So I got my fitbit. I saw that gismo on others before. It looked fashionable and modern. I liked it flashy display and neat graphs. Why not?
Since weight loss is always on my mind I thought this hi-tech gadget can help me with motivation. I was also curious about my daily and nightly whereabouts, like how many steps I make in a day or how deep my sleep is. Until fitbit I had no idea.
I think I need weight loss tricks!
I have a sedentary job. My day is divided between writing articles and talking to patients. I am not an athlete or a mailman. My hobby is not jogging, but research, yet another desk “activity”. It is rather easy to conclude that I don’t move much, so I wanted fitbit to tell me how bad my “sedation” was.
I have a huge responsibility. I am a doctor. Health is my priority. I have to do what I preach otherwise I am a hypocrite. I must be active or I should give up expecting that from my patients.
My adventure with FitBit
I set up my fitbit yesterday. I let it snitch on me overnight. Fitbit gave me a star for sleeping more than eight hours, yeee! Today I spent my day working mostly on the computer with a few interruptions for coffee, snacks, get up and stretch kind of things. I wouldn’t say this was one of my most active days.
Surprisingly I made 5,000 and 3.2 km steps by mid-day. That’s unanticipated, because I did not leave the house and I don’t live in a mansion. All steps I made were trips in between bedroom, office, kitchen, and bathroom. This is as sedentary as it can get.
10,000 steps experience
Fitbit assists in weight loss by asking you to make at least 10,000 steps in a day. Before I checked my own stats 10,000 sounded a lot. Since many people do not reach this goal I thought 10,000 steps was difficult to achieve. Today I have a very different view and I have discovered the reason why many people cannot lose weight with all their good intentions and despite achieved goals.
10,000 steps equals to about 5 miles or 8 kilometers. With a leisurely pace of four kilometers an hour it is like two hours of walking. Such pace burns about 475 calories for a 150lb person. That is a lot of calories, right? Wrong!
Sitting burns calories
Most people think that these 475 calories are all extra calories burned because of walking. But they are not! Sitting and doing nothing also burn calories. So if I choose to sit for two hours I burn 225 calories.
Let`s give the numbers a real meaning. How much slimmer can you be if you meet your goal of 10,000 steps a day? You may not like what I am about to say, but what you learn from it will help you understand why losing weight is so elusive. If you take my lesson to heart you may be on your way for a more realistic weight loss program or a weight loss goal.
- Lesson #1: You burn calories regardless of what you do. Some large numbers may look good on paper, but in real life they don’t translate to much.
- Lesson #2: Walking is a very slow way of burning calories. For faster weight loss choose a different activity. If you stick to walking don’t be disappointed with the slowness of the progress.
- Lesson #3: 10,000 steps burn off only 2 tablespoons of fat. You need fifteen days to burn one pound, provided you don’t snack in between the steps.
Found guilty of snacking!
With most people having trouble reaching 10,000 steps and 90% of Americans admitting to snacking all day long on chips, ice cream, and sweets it is not difficult to say that we are not in a fat-burning mode. Despite fitbit, Wii, and Kinect we keep on putting on more fat. Thirty years ago half of us were overweight today two out of three carry extra pounds.
It may look like weight loss is a futile venture, but can you turn things around?
- Lesson #1: Don’t fall for fads. Fitbit is not a weight loss aid. It is a monitoring and a motivational tool. Fitbit does not make you lose weight just because you wear it. Participate wholeheartedly.
- Lesson #2: Understand fat loss basics. Don’t get fooled by easy targets. 10,000 steps are not enough for serious weight loss. It won’t get you far unless you up your goal and pay attention to your food intake. Break beyond the easy. Be ambitious.
- Lesson #3: Give it more than a week. Apparently two third of us cheat on weight loss plans already on day five. That`s before we even manage to melt the first pound off the hips. Commit to minimum three months without cheating. Stay strong.
Keep your promises. Avoid excuses. Continue despite unavoidable challenges and reward yourself with a smaller-size dress, not with a caramel cheesecake.