Tag Archives: Fitbit

Fitbit Blaze

I keep breaking my “I have never weighed this much before” record and have decided to try to do something about it. I used the Fitbit Charge Kelly and Christian got for me quite successfully when I we lived in both Wilsonville and Lewisville so I decided to get another one. The problem was that it had a pretty lousy band that was not replaceable. My buddy, Dan in Texas used his Fitbit successfully, but ran into the same kinds of problems.

I ordered a Fitbit Blaze this afternoon to kickstart my new health and fitness plan. The other thing I am going to do when Christian is here is move the treadmill Bob lent us down to the bottom floor of the house from the garage where it is now getting too cold to use.

The Fitbit, weekends and temptation — Is busyness the answer?

Fitbit ChargeI have written here that I am a big fan of the Fitbit exercise/calorie management watch Christian and Kelly bought for me last year. I eat healthier, get more exercise and my weight continues to come down. I have been on it, since I started back, about six weeks now. My problem is that I fall off the wagon on weekends. I actually do quite well on the exercise thing, but when I am left to myself, I go get a snack in the kitchen and Lorena is queen of snacks in the kitchen. I think her fast metabolism and cooking ability are a big problem for me. She can just eat more than I and not gain weight. I am envious of that, but am what I am so need to figure out how to avoid temptation on the weekends.

So, I think maybe what I need to do is stay busier on weekends. That can be a difficult thing because after a week at the office, there is temptation just to lounge about, read books (with my bad habit of eating while I read, that is not a good thing diet-wise) and go out to eat with Lorena. So that was part of the reason I bought the BeagleBone Black yesterday. To get onto a project with a buddy so I am held accountable to finish stuff is something that might help occupy me so I do not eat so much. I have a couple of other technology projects on which I work for previous employers as an advisor, but that does not keep me away from the carbo-loading. Lorena has her garden and her school. I got nothin’! So maybe this will work. We will see.

Betty Blonde #367 – 12/11/2009
Betty Blonde #367
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BeagleBone Black with Wifi and a camera

BeagleBone BlackMy buddy John from my last job in Prescott and I stay in pretty close touch. Neither of us are anywhere near retirement. He has kids still in school and I think of retirement as working when I want to work rather than actually quitting work. Are skills are complementary and we like to work together, so we decided we ought to do a demo project so that if, someday, we ever have enough money set aside we can consult. There is a good likelihood that will never happen, but it is always fun to take on side projects.

This side project involves a BeagleBone Black single board computer, a camera and a wifi link. We have a couple of great ideas about what to do with it, but want to put a ton of infrastructure in place so we can produce quality work quickly when we decide what we actually want to do. This morning, I bought a BeagleBone Black, a USB Wifi Adapter, and a 64 gigabyte microSD card on Amazon to get started. I already have a webcam we can hook up to it. I am setting up a Linux computer as a temporary server to use to archive our work–temporary because I do not have a whole lot of confidence in the computer nor the hard drive. As we start making some progress we will probably make some other arrangements.

As we make progress, I might describe some of what we are doing here so that we can have a record of what we might contribute as consultants if everything is not already completely obsolete by the time we get to doing that.

Betty Blonde #366 – 12/10/2009
Betty Blonde #366
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How I use my Fitbit Charge

Fitbit progress July 2, 2015The kids bought me a Fitbit Charge watch last December. I had gotten pretty fat (in saying “pretty fat” I am being somewhat gracious toward myself) and had been prescribed a couple of medications for high blood pressure and cholesterol, measurements for both which were borderline. The doctor told me that I could probably get off of at least one of the medications if I just got some exercise and lost some weight.

If you do not know about the Fitbit watches, they are essentially pedometers, some of which have things like altimeters to determine when you climb stairs and heart-rate monitors. They also tell time. The watches connect to the internet through a bluetooth connection to upload the from the watch to a cell phoe or computer that updates a personal website. This is so a person can keep track of how far they have walked or run, how many calories they have burned, etc. My watch, the Charge does not have a heart-rate monitor, but I am thinking about getting on that does as a reward when I lose another 16 pounds.

When the kids gave me the Fitbit Charge, I immediately started using it. I am one of those kinds of guys who likes to measure every little thing. The watch and website provided me a mechanism that made it much faster, easier and more thorough than anything I had done previously (except when I played judo in college and was insanely meticulous). The cell phone app that goes with the Fitbit uses the GPS to track how fast and far I go when I go for my walks–other people use the same app for bicycling and running.

I did pretty well for a couple of weeks, but then everything got sidetracked when I got a new job in Oregon and we had to move across the country from North Carolina. I just quit using the thing. A little over three weeks ago, Kelly came down for a visit to Oregon from Seattle and let me know she was pretty disappointed that I did not use the watch for a couple of reasons–she and Christian made the effort to get it for me and I was really fat. She is gracious that way. So I decided to start using it again.

