Every morning I have the same routine – get up around 7 or 8 am and go pee (oh, stop. You do the same thing.) I then scan through my email and delete all the crap I don’t/won’t want to read (like all the bullshit pitches about yet another app just like Pinterest), and then step on my Withings scale, which syncs with my Fitbit. As I go on through the day, my Fitbit counts all the steps I take (which add up to around 20,000 – I walk around 6-7 miles), and my free C25K is now helping me train to run more than 30 seconds without wanting to die. I also use Myfitnesspal to easily figure out how many calories I’m eating, and I sometimes simultaneously use Runkeeper when I walk outside since it syncs with Gym Pact, which pays me about $4 a week to workout.
Whew. That’s a lot of technology.
And you know what? It works. By counting calories, steps, miles, using devices to accurately weigh me and using programs that help train me to be a better me, I’ve lost 20 pounds since April. (This is weight I gained as a result of reverting to an unhealthy lifestyle and making a few other poor choices around this time last year. It adds up fast, people.)
Today, while scanning through my email while going pee, I found out that FitBit announced an update to their lineup, which will now feature devices that automatically sync via bluetooth to smartphones (like the Nike Fuel Band already does.) This will only make it easier to automatically see how many calories I have burned, and how many I can eat (or not) to keep on my plan to lose about 2 pounds a week. (Right now, you have to sync the device via USB, which can be annoying – especially if you aren’t at your computer at all during the day, but still want to stay on track.)
Could I be losing this weight without technology? Sure.
In 2008, I had also found myself with a need to lose some weight – not as much as now, but I looked much worse due to food allergies I didn’t know about yet (read: really bloated. I looked heavier than I was, which was really hard to push through mentally.) I used an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of calories in, and calories out, and to mark my daily weight. Not much different than what all these fancy smancy apps are doing now – but thanks to excel, I didn’t have to crunch the numbers, either. Technology was still on my side then, too – but with a calculator, i still could have done it with pencil and paper.
Losing weight is simple. There are dozens of “programs” that turn it into what I’ll call “fuzzy math” – but it’s really simple. I eat a TON every day – a ton of veggies, fruits, coffee and things that FILL ME UP, never leave me hungry and allow me to get a ton of shit done. I actually feel better now than I have…well, ever. (For those who are curious, I basically follow the paleo guidelines – but only because my allergies force me too, and rice is so carb-dense and lacking nutrients I’m hungry 2 minutes after I stop eating, so I choose to fill up on other things, like denser veggies and lots of water…..tho I will have pho once in awhile, and sushi is a staple.)
If you want to lose weight, do 2 things, right now: figure out how much weight you want to lose realistically, and then figure out what tools you need. There are dozens and dozens of apps that you can choose from. Do you need to count the calories you consume? The calories you burn? Do you need training programs? Do you need a motivational program (like Gym Pact?) Do you need pen and paper? Do you need to call a friend?
You have choices – and you’re going to need to keep making them every day. They might change. One app doesn’t do it for me. It’s easier for me to easily figure out how many calories I ate with MyFitnessPal’s massive database and then add them into FitBit, where most everything is centralized. I have to use RunKeeper for now to make a few bucks off this whole process with Gym-Pact. Runkeeper doesn’t have great training programs – but C25K is phenomenal. See where I’m going? You gotta figure out what you need to use to make the right decisions. You might not use any of these apps. You might just decide Weight Watchers is easier, join their program and use their app.
My favorite kinds of apps and startups are those that solve problems. And let’s face it – being overweight can be a really big problem – and usually it’s nearly impossible to know where to start. Knowing your goals – and how you’re going to get there – is a critical first step.
I’ve thrown out about a dozen ideas of where you could start. If you’ve already started – what are your ideas? And if you haven’t, let me know where you are going to start. I’d love to know how technology is helping others improve their lives and lose weight.