Feeling zippy

I've been working on getting back to my usual weight range and generally improving my level of fitness. Whereas my attempt to gain weight a couple of years ago entailed eating like a horse and playing couch potato, dropping the weight gained is taking a little more concentrated effort, particularly as my usually fast metabolism needs to be kicked back into action.

To help me along, I've been using one of the Fitbit products, the Zip. This wee device, which you attach to your clothing, preferably close to the skin, monitors your steps/movement to assess your level of activity and therefore give you an up-to-date picture of the calories you're burning.

Fitbit® Official Site: Flex, One and Zip Wireless Activity and Sleep Trackers

Whilst there are more sophisticated Fitbit and similar monitoring tools, I have found the Zip, in conjunction with the Fitbit application to be useful; and more than just a fancy pedometer. The data logged by the Zip is assessed by the companion application for 'active minutes'. The more active you are, the more it adjusts the calorie intake you need to make it through your day and still meet your weight loss, gain or maintenance goals.

I had already been warned by one of my friends about the impact of more active days when your calorie intake is low. As a school teacher, days at school are far more active than weekends and holidays and by sticking to the lower calorie threshold set by her diet, she ended up fainting a couple of times at work. She subsequently adjusted her intake to compensate and has continued to make excellent progress towards her health goals.

Where a device like the Zip is useful is actually reducing the guesswork about how much additional energy you need on those busy days, as well as when you should do an extra ten minutes on the exercycle for having had a more sedentary day playing computer games.

My use of the Fitbit app and the Zip has matured to include the use of the compatible MyFitnessPal app. This isn't a review of either application (a job for another day), but more a comment on how these automated logging tools can help you monitor and reach your goals.

Having found the value in this small piece of tech, I'm keen to upgrade to a device that tracks a little more. There are fitness monitors capable of tracking heart-rate and sleep, for example. Sleep being an important health factor for me, such a device would be useful for management of my physical and mental health.

Fitbit Zip is available at a wide variety of retailers for $99.95 NZD. Both the Fitbit (iOS, Android, Windows desktop, website) and MyFitnessPal (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, website) apps are free and can be used without a tracking device.
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