This time, I have been at it a little less than a month and it appears to be sticking. When I first started, I intended to walk a little at lunch time and then just manage what I ate to not go over a certain level of caloric intake. The software allows the user to chose how fast they want to lose. I have mine set up to help me target a 750 calorie daily deficit. How this works is that I enter all the food I eat and any special workouts I do into the website. That is amazingly easy because about every food you can imagine is already in the system and 99% of the time all I have to do is pick the food and say how much I ate (ounces, pieces, etc.). They have tons of major restaurant menu items in there, too, so if I go to Wendy’s for a salad, it is just a couple button pushes and that food is recorded.

The first week, I lost some weight, but was hungry all the time. It dawned on me that if I walked a little more, I got to eat a little more, so I started walking more. It started out on the treadmill at our gym, but then I decided it might be a good idea to walk to work. That added quite a lot of calories that I could eat. Then, on Saturday, Lorena and I started walking into town in the morning for breakfast, then again in the afternoon for lunch. It took a little while to calibrate the system because it gave me more credit for burning calories than I deserved–I think because I walked under trees a bunch of the time and the GPS struggled to figure out where I was. Now that I have that worked out a little better, I think the watch is providing a pretty accurate accounting of how many calories are going in versus how many are going out.

As I started losing weight, I started walking a little more. Lorena drives me to work in the morning (we only have one car), but then I walk downtown from work most days to meet her for lunch and walk back to work after lunch. The round trip is three miles. Then, after work, I walk the two miles from work to our apartment. So, now, my baseline walk everyday is five miles. I do additional walking around the building and up and down stairs at work. The Fitbit tracks that, too. The graph below shows the amount of walking I have recorded since I started back using the Fitbit a little less than a month ago. I think the 150 miles is a little bit more than I actually walked, but now that I know better how to use the system I think it will be more accurate for the month of July. I expect I am walking between 30-40 miles per week.

Distance walked (from Fitbit) June 2015
The whole system works for me. I am down over 19 pounds from the end of last year when I started using the Fitbit with four months missing in the middle. I am down a little over 9 pounds since I started back using it again a little over three weeks ago. I actually fell off the wagon two of the weekends since my new start or I would be down even more. The thing that helps me most is that I have a way to “pay” for eating more food. A couple of times, I have actually headed down to the gym to workout for an hour so I could afford enough calories to take Lorena out to dinner.

I have a long way to go. I hope to get down to my goal weight toward the end of the year, but I am already feeling a lot better.

Betty Blonde #360 – 12/02/2009
Betty Blonde #360
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Interventions, Selfies and Fitbits

Dad gets a Fitbit for Christmas and takes a selfieI thought I was just getting a gift, but it turned out to be a full-blown intervention. That thing on my wrist in the picture to the right is something called a Fitbit Charge. I was told it was not the one with the heart rate monitor in it, because that one does not come out for another month or so. I was told I am entirely too fat. I would have argued with them, but they were right. I have never been this big before in my life. They said they got this for me to help me assure I do not eat too much.

So I plugged the thing in to charge last night and set it up when I got up this morning. The Fitbit is that watch on my wrist–pretty fashionable. One thing I did figure out was that doing a selfie can be pretty complicated if you want to show off your new watch at the same time. It is a fun little device. I need to figure out how I am going to report my journey on the blog after I figure out whether I can stick with it.

I am an Industrial Engineer. Industrial engineers are numbers guys. My whole work life is centered around numbers and measuring things. I do not know how I am going to do with this Fitbit, but I will no longer have the excuse that I do not know where I am calorie-wise at any given time. It keeps track of how many steps you take and whether or not you are going up or down stairs. I am amazed at its accuracy. The reality is that it does not have to be perfect. All it really needs is to be close. You have to enter the food you eat so they can account for those calories, but they make that easy for you, too.

I have only had the thing on for a few hours, but every time I go up the stairs it adds another floor to how many flights of stairs I have walked. Whenever I walk, it adds up steps. Based on my weight, goals and how aggressive I want to be, it builds a dial on both my computer and on my phone that shows me how the amount of calories of have consumed stack up against how many calories I have expended for the day. The idea is to end up with the dial indicator in the green at the end of the day. If you do that day in and day out, you will hit your goal in the specified amount of time. I like it and gong to try to make it work.

So far today, I have had an Egg McMuffin, a meduim diet coke and four and a half cups of coffee. I have not done any exercise other than going down to the kitchen from the bonus room to feed the cats and get more coffee. Here is the dial for my current status:

Fitbit dial

Update:  The watch vibrates when I receive a phone call. How cool is that?