First off, the Fitbit Flex is not a magic wand that will make you slim and slender over night without any effort on your part. It does, however, help you track your calorie consumption and expenditure (among other things), which ultimately helps you achieve better results. Since most people struggle with understanding what is causing their weight gain or lack of success with weight loss efforts, the Fitbit Flex can be a real eye opener in terms of which habits are keeping or making you fat.
Calories in vs. calories out
The basic notion to successful weight loss and weight management is, of course, that you eat less calories than you burn. Otherwise, your body has no choice but to store the unused calories as fat, and guess what happens then– your waste line expands a little bit more every single day.
This is where the Fitbit Flex comes in: by tracking your daily steps it can estimate how many calories you are burning. That information in itself won’t help you much unless you are also manually tracking what you eat (either via the Fitbit app or on the Fitbit website). Don’t worry about calorie counting or figuring out how many calories each food has since Fitbit has all that info and will calculate it for you. All you need to do is log everything you consume. The app will then let you know if you are ‘in the zone’ or ‘over budget.’ This will help you make any necessary adjustments, as for example, opt for a light dinner if you went overboard with a burger at lunch. Or maybe just eat a little less the next day.
By logging your food daily you will quickly learn which kind of foods are calorie-monsters, so to speak. Naturally, you will also notice that you can get more nutrition for your calories with healthy food choices like salads, veggies and protein. But the bottom line is to avoid eating more calories than you burn each day.
While the sleep tracker feature is completely optional, the importance of a good night’s rest cannot be overstated. Without adequate amounts of sleep, your body cannot function properly. Research has also shown that lack of sleep leads to higher amounts of the stress hormone cortisol in your system, which in turn results in fat storage and weight gain.
Using the sleep tracker can make you more aware of things and habits that have a negative impact on your sleep patterns. For example, if you have a few beers one night and discover the next day that you woke up several times during the night or were more restless than usually, then you could cut down on your beer consumption to improve your sleep.
Activity Log/Daily Calorie Needs
You can also log any other activities, such as working out, gardening, biking, etc. manually via the Fitbit app or on the Fitbit website. This will help you adjust your nutrition to your daily calorie needs instead of just guessing. It is vital for good health and fitness progress that your body gets the nutrients and energy it needs to avoid the breakdown of muscle tissue. In other words, on days when you do weight training, for example, you should focus on eating a protein rich diet and make sure to increase your calories according to the amount of calories you burnt during your workout.
Since it is recommended to drink at least 64 ounces of water daily for good health, the Fitbit app helps you track your water consumption. But you have to log each bottle or glass of water manually.
When you first get your Fitbit Flex tracker, you need to register on the Fitbit website and create a profile with your stats (age, weight, height, goal weight). Your Fitbit dashboard will then calculate and display your daily goals and actual stats for pounds left to lose, calories burned so far, calories left to eat, water consumption, and whether or not you are in the zone or above or below budget. The same goes for the Fitbit app on your smartphone, which synchs with your tracker via WiFi. The app actually tells you a little more by giving you daily goals for steps, calories and active minutes that are calculated based on your weight loss goal, height and age.
Keep in mind that tracking of steps and sleep is automatic, but you have to tap the tracker twice to turn the sleep mode on and tap it again when you wake up. The sleep tracker measures restlessness and how often you wake up based on your movements.
As long as you log your food, activities and water consumption manually, the Fitbit Flex can be a very powerful tool in helping you get your daily calories under control to achieve weight loss or maintain your current weight.