Technology for Weight Loss & Life Management?

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technology2Technology has played a pivotal role in our social lives, becoming an everyday part of our daily interaction with the outside world. Modern technology has fused tablets, computers, and smartphones with social media making our lives either more simple or complex, depending upon how you choose to use it. Social media has definitely taken up more of our time. Once upon a time, we used to sit and have lunch together. We used to talk to each other in person or over the phone, but now a text, tweet, or IM suffices the need for human contact.

The explosion of social media has created the urge for everyone to suddenly have smartphones with Internet capability and pricy data packages. It wasn’t that long ago, maybe in the early 90s that only those who could afford cell phones had them. Now, we’re giving our elementary kids a cell phone, and other spoiled tots get to have a laptop and an iPad as well. Then once, everyone had a cell phone it was only the wealthy that had the smartphones. It used to be the “blackberry days” where all the business executives had a blackberry. Then, the iPhone came out and it seems like everyone has a smartphone now. Aside from some old-fashioned folks that just want the simplest phone to operate; the majority of people out there can’t live without Wi-Fi connection and social media apps. It’s no wonder, we now walk, jog or run with our smartphonefannyss.

I recently spent $29 on a dumb little arm wrap for my iPhone so that I can run without having to carry it or use that god-awful 80’s fanny pack. We tend to use our smartphones not just for music, but also in conjunction with exercise apps that track how far we go. Though, it can often be clunky and cumbersome. I am certain that the trending development of hundreds of smartphone apps for just about any type of hobby, interest, social media, and business has sparked new innovative technology. Inspired by recent trends for smaller batteries, longer life spans, and more functions; inventors are engineering simpler easy-to-use designs for fitness junkies. It wasn’t but 5 years ago that most people tracking the miles they’re walking and calories they’ve burned, used a general pedometer. Whether it clipped on your jogging pants or was a pricy watch; pedometers were the only way most individuals interested in tracking their progress, kept up with fitness goals.

Now, the pedometer has a new face. This new design is less about making the product a Swiss Army knife that can do a million different things and more about focusing its capabilities on fitness. It’s no longer a watch with a million buttons and components, but an arm band you can wear 24/7. This new sleek design is more simple, light, flexible, and water-resistant. The Fitbit is one of the more popular new fitness trackers that has exploded and gone mainstream. Everyone seems to have one now, so it peaked my interest when someone at the gym showed me his. I was really surprised that it wasn’t a watch (though there is a Fitbit that does tell the time); it was a simple flexible armband. It didn’t look like it tracked or did much, but as it turns out its plain appearance is quite deceptive.

fitbit-flex-xlThe Fitbit not only tells you how many steps you’ve gone, but how many miles and days. Pedometers were primarily used to track a given exercise. You’d press it the moment you began your run, then when you were done, you’d stop it like you would a stop watch. But, what if you could track how many miles, steps and every movement you made or calories burned in a given 24-hour period? What if you wanted to track your fitness progress over the course of a week or longer? You can track your every move now with the Fitbit. But, it doesn’t just track your exercise, it also tracks the quality of your sleep as well. The Fitbit can tell when you are restless, when you woke up in the middle of the night, when you went back to sleep, and in general how long you were actually asleep. If you think you get 8 hours of quality sleep every night you’d be surprised at how much sleep is actually quality. I have wanted a Fitbit since I heard about it. Being a numbers and data geek, I love to analyze what works and what doesn’t work. I love looking at numbers, statistics, and research to see if I can determine a current trend or foresee one. So, of course when I heard about a simple sleek fitness tool that you could wear 24/7 and able to track my every step, mile, calorie, and sleep patterns– I was sold. What’s even better is that it has a long battery life and only needs to be charged ever 5 days. I was lucky enough to get the Fitbit as a gift recently and found out a few interesting things I didn’t know before.

I didn’t know just how many calories I burned in a given day. I didn’t know how everyday movements such as typing on the computer or getting up off the couch to get a drink of water, how all of these actions burned calories. I knew that we are always burning calories, but wasn’t sure how much. The exciting thing about the Fitbit is that actually seeing how many calories you burn tends to be quite the motivator. At least it is for me. When you see the number of calories you burn go up and up with every movement, immediately you are left with a feeling of being rewarded. This feeling of reward tends to push you to want to go out and be more active. I noticed I wanted to walk further, move around more, get out there and exercise just so that I could come back to sink up my Fitbit to my computer and track how far I went. It’s exciting to watch the numbers go up. You get an immediate “wow” feeling, excited to see that you’ve burned way more calories than you thought you did. Something as simple as a Fitbit can erase any discouragement you might have felt in the past and replace it with motivation.

The price varies depending upon which model you choose. For the Fitbit flex, which is the one I have, it’s $99. So far, I have to say that I am a huge fan. If you are one that tends to get a little more discouraged than others, especially if you have gained back weight or lost momentum. Then you might want to save up for a Fitbit. It’s an investment worth every penny.

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