Exercise, Nutrition and Activity: The Weight Loss Triad

Losing weight is hard. I do not need to throw on a stethoscope and a white lab coat to break that news to you. It takes discipline, motivation, dedication and a game plan.

In order to execute without guessing all over the place, you need to gather information. Armed with the proper weapons in the battle vs. the bulge, you will be able to appropriately plan both how often you workout and what you eat. You might as well call Fitdigits the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden because we are straight dropping knowledge on all you information seekers.

We call it the Weight Loss Triad, formed via the perfect partnership between exercise, nutrition and activity. When properly utilized, you will be able to see the exact deficit between how many calories you eat and burn. For example, one pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories, meaning in order to lose an entire pound of fat you will need to burn 3500 more calories than you eat. If you want to burn a lb of fat every two weeks, that means on average you will need a caloric deficit of 250 calories a day. That is where the Triad comes in.

Exercise

Use Fitdigits to track all of your workouts. If you want the most accurate calorie count, it is essential to use a Heart Rate Monitor along with a Fitdigits Fitness Assessment. Now you will have custom heart rate zones and a Fitness level that will help get incredibly accurate caloric burn during workouts. Fitdigits also will act as the central data collecting hub for Nutrition and Activity Trackers.

Activity

Choose from one of the many Fitdigits compatible activity monitors to track your daily activity, so when you walk around the grocery store or do chores around the house, you will get credit for the steps you took and calories burned. Fitdigits is compatible with Fitbit, Jawbone, Misfit, Withings and Garmin Vivofit devices, as well as the apps that come with most iOS devices (Apple Health) or Android (Google Fit). You have quite a few options to work with, including those that are free with the phone you bought.

These trackers works great in conjunction with the workout data collected by Fitdigits. Begin by linking your Fitdigits account with your activity monitor. Now all of your Fitdigits and activity monitor calories will be collected in one spot. Don’t worry, you can wear your monitor while also recording with Fitdigits and the calories will not count twice.

Nutrition

The final piece of the equation is tracking nutrition with MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal takes inventory of everything you eat. Enter in your meals using MyFitnessPal’s enormous library of foods, and it will tell you how many calories you ingested. You can also set weight loss goals so that MyFitnessPal will instruct you on how many calories you can eat based on how much you are working out. If you already have linked Fitdigits to your activity tracker, then all you need to do is link your activity tracker account with MyFitnessPal.

We have found that linking Fitdigits with activity tracker, then the activity tracker with MyFitnessPal is the best way to link the three partners. If you try to link them a different way, problems will occur. For more details, read our blog post on Linking MyFitnessPal and Fitdigits.

With these three tools you are in the drivers seat when it comes to weight loss. All you need to do is turn the key, shift into drive and get started!

Click to download MyFitnessPal from the App Store

Click to download MyFitnessPal from the Google Play Store

Fitdigits Takes Personalized Cardio Fitness to a High-Tech Level by Alex Kacik, Noozhawk

By Alex Kacik, Noozhawk Business Writer | @NoozhawkBiz | Published on 06.16.2012 | Full Article

At one time, Michael Williams was a fit marathon runner. Over the course of several years, however, he grew to be about 50 pounds overweight while relying on an array of medications to treat high cholesterol, asthma, acid reflux and high blood pressure.

But a CBS series on obesity flipped a switch for him. The last segment concluded that the disease is socially contagious and sometimes, he said, there’s not a lot a person can do about it.

“That infuriated me,” he said. “I got up from the couch, ran to the bathroom and threw my inhaler in the trash. I got a heart-rate monitor, blood-pressure cuff and a weight scale. I’m a recovering CPA so I tracked all this stuff in Excel and figured out what caloric burn rate I needed to maintain to stay on my plan to lose 50 pounds in seven months.”

The hardest part wasn’t the exercise, it was tracking it, he said. So Williams started to implement a system that eventually turned into Fitdigits, a cloud-based data aggregation service that customizes workouts.

