How totes ironical that after linking to the Power Paunch story, I get a nudge from Attendly that a long piece I wrote for them about the Fitbit has just gone live. Here's the opener:
I used to be a fat man. Not Biggest Loser fat, but fond enough of my bakery treats to have spent more than a decade on the wrong side of morbid obesity. It would have killed me eventually.
But about four or five years ago I got rid of most of the weight through a combination of brutal exercise and calorie control. (I know, who’da thunk it?) And since then I’ve (mostly) kept it off.
But it’s a struggle. It’s a hell of a struggle to change the habits of a lifetime in the first place, and even more so not to relapse. So anything which helps keep me out of the bakery and going to the gym, or the dojo, or just walking the damn dog a couple of times a week, is welcome.
That’s why I rushed to embrace the Fitbit earlier this year. It’s why I’m still wearing it right now, even though it’s not a magic device that melts fat and builds muscle like an action movie montage.
So, for those of you unfamiliar with the technology, what the hell am I talking about?
The Fitbit is just one of a whole bunch of wearable gizmos — digital pedometers really — which have been selling like the hotcakes I shouldn’t be eating anymore. I can’t speak to the usefulness of competitors like Nike’s FuelBand because I’ve never used them, but I’ve been wearing my Fitbit since getting it last Christmas. It’s basically a small black lozenge-shaped device, a little smaller than your little finger. You can slip it into your pocket, or put it in a clip-on holder and attach it to a piece of clothing. Your jeans pocket, a bra strap, whatever. It measures not just the number of steps you take, but the intensity of your movement. There’s also a quite sophisticated altimeter to keep track of the number of floors you have climbed—(although ‘floor’ is really just an estimate).
As somebody who works in front of a screen all day I can attest to the accuracy of the Fitbit in tracking how much energy I burn—or don’t. On days when deadlines see me slumped in front of my keyboard, it lets me know all about my complete lack of mobility.