Using a Fitbit for Weight Loss

October 4, 2017

A few weeks ago my girlfriend picked me up a Fitbit after I casually mentioned that I’d love to have one for tracking my steps and checking out some of my other health statistics.

Back in the beginning of February I started out on a lifestyle change where I began to eat better and exercise more with the hope of losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle.

Since then I’ve lost 93 pounds and I have another 40 pounds or so to go until I reach my “goal weight”.

I actually wish that I picked up a Fitbit sooner because apart from eating healthier and exercising more this little smartwatch has had the biggest impact on my weight loss journey.

Today I want to talk about how you can use a Fitbit for losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle on your own as well as give you some helpful tips on taking full advantage of the Fitbit features.

Using a Fitbit for Losing Weight

fitbit charge 2

Right off the bat I want to mention that putting on a Fitbit isn’t going to magically make the pounds fall off.

Mine didn’t really have any impact on my overall diet, which is the most important factor when it comes to losing weight.

What it did have an impact on was my exercise levels and it gave me a better look at my other vitals throughout the day.

A Quick Look at the Fitbit

fitbit dashboard

The Fitbit that I’m using is the “Charge 2” and it comes with a bunch of super helpful features related to your health.

Some of the main features include:

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Cardio fitness level
  • Pedometer (step tracking)
  • Reminders to get up and move
  • Sleep tracking

These are just the features that come on the actual watch but the best part about the Fitbit details is that you can log on to the dashboard either online or through the app where you’ll have access to a lot more details and information.

Using the app you can see things like:

  • How many floors you’ve gone up
  • How far you’ve walked
  • How many calories you’ve burned so far
  • Whether or not you have met your goals
  • Both your current and historic heart rate

There are a ton of statistics that you can comb through and optimize for better health in a more efficient weight loss.

Some people might also find it beneficial to track their statistics over a longer period of time and in this case you’ll be able to see trends with your weight loss compared to the other statistics like steps, calorie intake, heart rate and exercise levels.

How My Fitbit Got Me to Exercise More

weight rack at the gym

Before I started wearing a Fitbit I did a fair amount of walking throughout the day and every morning I would hit the gym for a 60-minute weight lifting routine.

Since I work from home there would be some days where I wouldn’t have any incentive to do much walking at all especially if it was cold or raining outside.

Right away with the Fitbit I was able to track my steps and keep an eye on weekly averages so I quickly saw how much I was walking in any given day.

The first few days I was averaging about 8,000 steps per day and after a few weeks I’m now averaging 12,500 steps per day.

What changed for me was that I could easily see how many steps I was doing and I could set specific goals for myself which gave me more of a reason to head outside or hit the treadmill and walk some more.

There are also these hourly reminders that encourage you to get up and walk at least 250 steps every hour for 8 hours during the day.

This alone helped to add a few thousand extra steps.

What also really helped where the weekly and weekend challenges where you can actually compete against other Fitbit users for how many steps you can get during the weekend or the week.

On some days I would grind out up to 16,000 steps just trying to get to the top of the leaderboard to hopefully snag the top position in the challenge.

These small changes really helped to get me walking more and I can already see the long-term trend on my Fitbit where I’m getting more and more steps every week.

How I’m Developing Better Habits

With the challenges that I just mentioned I would also be doing healthier things throughout the day like climbing the stairs rather than taking the elevator or parking at the end of the parking lot just to get my steps up.

These simple changes easily allowed me to achieve the daily goals that I set for myself on my Fitbit and seeing the numbers got higher and higher helped to motivate me to keep pushing forward.

Without the Fitbit on as a constant reminder I probably would have stuck to my lazier ways and just taken the elevator or parked closer to the front.

Having the little smartwatch constantly on my wrist and making it really easy for me to develop better and healthier habits that are going to have a long-term beneficial impact on my lifestyle.

Even in such a short period of time I no longer think twice about parking at the end of the lot or walking somewhere close by rather than driving just so I can get my Fitbit numbers higher and can a better spot on the leaderboard for the challenges and among my friends.

Another better habit that I’m developing is that I’m now getting up a lot more often throughout the day rather than sitting at the desk grinding away for hours at a time.

Sitting down all day can kill you in the long run so I’m thankful that the Fitbit comes with a reminder so that I actually get my butt out of the seat and walk around for a few minutes before getting back to work.

This helps to keep the blood flowing and I even feel a lot better when I’m getting my heart rate up for just a few minutes once an hour instead of just sitting there like a lump all afternoon.

I feel as though these different habits are going stick with me for the long term, especially as I continue to wear my Fitbit on a daily basis.

Even if I do start wearing it less I’m sure that these habits are going to be ingrained in my mind and that I won’t even think twice to walk more, get up more, stretch more, or take the stairs whenever I can.

Setting Goals with the Fitbit and MyFitnessPal

myfitness pal diet tracking

For those of you that are looking to lose weight and you want to use the Fitbit to help supplement your weight loss I would also recommend downloading the MyFitnessPal app.

This app allows you to track your calories more accurately so you can get a better idea of how many calories you’re eating in a day.

The reason why this is important is because you’re not going to lose any weight if you’re eating too many calories and it’s really hard to out-exercise a poor diet so it’s a good idea to take control of your diet right from the start.