“It occurred to me that I had a running watch, the elliptical computer at the gym, a bike computer, a blood-pressure cuff, a weight scale and a heart monitor, and they were all these disparate computing devices,” he said. “If I bring all of that to one place and track all that automatically for people, then I could provide people a dashboard for healthy living.”

Read the full article at: http://www.noozhawk.com/article/061612_fitdigits_cardio_fitness/

Fitdigits president and CEO Dean Hovey discusses the company’s cloud-based fitness data aggregation service at a Santa Barbara Mobile Meetup at the Synergy Business & Technology Center.

Using Fitdigits and Fitbit to Lose Weight and Get Healthy

Testimonial by Fitdigits user Dave H.

I’ve always enjoyed riding my bicycle, and have done so off and on for years. But I was never in really good shape. I wasn’t’ able to ride very fast and I never really knew how to get better at it without spending a lot of money on a trainer or classes. Especially during the winter, it was hard to keep up with biking. Plus, most of my day is spent sitting in front of a computer, since I work in IT. Not a good combination, for sure. As I’ve gotten older, my blood pressure has been slowly going up and my gut has been getting bigger, so finally, I decided that it was time to do something about it.

I had an older Garmin unit, but was in need of something better so started checking out the iPhone apps. Around Christmas of 2011, I found Fitdigits, and being a geek, thought it looked pretty cool. I didn’t want to have to use multiple devices while riding, and Fitdigits allowed me to get down to just one. Just my iPhone, for tracking all my stats and my route; listen to my own music mixes, and get calls and email without needing to stop and pull out some other device. It’s all there in one.

Customizing the screens to see the stats I want while riding and sync it all so I can access it online is another thing I love about it. And it worked with all the Garmin gear I already had, so no need to get more equipment or pay $400-500 for a new Garmin unit. I can also easily go from riding indoors with my bike stand, to outdoors on the road, and it’s still all in one place. How awesome is all of that?

Fitbit and Fitdigits work together seamlessly at My Fitdigits to show calories burned, distance and total activity.

Pretty quickly, I found out about the ability to link with Fitbit and so my wife and I decided to buy one for each other for Valentines Day. It’s been a permanent part of our daily lives ever since. Now, after only a few months of using these, my blood pressure has gotten better, my gut has shrunk, I feel better and look a lot better and my biking stamina, speed and strength are all improving. We also use the Withings scale and blood pressure monitor and are able to track everything in one place at My Fitdigits.

My wife and I both love using it and the combination of Fitdigits with Fitbit has been amazing, helping us to be more aware of how much activity we can get into our day just by taking the stairs or walking a bit more, for example. And I’ve gotten my wife into biking, now too, so we are both using Fitdigits to track it all. The combination of using Fitbit for daily activity and Fitdigits for my workouts has helped me burn more calories and makes it easier to reach my goals.

Without a doubt, getting the Fitdigits app has helped both my wife and I take a huge step forward in improving our lives and our health. We watch what we eat, exercise more and are much happier overall. Thanks for developing this app! We both love it!

I'm using Fitdigits Connect, Garmin Heart Strap, Fitbit, Withings Body Scale and Blood Pressure Monitor.

Your Stories: When Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

Often, I feel incredibly lucky working for Fitdigits. It’s very rewarding to be able to inspire and help people get healthy through fitness. I’m regularly moved by users who made difficult life-changing choices to exercise and improve diet to overcome health-related issues or to simply improve their quality of life. When ordinary people achieve extraordinary things.

It’s true that these changes help Fitdigits users live longer, more healthier lives but that’s not really why I enjoy it. For me, it’s seeing the excitement, confidence and pride that comes from the weeks/months/years of sweat and hard work. During that time, users push themselves to exercise harder, longer and keep it going despite the daily events of life. And the positive affects almost always carry over into other aspects of life.

