Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you know that Americans are both fat and addicted to electronic gadgets, the smaller the better. So it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a way to leverage these two facts. Leverage that is exactly what the FitBit company has done – and they managed to tack on a “social media” component as well! The company’s FitBit One is pretty much a gateway drug to an improved lifestyle; assuming you get addicted, that is…
While bracelet-style monitors are the hottest thing going among hipsters, not everyone can wear a clunky plastic band on his or her wrist. For the rest of us, there’s the FitBit Zip or the FitBit One. I have a One (my wife has a Zip). These are conventional products in the sense that they clip unobtrusively onto your clothing instead of looking like a LiveStrong band that got extremely dirty.
The One is small – about 2” long and half an inch wide. It slips into a plain black silicon holster that clips securely to a belt, waistband, pocket, or strap. Two colors – black and burgundy – are available. It’s powered by a battery that recharges from a USB cable. There’s a display window on the front and a single button that cycles through the displays.
How it Works
The One counts steps and miles walked/run like an ordinary pedometer. It also estimates calories burned (so you have to tell your One your age, weight, sex, and stride length) and counts flights of stairs. At night you can remove it from its holster and slip it into a Velcro® wristband. Once it’s on your wrist, you put it into the sleep-tracker mode, and it records time spent sleeping, with estimates of “restless” and “awake” time.
The One syncs wirelessly with a small USB receiver plugged into your computer, passing along step count and other recorded information every fifteen minutes. It can keep the information in memory for up to 7 days. It can also sync with a small number of mobile devices, chiefly smartphones.
Knowing your step count isn’t that important – after all, what does it mean? But the heart of the FitBit system, regardless of device, is the website. It tracks everything that the One transmits through the receiver, and it also allows you to keep a food diary – with nutritional information. Then you can compare calories consumed vs. calories burned (don’t let diet-plan salespeople lie to you: you can’t lose weight if you eat more calories than you burn!). Knowing the calorie count of what you’re eating is – God’s honest truth – the best way to lose weight.
Let me put it this way: eat a QP with cheese and medium fries from Mickey D’s and you’ve consumed 900 calories. That’s more than a third of the calories most people should consume in a day!
I’ve had my One since July, 2013. In that time it’s counted 6 million steps and 3000 flights of stairs, and more to the point – I have lost 23 pounds – pounds I’ve learned how to keep off for the rest of my life, thanks to keeping a food diary.
My One has lasted me 18 months now, and it's still going strong. It appears to be quite accurate, though it can be fooled into recording extra steps (or flights) by the motion of a moving vehicle. It sends me an email about every seven or eight days telling me the battery is low, and then recharges in about an hour. FitBit pesters me every once in a while to be more social, but I haven’t needed “fitness friends” to stay fit – though you might (I’m more into antisocial media, in fact).
If improves fitness and weight loss are on your New Year’s resolution list, a FitBit One could well be the place to start.