I have always wanted something to track my movements throughout the day. Not in the location aware sense but in terms of calories burnt, calorie intake and even to monitor sleep and it became even more prudent recently. As most of you know. I am a skinny guy and I have many failed attempts in the past to try and gain weight. Mostly because I know my weight isn’t particularly healthy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not troubling for now, but it is something that needs to be improved. It is particularly noticeable when I’m stressed as I stop eating all together. I get busy, my mind goes into overdrive and my mind forgets to eat and my body forgets it actually needs food to survive.
“The Internet of Things” is a hot topic at the moment and the prospect of these wearable technologies can be seen as an invasion of our privacy, but if done right and implemented by companies whose business model is not based on selling your information, it can actually be a real asset to your day to day life.
This leads me onto the Fitbit One. Faye bought me one for Valentines day as it is something that I have wanted for quite sometime, but wasn’t prepared to shell out the cash for something that I didn’t particularly need. I did always hold the assumption though that something like the Fitbit would greatly assist in my ability to track the energy I burnt off, and the food that I took in, and hopefully finally convince myself that it’s time to take my health and eating habits a little more seriously.
For anyone who doesn’t know. Fitbit is a small device (approximately thumb drive size) that you can clip to your belt or pocket which tracks your movement. Every you step you take, every flight of stairs and leg jiggle it detects which in turn provides data which can be used to estimate how active and how many calories you have burned during the day. In addition, the Fitbit One provides a wrist band so that you can log how well you sleep during the night. Whether it be you were fast asleep, restless or fast asleep and for how long.
That is a feat in engineering in itself given it’s size and cost of £80 but the bit that really sets it apart is the ease of use of the software it provides. I mainly use the iPhone app which gives you a snapshot of information throughout the day as well as the ability to add some manual information. It uses low power bluetooth 4.0, which is available in most modern smartphones, and syncs with my phone constantly throughout the day, without draining battery life in any real significant way. This then syncs to “the cloud” (awful term but people love it) which allows me to login to the Fitbit website on my computer and look at my stats in more detail. The app allows me to input how many calories I have eaten during Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, including how much I have snacked, water drunk and weight gained. All this information is put into a beautiful interactive graph which can then be analysed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to see the progress that is being made.
My goal is of course to gain some weight but to be very honest that is a long term goal. I have always been cavalier with how I eat. I have always had the luxury to eat little or eat a lot with very little consequence to my short term health. I used to get a little pale and skinnier in the face but my actual body weight barely fluctuated. It’s when your boss starts noticing and thinking you are ill is when you start to worry! So my goal is simple. An upward trajectory. I want to see my average calorie intake progressively increase on a weekly basis over the next 3 months. But not with a huge amount of thought. Just small incremental increases so that it doesn’t feel like a chore. This week it’s been all about having something extra to normal. Just a little. Next week it’s going to be ensuring that I have a snack between breakfast and lunch, and hopefully I will progress nicely using this kind of philosophy which may include exercise and increasing my calorie intake further. Thankfully there is a nice graph to show this too so I can actually ensure that I am sticking to my targets and ensuring that I am eating all my meals.
I have a very specific routine at work which makes it much easier to plan my life style. The bits in red is where I am making improvements at the moment and into future weeks. The green is where I would like to be in the next few weeks.
- Breakfast: Breakfast biscuits
- Breakfast: Latte
- Late breakfast: milkshake/banana
- Lunch: Panini/Origins or Pasty and a chocolate
- Mid afternoon: Latte
- Mid afternoon: piece of fruit, packet of crisps – just something extra
- Dinner: anything really
- Late evening: small chocolate/ice cream
I will let you know how it goes over the next few weeks but also if I hold the same opinion about the Fitbit. It has become, so far, a true companion in my day to day life and looking at my stats I can already see a real benefit to it. This is something that I could’ve always done – but this just makes it easier and most importantly – fun.