I am a 43-year-old, married mother of two. I had my children in my early 30s and was able to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty easily. My weight had stayed pretty level through my 30s, hovering around 135 despite my bad eating habits, until around 38 when the female metabolism typically starts to slow down. It snuck up on me at first. Then it was obvious I’d been gaining weight, but I still did nothing to help myself, so the weight gain continued. In November 2012 (the date of the picture on the right), I was just about to grow out of yet another size, and I’d had enough. I was 5′ 3″ and around 179 pounds. I started making small changes, but I wasn’t really serious yet.
January 2013 rolled around, and I made my annual “I’m going to lose weight” resolution, only this time I was ready to make some serious changes. My weight at that point was 174 pounds. I found MyFitnessPal via a news article about highly-rated weight loss apps. My intent was to do this the “right way” — I didn’t want to do a special diet that I couldn’t maintain long term, and I didn’t want to use any pills or gimmicks. I needed to do this in a way that would be healthy and sustainable, and I really believed that meant a combination of diet and exercise. The first step was a reset of my perception of food portions and how many calories were really in the food and drink I was consuming. MyFitnessPal made it easy to record intake and see at a glance how good or bad I was eating. And I could eat what I wanted, keeping my calorie goals in mind. That didn’t mean I could hit fast food every day, like I used to, but it did mean I could have it occasionally.
Not too far into this plan, my husband purchased a heart rate monitor that interfaced with an app on his phone. I thought it was a pretty cool gadget, and I borrowed his HRM a couple of times before deciding to purchase my own. I purchased the Polar H7 in early February, and I discovered it would interface with Fitdigits, which would then feed the information back to MyFitnessPal. Easy peasy! While it was a little depressing at first that the HRM showed fewer calories burned than my elliptical did, I felt it was better to have real data based on real effort than a result based on assumptions. Seeing clearly how many calories I was burning in Fitdigits allowed me to better determine how long I needed to work out. Or whether I need to step it up or dial it back a bit, depending on my heart rate and calories burned. I used it also to track my weight training.
In July, I started running. At first, I hated it! But I was very sore the next day, so it obviously worked different parts of my body than the elliptical did. That was probably a good thing, so I continued running. With Fitdigits, I could track my routes and know exactly how far I’d gone and how fast. Seeing my progress real-time motivates me to go just a little bit farther each time. Last weekend, I ran 6.25 miles straight! Considering I was “dying” less than 1/2 mile into my first run, that’s real progress.
Eventually, I added the Fitbit to the mix. It also interfaces seamlessly with MyFitnessPal, so it seemed like a no-brainer. My job has me sitting all day long, and knowing the Fitbit is tracking my steps motivates me to get up a little bit more during the day or move more at home at night.So we come to today. I’m around 124 pounds and feel like I have so much more energy than I used to. My BMI is firmly in the “normal” zone, which is such a great feeling. I also feel so much stronger. It’s amazing to me how far I’ve come from the couch potato of last December. I’ve lost 50 pounds since I got serious at the beginning of January and went from a size 16 (almost 18!) to a size 4/6. I’m not sure when I last wore size 4/6! My original goal was to lose 40 pounds, but once I got there, I knew I could continue. I’m currently in “maintenance mode” in MyFitnessPal, and I still exercise 4-6 times a week: elliptical/weight training during the week, and running on the weekends, using Fitdigits to track it all. My friends tell me I’m an inspiration to them, which makes me feel good.
I’m honestly not sure I could have made it this far without the help of technology. If I hadn’t been using the HRM and Fitdigits, I likely would have been overstating my calories from exercise, based either on what the elliptical told me or some generic formula found on the internet that can’t possibly know how hard I worked (or didn’t). Since the exercise allows me more calories in a day, that might have really slowed my progress (assuming I ate all the extra calories). I feel like I have a better handle on what I’m doing and what I need to do with the real-time feedback from Fitdigits.
The only downside to all of this has been the many shopping trips required for smaller clothes! New clothes are fun, sure, but somebody has to pay for them! Small price to pay for a healthier life, I suppose.