Fitbit Data and Weightloss

I was always a fat kid, later on I was a fat teenager, and no real surprise I was a fat adult. I’ve always struggled with food, exercise, and my appearance. Food was a comfort, I used it to de-stress and I ate when I was bored. Exercise was to be avoided because I sweat excessively. I’ve dieted before, and gone on short exercise stints, but nothing that lasted more than a few months.

About a year ago I got a bit more serious, I started a regular appointment with a personal trainer. She taught me how to lift weights, pace my workouts, and got me on a good track such that I could exercise on my own. The foundation was there, I had lost 15 pounds from 240 lbs, and I had developed some core strength. I didn’t keep it up though.

In early May I pre-ordered the Fitbit Flex. Some friends of mine had earlier versions already but I figured it might be worth it. I was worried though, I have a long history of gadget based exercise incentives. WiiFit, Pull up Bars, Hundred Push Ups, etc…

After the Fitbit arrived, I strapped it on and really got into the distance based goal approach. Movement around the office plus my walk to and from work usually netted me 4 miles but I needed to do supplementary exercise in order to get that last mile. Because the daily goal was there I started spending a lot more time in the gym. Once or twice a week suddenly jumped up to 5-6 days a week.

My weekly plan consisted of 2-3 days of weight-lifting with a 10 minute warmup on the treadmill. Then rest days where I would do a intervals, or treadmill hill climbs. I went from only being able to run a 10 minute mile to a 7:20 minute mile. I started running for longer distances on the treadmill, at first 2 miles, then 3, 5, and in the last three months I’ve been running 6-10 miles outdoors.

I cut out soda except for a treat every 2-4 weeks, and tried to snack less. At first this worked wonders but around November I had to start cutting calories to see the same weight loss that I was seeing in previous months.

A couple of setbacks along the way, I’ve been getting nagging left-knee pain throughout November and December. The last few weeks I’ve been using the stationary bike exclusively to try and reduce the impact and let my knee recover. I’ve also noticed that I’m aware of a constantly shifting array of muscle aches and pains induced by weight-lifting.

On the positive side I’m in the best shape of my life. This morning I weighed in at 196 lbs. I’ve been below 200 lbs, my goal weight, for over a week now. This is down from 226 lbs. at the end of May.

Processed via the Fitbit API and a quick script I put together.

The effects are noticeable, I look better in the mirror, fat has given way to muscle, and the excessive sweating seems to have eased off. I’ve lost about 4 inches around my waist line. I’ve given up x-large t-shirts in favor or large t-shirts. I'll need to pick up some more pants at the very least as they're starting to look comical on me.

I plan to lose about 5-10 more pounds, then take a break for a while and go on a maintenance plan. Afterwards I may start weightlifting more seriously in an effort to add more lean muscle. My scale claims I’ve only lost about 2-3 lbs of lean muscle during this period. But I’m not sure I trust the accuracy of the electronic impedance testing on a $20 scale.