"Everyone knows the more you wear pearls, little by little they become real....And isn't it the same with memories?" - The Madwoman of Chaillot

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up - and Fitbit One - they all work!

For several days I wore all three - Fitbit One, Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up  - I did several walks of known length, and compared daily totals as well as looked at number of steps recorded during specific activities.

Most of the time, but not 100%, the Fitbit Flex gave a higher number of steps, the Jawbone Up gave a lower number and the Fitbit One was in between. For the first 3 days that I wore all three - I had totals of:

Fitbit One - 16109
Fitbit Flex - 16508
Jawbone Up - 16015

Looks incredibly consistent although for specific activities I got differing results. I guess it just all evened out and I think depends a lot on what your daily activities are.

During a 1/2 mile walk, I got the following (did it twice on different days). This walk was taken while walking my dog so that probably gave some variation. But the Fitbit One was definitely higher than the other two and the Jawbone lower.

FitBit One - 1874 and 1796
Fitbit Flex - 1680 and 1719
Jawbone Up - 1610 and 1533

During days when I was in the car a lot and walking less, I got higher amounts on the Fitbit Flex and Jawbone Up - not enough to say it was recording the drive as steps, the total steps were not unreasonable but the One was lower during these time periods. Also while doing weight machine arm exercises, I got more steps recorded with both the Flex and the Up - which makes some sense as they are worn on the arm.

After 3-4 days I stopped wearing the One and compared only the Flex and Up.

For 11 days, the totals were quite a bit higher for the Flex - the last 5-6 days I did a lot less walking so perhaps that's the reason. I don't know the algorithms used to determine steps so only guessing. The Up was 12% lower after 11 days.

Flex - 66, 728 and Up 58,999

I think it doesn't matter so much as long as the one you use is consistent. My only difficulty over number of steps  - and with dropping the Flex is that my husband uses a One and we compete for most steps :)

Sleep was much better recorded by the Up compared to my memory of each night. The One does a reasonable job of sleep but the Flex often said I was sleeping or only restless when I was actually up and moving around.

Usability is different too - the Up only needs charging about every 10 days, the Flex is more like 5-6 days and takes longer to charge. The Flex is a little difficult to put on (only necessary after charging) and the Up is easy but you have to do it every time you want to sync - no bluetooth!

Preliminary conclusion is that since I have them both, I'm going to continue with a bracelet on each arm... trying the Up on my dominant arm because I think arm swinging is important for it and I can't swing my left arm on walks as the dog is usually dragging on it! Oh, and if you don't want a "bracelet", the One is still a great option - works on a pocket or bra. I just don't like using it that way as much myself.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Fitness trackers - Compare Fitbit - Fitbit Flex - Jawbone Up

We've been using fitbit for awhile - both my husband and I. Earlier post I mentioned 3M's new discount on medical insurance - and using the Withings scale from my last posts and the Fitbit would effortlessly take care of two requirements out of three! And cost less than the discount gives you - plus you end up with a scale and a fitness tracker that will help you get your exercise and weight loss program on track!

The great thing about the Fitbit is that it links right into the LoseIt app I use for logging foods - so I get a good pictures of how active I've been (how many calories I've USED) so I know how many I can eat!  My early approach when I was losing weight was to not eat unless I'd logged an activity that would balance the calories I wanted to eat - it actually worked VERY well.

Very recently Fitbit put out a new device - the FitBit Flex - which I am currently testing along with the Jawbone Up - both shown below with the current FitBit.

More on how that testing is going next.

Fitbit One

Fitbit Flex

Jawbone UP

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lose It - the power of technology and keeping a food diary - and losing a lot more weight!

So after deciding to get serious about losing weight - being faced with my Withings scale telling me my weight every day - I looked into iPhone apps. I had tried back in the 60's and 70's to keep a food diary but what a pain when you had to write it down and try (usually in vain) to find the particular food in a little book showing the amount of calories in foods.

Current research shows that people who keep a food diary lose a lot more weight than those who don't - its time to get started!

BUT now we have such a better way. I've tried a lot of them - I'm never satisfied, always looking for something new, something more fun, cuter, whatever. I settled on the iPhone app Lose It. It works well and has nice graphics (ok, I like that). Its now also out for Android phones. They've published a book, added bar code reading, its used by at least some of your friends most likely.  As I said I've tried others before and since and still stick with this one as having most of the features I could possibly want.

Here's how it works - for each day (and it can be done after the fact), click on Add Food - either search foods by name, by ones you've previously used (a shorter list), or add a whole previous meal, say if you've had the same breakfast every day. It also has grocery store processed foods brands and restaurant menus.

OR just scan the barcode with your phone and it knows all the nutritional information. If you can't get the exact thing, I just go with something close, that works...

You get credit for a lifestyle based number of calories used based on whether you say you are sedentary, very active or inbetween. Then you add any exercising you do above that level.

The way I used this to lose weight was I didn't allow myself to eat more calories if my food so far was over budget for the day - I'd go do some exercise to earn it. This actually worked if I was honest and stuck to it!!

Withings scale links to this so LoseIt always knows your weight - easy as can be!

Now I link to my fitness tracker and it adds in the extra for me - at least by the end of the day when I've earned more than my base level.

THis app is even easier than I made it sound and I WHOLEHEARTEDLY recommend it!!

Don't have a smart phone? Its OK - this is also on the website Loseit.com - you can enter everything there and look at all the pretty information - join groups, set challenges to compete with others, set goals just for yourself - so much its amazing.

See links below to the apps and book - next post is on my use and testing of fitness trackers.

Lose It iPhone App (free)

Lose It Android App (free)

Lose It Book - also Kindle edition

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fitness trackers - Weight tracker - Food tracker - which ones are best? 3M Health Plan discount - Withings Scale Review

I've been using these technology driven attempts to encourage better eating, weight loss and better fitness for a couple of years. But it became even more important to us this year when 3M, my husband's employer started offering a discount on health insurance for employees who use them.  I decided to take the time and expense to test out several and try to make good decisions on what was the best to follow for now - if not the rest of my life - I'm sure there will be new toys on the horizon...

  The journey began in fall 2009 - 3 1/2 years ago. I lost about 10 lbs before a trip to Italy because we were planning to carry our clothes in backpack suitcases and I wanted to be able to walk at least as well as I could before with only "me" to carry. We packed light.... but after 3 weeks in Italy I had gained back about five pounds...

I often thought I should put a weight chart on the bathroom wall because I usually forgot what I had weighed the last time I looked... only I wasn't sure I wanted it there for everyone to see and just never got around to it. But our lives changed for the better when we bought a Withings Scale - that wirelessly sends our weights to the internet for viewing on our computers or iPhones. No escaping it now! It was a huge positive step. Rather than worry about each daily change, we could look at trends and we had to face which way they were going without rationalizing or guessing or pretending... Here's the scale we have used for 3 years now and LOVE! It remembers each person and keeps them separate without entering who it is - IF your weights are distinct enough. Luckily my husband weighs 40 lbs more than I do!

You can access your scale from www.withings.com or from a smart phone app.

Here's my first year with the scale - and I give about 33% credit to the scale, 33% credit to another app, and 33% credit to my working harder at cooking better meals.

And if seeing your weight change isn't enough - it also tells you body fat % at least to what seems like a fairly consistent measurement - mine went down as weight went down... and that was a positive for sure! Also calculates BMI.

And the scale wasn't the only things telling the tale - but it really did motivate me.  Here are 2010 summer pictures


And Fall of 2011

Next up - the other secret - Lose It! And our move into fitness trackers...
Here's where you can buy the Withings Scale