Apr 262012
My Fitbit Ultra

This is the fifth and last post of my opening post series about my struggles losing weight, and my journey to where I am now.

To start at the beginning of this series, click here.

On February 18th, 2012, I purchased my Fitbit Ultra. (I got the blue one, mostly because blue is my favorite color.  Oh, and I’m a guy.)

My Fitbit Ultra

My Fitbit Ultra

A week before that, I had never even heard of it.

My boss, who is in the middle of an incredible weight loss journey himself, is a gadget guy. He buys all sorts of gadgets, and new electronic thingamajigs all the time. One day I was in his office, and he showed me his latest purchase, the Fitbit Ultra.

He started explaining how it was basically a pedometer with a ton of other features. I had had some experience with a pedometer a few years before, when our company was using a program in conjunction with our health insurance. The program basically gave you a pedometer to use, to be healthy. It didn’t count steps, I’m not really sure what it counted to be honest. A good day was like an 11. At any rate, I didn’t use it for very long. Looking back on it, it might have been more successful for me if the number had some sort of context that I could match up with my effort.

Back to the main story. My boss showed me the neat things that the Fitbit Ultra could do. It could track steps, mileage, stairs climbed, and calories burned. It could give me little motivational messages, and it could show my current activity level. He had spent over a year losing a very significant amount of weight, and he was as giddy as a child with a new toy when he was explaining this to me.

My interest was already piqued. Then he hit me with the next shot. Not only does it track all of these things on the device itself, but it uploads them to a website where you can set goals, keep track of your history, see your progress, and many other things.

It’s like a pedometer on crack.

Alarm bells went off inside my head. I felt faint. THIS is what I was looking for. THIS is what is going to help me lose weight. THIS is my savior.

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic. That’s really how I felt. There are few things I love more in this world than statistics. My love of statistics is what drives my passion for sports. My love of statistics is what got me into programming. This little device was the perfect motivation for me. I could see my stats in real time, and align them with the goals I set.

I went out and bought my Fitbit Ultra from Best Buy. I had to search a few stores in order to find it, apparently only some of the stores carry it.

I read or heard somewhere that the average person takes about 5000 steps per day. I did a baseline test, and checked how many steps I took in an average work day. It was 2000 to 3500.

I decided to check my weight the next morning, and start on this thing for real.

I almost cried when I saw it.  I weighed 297, with no clothes on.  Are you freaking kidding me? I was beyond ridiculous.

I started out slowly. I decided I’d start with aiming for 4,000 steps per day, and increase it each week by 1000 steps per day.

The first couple of days, I could barely walk. I was so far out of shape that I had to work my behind off just to get back to ‘out of shape’. After about a week, my feet were blistered so bad that I almost quit. It was not easy moving this much weight that far, but I knew I had to do it. When I got to 7,000 steps per day, I couldn’t even comprehend how I could get to 10,000. Set a goal, aim for the goal, reach the goal. It sounded simple in my head, but it was very difficult in practice.

I look at weight loss like a struggle, I’m not sure if I’ll ever beat it. I’m going to give it my best, but I’m going to need to use every ounce of inspiration, motivation and accountability that I can in order to get there.

Today is April 25th, 2012. I’m down 17 pounds, and I am hitting 10,000 steps on my Fitbit Ultra every single day and have been for a few weeks. I picked 10,000 as a number to shoot for as a plateau, because it seemed like a ridiculously lofty goal at the time. When I started, I couldn’t climb a simple set of stairs. I plan to start increasing my steps again soon, but right now with everything going on in my life, it’s definitely a challenge to fit in time for the steps I already need to take.

I’ll be posting about things that help me down the path to a healthier, fitter, not-dead, me. I’ll be posting about the tools I use that help me, stats on how I’m doing,  and more failures if I have any. It’s going to be a very long road, but I’m going to try to be in it until the end.

If I help some people along the way, that would be great. If other people help and inspire me along the way, that will be great too.

I look forward to this journey.

What motivates you to lose weight? What is your accountability?



 April 26, 2012  Posted by  Tagged with: , , ,  Add comments

  7 Responses to “Losing Weight: My savior, the Fitbit Ultra”

  1. avatar

    Mike, I’m so proud of you for tackling this . And being brave enough to blog about it! I don’t know about your Dad’s side of the family, but your Mom’s side (ie mine) has a long line of ancestors who have battled weight. That DNA is very hard to fight, as our propensity for food is literally in our genes.

    As you know I resorted to gastric bypass in 2002 which gave me a wonderful chance at a ‘normal’ life again. Which I’ve been enjoying up until the time I developed a bad knee, which has curtailed my ability to exercise (walking was always a Godsend for me). So I’ve put about 50# back on which I need to drop to feel ‘normal’ again. I hope to start aquacizing soon (finally bought a size umpeen bathing suit, ugh!) in hopes that will be a bit of movement/exercise to help me on my path back to feeling better.

    I applaud your motivation to be there for your kids. They will reap the benfits for sure. But don’t forget to do this for YOU as well. You will be the one who will benefit the most from your commitment. I sound real preachy here, and I need to hear it as badly as you do. I will be your cheerleader from afar, and pray for your success. We cannot put a price on good health; it is priceless! God bless you in your endeavors!

  2. I’m very proud of you too Mike. I love your ability to articulate your feelings and share them. Most of your Dad’s family is the size of your Dad. My sisters and I struggle with belly weight but nobody over 180 or so. I fault super- sized portions and a “live to eat” mentality we got from Grandma Jane. I’ll love following your blog and cheering your progress. My husband, with serious weight issues (+100; -100 over and over again) does his best with low carb and a good bike. Love to you and your family, Aunt Beth

    • Thanks for the Support Aunt Beth! I’m pretty sure if I just keep this up, I can get reasonably close to being as skinny as Dad, but I think it will take quite a bit of effort and self discipline.

  3. avatar

    Dear Brave Mike!
    Thank you for sharing your difficult journey through your wonderful writing.
    It can be such a vicious circle as we struggle to change ourselves, fail, crash, regroup and struggle again. I am recently learning to let this version of me be perfect even as I strive for a healthier life style. It has made my every day much more lovely…..
    Two thing came to mind as I read your shared story. We thought Uncle Hank (my husband) had planters facia (sp) and it turned out to be gout …completely controllable by diet in his case.
    I did a very satisfactory diet that taught me how food is processes in the body and why we eat & crave the things we do. The 5 Day Miracle Diet (terrible name!) by Adel Puhn, it probably isn’t published any more but I recommend it for the education. Her method of breaking the fast, eating often and protein at every meal has stayed with me long after the diet phase and I am much happier and healthier for it.
    SO proud of you Mike, for taking on the challenge, for sharing your story and for your persistence to recover your good health. What a wonderful example you are for your children and the rest of us too!
    Bless you!
    Auntie Mame

    • Thanks for your support Auntie Mame! I’ll see if I can find that book and check it out to see if I can incorporate some useful information from it.

  4. I too need to lose some weight and it is VERY important to stay positive. If you read books like “The Secret” and “you can heal your life” they tell you to “see” yourself as thin. Imagine that the imagine of you as a thin person IS current, IS you. They suggest looking at a picture of yourself when you were thin, (or a picture of your dream body) often.
    If you believe “DNA is very hard to fight” it will be!!! Chose to believe instead “losing weight is easy for me” “exercise is a joy” “I am safe”

    best of luck

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>