|A Fitbit Zip in action|
In times of change people need structure and process. The bigger and more challenging the change is, the more structure and process can make the difference between success and frustration. Two tools from today's electronic world are helping fitness-driven individuals to make progress toward their goals: the Fitbit and MyFitnessPal.com.
If you are already using a program of some sort (like Weight Watchers, a proven success) you are already keenly aware that managing your body size is a matter of simple math: energy expended has to be greater than energy consumed (measured by calories) if you want your body to shrink. The reverse has to be true to grow in size. You can argue about carbs, protein, vegetarian, gluten free, or Paleo as the way to go, but no matter the food plan you choose it all comes down to the math.
Counting calories taken in and energy expended can be subjective without tools. And here is where these two cool tech tools come in:
MyFitnessPal has a free app for most smart phones. You log your starting weight, your goal weight, and the pace at which you want to change your weight (1 pound per week, 1/2 pound, etc.) and the app assigns a net calorie number that you consume per day in order to achieve your goal.
On it you track your food intake - you can do so easily in just seconds because of its large database of stored foods, including menu items from many restaurants. You also track your exercise on it, and the calories expended are automatically added back in to your intake allowance for the day. So, for example, if you are on a 1500 calorie per day plan and you expend 500 calories in activity you can take in 2000 calories and still achieve your daily goal. Sounds simple, eh?
When you visit the app website, check out the app page to find other apps that will sync with MyFitnessPal to help you collect other data, including an accurate calorie count for your activity.
The Fitbit is an electronic pedometer that syncs with MyFitnessPal. Clip it on in the morning and it tracks your number of steps throughout the day, including your steps from the parking lot to the office, dog walks, the trek through the grocery store, house or lawn work, etc. The standard if you're only doing pedometer work is 10,000 steps per day, but if you're using Fitbit in conjunction with MyFitnessPal the data can sync the calories expended directly into your daily log to help you have an accurate measurement of your net calories.
Fitbit needs an iPhone 4S or more recent to sync directly with your phone, but if your phone syncs with your computer you can do a two-stage process: sync the Fitbit with your computer, which will then sync the data with your phone.
What's in it for you
It's easy for good intentions to become overcome by the bustle of day to day busyness. Structure and process available in these new tools can be convenient to incorporate into your day, helping you to manage the small actions that add up to big results. Your choices, like the one between taking the elevator and the stairs, made regularly, can make a trackable, noticeable difference in your progress.