difficult to fully log in what you did at the gym because you add in various random things, like jumping jacks or having difficult weights on different weight machines. Hence, it appears that the “calories burned” logged from here are not altogether accurate either, making the food tracking a bit more difficult to adhere to as well.
Overall rating: 3
While a great device, there are obviously some kinks to be worked out. However, that doesn’t mean you should completely write off the Fitbit system. This program is one of the best you can find and, while the initial price for the device is a bit high, it will definitely pay itself back in the future.
Again, we all must remember that weight loss takes time and effort, and no program is going to give you immediate or full results. So take your time, be diligent and get active!