One user, who lost 55 pounds, was so excited to tell me that she had completed the “Beachbody Insanity” program twice. I didn’t understand this accomplishment until I tried it for myself. Another user reported that she convinced her doctor to allow her to lower her blood pressure through exercise and diet instead of medicine. These stories and many more illustrate the extraordinary changes that Fitdigits users are accomplishing each day.

If you have been working hard to lose weight or trying to improve your overall health and fitness, send us an email. If you have tried out a new exercise program and love it, share it. If you just finished your first 5K or half marathon, share it. We want to use your story to inspire the 68% of overweight Americans and the 1/3 of overweight worldwide population to get healthy through fitness.

Email me at kelly.lazarus@fitdigits.com.

Sources: Worldwatch Institute, Voice of America, Center for Disease Control.

I Don’t Diet. I Exercise and Lead an Active Lifestyle.

Testimonial by Fitdigits user, Loren C.

After gaining 30 pounds last year due to various stresses in my life, I decided that I needed to lose weight. On August 10, 2011, I weighed 252 lbs, which was 67 pounds overweight. I decided to join Team Weight Loss at Lifetime Fitness in the Bloomington North facility.

Loren at Lifetime Fitness

Part of its program is journaling what you consume and your exercise. However, I had a problem keeping the journal up to date because I did not carry it everywhere with me. I was using the polar heart strap and watch, but started to experience problems. I decided to start searching for heart monitor alternatives.

I carry my iPhone with me all the time, so I started looking for apps that would help. I found MyFitnessPal, which took care of the journaling. I kept looking for ways to use polar with my iPhone, but I never found a solution. Then I found Fitdigits. Fitdigits is an iPhone app that uses a transceiver (Fitdigits Connect) that plugs into the dock connector of the iPhone. I upgraded to the Garmin Premium Heart Rate Monitor which uses ANT+ technology to communicate with Fitdigits and picked up the transceiver, too.

Once equipped with Fitdigits, I was able to track my food diary (MyFitnessPal) and my exercise progress. I also wanted to make sure that my heart rate zones were accurate, so I had a CardioPoint* fitness test. The information from the CardioPpoint was uploaded to the NewLeaf website. Fitdigits synchronizes with NewLeaf and downloads the heart rate zones into the phone.

I am an information junkie. The data feedback that Fitdigits provides helps me track my progress. I get to see my heart rate during my workouts. Not only that but the information from those workouts is share with NewLeaf, Facebook and friends. I can see that I am making progress and I can quantify that against my program. I am not on a diet, but I have made significant changes to my lifestyle that have improved my overall health and fitness. I am still enjoying the occasional beer, but I am more conscious of the effects it has on my fitness program

Working Hard Using Fitdigits

I added a FitBit to my program on January 30th, 2012. This tracks all of my movement throughout the day. The wonderful thing about the Fitbit system is that the website awards you badges for your level of daily activity. When I look at my total activity for the day I am always motivated to do just a little more activity in order to get the next badge. At first I was reaching 50 floors in a day, but then I wanted to see if I could get to 100 floors in a day. Then I tried for 150 floors. Then 200 floors. When we had our first warm day of the spring in Minneapolis I wanted to go reach another achievement level for the paces per day. I was able to get to 40,209, which allowed me to receive highest badge you can receive in a single day, the 40,000 pace badge. The trail system in the Minneapolis/St. Paul is excellent. I have been making use of it and will be continuing the use of the trails throughout the spring and summer.

I started in August 2011. As of March 8, 2012, I have lost 30 lbs and have 35 more to go.

*CardioPoint is a cardiovascular fitness test available at Lifetime Fitness that determines key cardiovascular training markers including anaerobic threshold, aerobic base and V02. It identifies optimal heart rate zones and the best zone for the most effective exercise. It also provides a more accurate caloric burn formula.

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

We love this video and the message behind it. Thank you, Dr. Mike Evans, for creating a wonderfully informational and entertaining video that communicates the message that exercise and walking is not only necessary, it’s good for you!

