Anyone who has made an effort to lose weight and get in shape knows that it can be quite the challenge. In theory it’s so simple – eat healthier, cut out some calories and exercise. But in practice it’s all a little more complicated. How many calories should you be eating? How much exercise do you need to reach your goals? How do you get motivated on those days when you’re just not feeling it?
Losing a bit of weight and getting fit are two of my biggest goals for the year. Since January I’ve been making an effort to make better food choices and get up off the couch. I bought an inexpensive pedometer and made it a goal to reach 10,000 steps each day and most days I get there. Without too much effort, I dropped about five pounds. Then I hit a standstill. Frustration was setting in, so I jumped at the opportunity to test out a BodyMedia FIT Armband, a wearable device that is designed to eliminate the guesswork and help you get results.
The BodyMedia Armband is designed to be worn up to 23 hours a day, and syncs with your computer via USB cable. Using four sensors, the armband measures motion, heat flux, skin temperature and galvanic skin response. These measurements are used to track calorie burn, physical activity, steps taken and even your sleep duration and efficiency. You can view your activity as well as track your food consumption via the online Activity Manager, giving you a full picture of your daily calorie intake and expenditure.
There are two armband models to choose from, each with its own benefits. The CORE Armband is sleeker, 1/3 smaller in size. The LINK Armband is Bluetooth enabled, to deliver real time data to your mobile device via the BodyMedia FIT App for Android and iOS. I opted for the LINK Armband as the Bluetooth capability was very appealing to me.
Getting started with the BodyMedia FIT system is fairly simple. Log into the online Activity Manager and enter some basic information including your gender, height and weight. You can then choose a goal: Lose Weight, Maintain Weight or Get Active. I set my goal as weight loss and soon I had a plan for losing 1.5 lbs a week: a personalized calorie target and an activity goal to help reach a daily 750 calorie deficit. Seeing my results on a daily basis has been very motivational for me, I’m driven to reach that daily activity target.
It does take a bit of time to get used to wearing the armband day and night. I feel a little self-conscious wearing the armband out in public, though this is a small price to pay for fitness. That said, the armband wouldn’t be my first choice accessory for a little black dress and I do have a few long sleeved shirts for layering that simply won’t fit comfortably with the armband on. Fortunately the weather is warming up and casual tees and tank tops will be my uniform for months.
Having used several other websites to track my food intake in the past, I’ve been spoiled by the their extensive food databases. I was unable to find many of the foods I eat on a regular basis in the system and entering all of the calorie and nutrition values can be time consuming. The good news is that once you enter a food into the system, it will always be there for future use.
There is no doubt that I’m getting a much clearer picture of my physical activity with the armband than I was before. Where before I was simply focused on reaching the 10,000 step mark, now I can see the difference it makes in calorie burn when I walk faster or run. I don’t have to guess how many calories I’m burning when I torture myself with a Jillian Michaels video. I have noticed that the step count I get on the armband is not accurate. Wearing both the armband and a pedometer which I know to be accurate resulted in big discrepancies. I’m not sure if this is to be expected from the armbands in general or just something off with mine. Being that the goal here is calories burned and not steps taken, this isn’t a dealbreaker.
The BodyMedia FIT LINK Armband retails from $179 from the BodyMedia website and at retailers including Amazon.com. Included with the armband is a three month subscription for the online Activity Manager, a subscription fee of $6.95 will be billed monthly thereafter.
If you are serious about losing weight and getting fit, a BodyMedia Armband is definitely worth a look. You may find that it’s worth the investment.
Disclosure: I was provided with a BodyMedia FIT Armband and trial subscription for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own.