I stepped on the scale this morning as I have done nearly every morning to gauge how my hard work has paid off. I was shocked. I have hit a major milestone in my weight loss. I have moved in a slow and steady downward trajectory for months now. Today I passed below 350 pounds. Yes, I used to weigh more than 350 pounds, at my heaviest quite a bit more. 1
Today, I stepped on the scale expecting a small change from my previous 353 pounds where I was last week. However, I looked down past my ever-shrinking tummy to see 349 staring back at me.
Weight going down.
I was elated. I have hit and passed a major milestone on my path to a more healthy me. I don’t mind sharing that I weigh 349 pounds today because it shows movement in the right direction and sustained movement. This is not just a sudden dip balanced by an equally large gain. I am losing the weight and it is staying off.
I am not doing anything fancy. I am using two tools, Fitbit and Lose It. Fitbit ($99 Amazon) is a small pedometer on steroids that tracks my steps for the day and I have a daily goal to take 10,000 steps. It also measures the approximate distance I walk, based on my stride length and approximate calories I burn based on gender, height and weight.
A day in the eyes of Fitbit.
It also keeps tracks of the number of floors I climb based on a 1 floor being 10 feet in height. It’s a simple little tool that has a screen read out that I can cycle through. It lists all the information above as well as a clock, a little random motivational message and a flower which grows taller the more active I am. It’s surprisingly motivating to have something keeping tabs on you day in and day out and a way to measure how much you’ve moved or exercised in a given day.
Fitbit wirelessly syncs to a base station which double as a charger which is needed about every 7-10 days. The syncing allows you to view your progress, history and more in lovely graphs on the Fitbit website. The device also tracks sleep by tracking your movement in the night, which is not 100% accurate but provides a good picture of your overall sleep.
Sleep according to Fitbit.
About a month after I got mine, my wife also got one so she could measure her progress and to keep her motivated as well. I have just surpassed 2 months of Fitbit ownership and I love it just as much today as I did the day I got it.
Lose It! is even easier. It is a website that syncs to an iPhone or Android app that counts calories by default, and other nutrients if you enable it. The beauty of this app is it’s free and allows you to use your phone’s camera to scan the bar codes on most packages and get the nutritional information from there.
It makes preparing recipes super simple, and since you’re tracking calories, not a convoluted points system, there’s no more math to do. I tried Weight Watchers and I disliked their app because I had to enter 4 or 5 different items from the label then convert them into their Points System. It made tracking food overly complicated. And if I am going to track my food and keep doing it, there needs to be as little friction as possible.
Lose It is simple and it works. I can scan my food, search their huge database of foods from grocery stores, restaurants, and other manufacturers or add food in manually in the rare occasion I can’t find it. It also allows the making and sharing of recipes so when I prepare dinner, I can scan and add ingredients then share it with my wife so she can add it into her food for the day. It has made calorie counting as painless as possible.
The best part about these two tools is they work together. You can sync your Fitbit to your Lose It account and have it track your steps and actually award you extra calories for the days you exercise enough to burn more calories than normal. If you run or take a long walk and get 15,000 steps in a day, you will see the extra calories in Lose It to help keep you under your caloric goal for the day and lose weight.
These two tools have made it easy for me to lose weight and continue losing weight without hitting a treadmill or killing myself at the gym. I am not dieting. I am not changing my food other than to make smarter choices. I am still eating ice cream, just Skinny Cow or Weight Watchers brands at 150 calories a pop instead of a 500 calorie bowl of ice cream.
I am still eating pizza and burgers and everything I love. But when I do decide to splurge, I either need to calorically plan for it in my day, or I need to exercise enough to account for it. There are some times where I take the hit and go over my calories for the day. But those days are few and far between and at the end of each week, Lose-It shows me how many calories I’m under or over and I am still well under where I need to be and I am still losing weight.