I lost Over 55 Pounds and Still Going with Fitdigits and Fitbit

Testimonial by Lisa B.

In January 2011, I decided that I really needed to do something about my weight. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but I was 260 pounds and only 5 feet 2 inches. I was huge to say the least. So, started trying to watch what I ate and started walking on January 28, 2011. I had only lost 10 pounds by June. But I was trying…

I was talking with a co-worker about my struggles losing weight because his doctor had told him he had to lose weight. He had been searching the internet and told me about a site he found called Fitdigits.com. He was thinking about getting it for his iPhone. Well, I was already walking and trying to track my eating, I thought that Fitdigits would get me going in the right direction. I got the Fitdigits and off I went.

Little did I know how motivated Fitdigits would get me. With buying the Garmin Heart Rate Monitor and Fitdigits Connect ANT+ Dongle, I was seeing the calories I burned and it made me want to do even more. So I thought I should read more of what Fitdigits had on the site and I found my beloved Fitbit. Got my Fitbit on June 20th and I have not looked back. It lets me track my food calorie intake, steps I take each day, my sleep, calories I burned, weight, body fat, and more. This really got me motivated even more.

At the end of 2010 I had brought the INSANITY workout, but had not even tried to do it. Now with Fitdigits and Fitbit I could see the burn and see the calories I was eating and I had lost 10 pounds by July 4, 2011. The same amount I had worked so hard (or thought I had) over 5 months. I have completed INSANITY only twice and I am halfway done with my 3 third time.

The truth is that I have not been a wonderful dieter or change of food eater. I still have my hamburgers and fries, but I don’t drink soda anymore because Fitbit has a place to put the water you drink too! But because of Fitdigits and Fitbit, I have lost over 55 pounds so far and I have worked out over 195 times. This third time through INSANITY I am watching my food close on Fitbit and getting as many steps in as I can, so I can lose more for my upcoming trip to Walt Disney World in June.

The photo when I was in Walt Disney World from 2008 I think I may have actually been 10 pounds lighter then when I started Fitdigits and Fitbit. I always wear my Fitbit during my workouts. Scary, I already look like I might be half the size of my before picture and I am farther from the camera. By the way, my body fat when I started was 54%, I am about 41% now and still going.

As with my iPhone, I never leave home without my Fitbit. I’ve become so addicted to Fitdigits’s app and Fitbit I can’t believe it. Brandon was extremely helpful and responded very fast when my Fitbit went blank and I thought I would go crazy, but it was a very simple fix. Boy was I relieved when I found it was a quick fix, because I was already thinking about ordering another one so I would not have to wait. But I ordered a newer one anyway because it has the stair counter and guess what, now I try to do all the stairs I see too. I like too on the new Fitbit in the morning mine says: “Lisa…I’m ready…” It reminds me to start getting my steps and stairs in and that I need to work out with Fitdigits to get the most calorie burn. I did have an issue, but as Fitdigits has proven, they do reply in as timely a manner as possible and do care about its products as much as I do!

Keep at it, with the help of Fitdigits you can do it and you don’t need a gym!

5 Ways to Get Your Metabolism Moving

Most people know the basic principles of how to lose weight. If you eat right and exercise, you will eventually lose weight. While it is true there are no shortcuts to losing weight, there are ways to accelerate the process. One of these ways is to keep your metabolism firing on all cylinders. Here are 5 tips to keep your metabolism moving:

1. Make Sure to Eat!
One mistake people make when trying to lose weight fast is that they look at nutrition as black and white. If calories consumed are less than calories burned, than the weight will just melt off, some believe you are better off just skipping a few meals. This is a very unhealthy approach and often short lived. What you eat and when you eat are very important. The key to losing weight is to keep your metabolism moving as fast as possible and eating 5 (or more) small meals daily to put your metabolism into hyper-drive. Breakfast is the most important, as it will wake your body from its 8-10 hour fast (break the fast=breakfast) and get your blood and metabolism pumping. For a five meals a day plan, Livestrong outlines both healthy and delicious choices.