With these two apps you can sync them together so that both the Fitbit and MyFitnessPal share data.

This is going to make your weight loss journey a little bit easier because you can see how many calories you’ve burned on the Fitbit and also keep track of how much you’ve eaten so far using MyFitnessPal.

Using either app you can set a weight-loss goal and both of them will allow you to track your progress as you move forward.

This way you can see how far you have to go and how long it might take you to reach your weight loss goals.

On the MyFitnessPal dashboard it’s going to show you how many calories you’ve burned with your Fitbit and you can really use this to accelerate your weight loss, especially if you’re exercising a lot.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to eat back any of the calories that you’ve “burned” and you should try to stay strict with your daily calorie limit for the best results.

The reason why you don’t want to eat these extra calories is because fitness trackers aren’t 100% accurate and it’s even possible that you could gain weight depending on how much you’re eating and offsetting your deficit.

Why You Should Use a Fitbit

Whether you’re  looking to drop some weight, lose fat, or you just want to be more active throughout the day the Fitbit is a great choice for anybody looking to live a healthier lifestyle.

One of the reasons why it works so well is because it keeps you accountable and acts as a constant reminder that you’re striving to make healthier choices during the day.

It’s always going to be sitting there on your wrist and without a dedicated support team, personal trainer, or even any friends in a similar position, the Fitbit is the next best thing to keeping you accountable and keeping you on track.

Behind the scenes you can set different goals so that you’re always making the effort to become a better version of yourself.

You can choose to set calorie targets to help you with weight loss. daily step goals to help you with getting more exercise. and even things like active hour goals to keep you more active throughout the day.

Without the Fitbit I definitely wouldn’t have made as many lifestyle improvements and although I would have continued losing weight it wouldn’t have been coming off nearly as quickly as it is now.

The little bit of extra motivation I get from wearing my Fitbit everyday is bound to make it a lot easier for me to reach my goals and to continue living a healthy and active lifestyle.

Hopefully it will do the same for you and I would definitely recommend checking out the Fitbit Charge 2 or any of the other models if you’re looking to make some positive changes in your life.

Tips for Using a Fitbit

fitbit tips

Here are some helpful tips for using your Fitbit so that you can get the most out of this neat little smartwatch/fitness tracker.

Connect it With MyFitnessPal

For those of you looking to lose weight, gain weight, or just eat healthier it’s a good idea to pair your Fitbit with the MyFitnessPal app.

This way you can get a better idea of how many calories you’re eating and burning throughout the day and make any necessary changes regarding your diet.

Along with MyFitnessPal there are more than 30 other apps that you can connect your Fitbit with.

Connecting the Fitbit really allows you to dive deep into your daily statistics and easily access all of the information you might want at hand when you’re making improvements with your lifestyle.

Charge It Regularly

The Fitbit battery lasts a pretty long time – I only have to charge mine once or twice per week.

If you’re somebody that doesn’t remember to keep things charged all the time then try to charge your Fitbit when you’re taking a shower and can’t wear it or during the night when you’re sleeping if you’re not using it for sleep tracking.

It doesn’t take too long to charge at all and it can go from low battery to fully charged in less than 2 hours.

Nothing’s worse than looking down to check your daily statistics and seeing that your watch has run out of battery – this can be surprisingly demoralizing.

Choose Relevant Screen Display Options

You can actually customize the different metrics that you want to see on the screen of your Fitbit when you’re wearing it.

The default options are pretty good although it depends what specific statistics you want to keep track of.

To change the metrics that appear you’re going to want to visit the dashboard on the Fitbit app on your phone and choose the “Customize Display” to arrange things differently.

Customize Your Dashboard

Another nifty customization feature that you can use is setting up the dashboard to track the statistics and metrics that you actually care about.

You might not be interested in things like how much water you drink or what your sleeping activity is like and you can clean up the dashboard to only show metrics that are relevant to your goals.

To edit your dashboard metrics tap on the “Edit” button at the bottom of the screen when you’re using the smartphone app. From here you can add or remove any of the metrics you want to keep a closer eye on.

Join Challenges

One of the best ways to get in more steps, exercise more, and find more motivation is to join the various challenges on Fitbit.

At the bottom of the smartphone app you can see a list of different challenges that you can join or invite others to compete it.

I mentioned these above but they can include things like getting the most steps during the weekend or getting the most steps during the week.

To find Fitbit friends I recommend checking out some Reddit threads where people are always looking for new users to connect with.

These challenges are a great way to jack up your daily fitness levels and have fun at the same time.

Final Thoughts

I can safely say that in the past few weeks of using it the Fitbit Charge 2 has already had a huge impact on my lifestyle.

I’m walking more, i’m taking the stairs more often, I’m focusing more on my health, and I’m simply just taking advantage of all of the information that wearing this fitness tracker is able to provide.

Would I have been able to reach my weight loss goals without it?

Totally!

However, the Fitbit has turned my weight loss journey into more of a game and it’s super motivating being able to track my metrics and watch them trend in a positive direction.

If you’re someone with a solid diet just looking for that little bump for exercising more and living healthier in general then the Fitbit is definitely something you’re going to want to check out!

As always, thanks for reading and if you have any questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments below!

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