2. Overdose on Green tea

Drink Green Tea to Increase Your Metabolism and Burn Fat

Green tea is a gift handed down from the heavens to save us all from the perils of poor health…it is the golden elixir that can cure illness with one sip..it is the liquid embodiment of all that is good…

Hyperbole aside, green tea is one of the best substances you can put into your body. According to WebMD, Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and recent studies show that green tea can help battle cancer, reduce your risk of coronary disease, and battles obesity. Not only will the caffeine help speed up your metabolism, but properties found in green tea will lower blood pressure and cholesterol. WebMD goes on to say,

“Taken altogether, the evidence certainly suggests that incorporating at least a few cups of green tea every day will positively affect your health,” says Diane McKay, PhD, a Tufts University scientist who studies antioxidants. “It’s not going to cure anything and it shouldn’t be consumed as a drug, but it can complement the rest of the diet.”

Dr. McKay, that is good enough for me!

3. Gulp Down Ice Water
Drinking plenty of water is a great way to control your appetite. The next time you are hungry, try drinking 20 ounces of water and then see how hungry you are! According to Livestrong, drinking cold or ice water will actually help you burn calories and speed your metabolism.

As most people know, the human bodies’ temperature is 98.6, and everything we put into our bodies have to be converted to this temperature. Therefore, when you drink very cold water, your body must expend energy to heat it up. Drinking ice water will have your body burning calories and losing weight without expending additional physical effort.

4. Spice Things Up

Add Hot Sauce to Any Meal To Burn More Calories and Suppress Your Appetite

Adding some hot sauce to your meals is a great way to get your metabolism into overdrive. According to Fitday.com,

“Studies have shown that a spicy meal, such as a bowl of chili, can provide a temporary rise in metabolism of about 8% greater than a person’s typical metabolic rate.”

Along with increasing your metabolism, spicy food has also been shown be an appetite suppressant. So sprinkle some Cholula on your eggs, Tapatio on your sandwich, Tabasco on some popcorn or Sriracha on a chicken breast.

5. Pump Some Iron
Lifting weights is effective for weight loss because not only will your metabolism be working hard during activity, but will continue to burn calories long after your workout is over. According to AskMen.com,

“Cardiovascular exercises will raise muscle metabolism during the activity and for a short time after the exercise session. Weight training, on the other hand, will raise your muscle metabolism during the exercise session — and for a long time after the exercise session. Some high intensity trainers have even seen their metabolism rise for several days following their training session.”

With that being said, do not ditch cardio entirely, as it is an important aspect to staying fit. Merely mix in some weight training to optimize your metabolism.

It Won’t Happen To Me – My Lifestyle Changes after a Heart Attack

Testimonial by user Brian Y.

Most of us have seen the Bayer Aspirin TV ad where the person tells you that they had a heart attack. In almost all cases they will tell you, they had no warning or symptoms. Like most, I did not believe that you could not know, yet that is my story. On June 2nd this year at age 54, I had a major heart attack. I had no symptoms leading up to the event and although my blood work numbers were not good, they were not such that anyone said anything.

I woke that morning at the normal time just like every other workday. It had been a restful fun long Memorial Day weekend and I knew there were lots to do at the office. Various symptoms were in progress. I will not go into the details but I knew after 10 minutes that I was having a heart attack as it felt like my chest was going to burst. Nevertheless, unlike the commercial, I knew what was going on and we drove immediately to the hospital. Well not immediately, as there was some heated discussion about calling 911 but I wanted to go on my own. Made it less stressful (not sure why).

I checked into the emergency room at 5:57 AM and by 8:30 AM, I had been transported to a cardiac unit at another hospital and had stents installed to open two clogged arteries.

Now comes the awakening. Lifestyle changes! My bucket list: new rules, 1600 mg of sodium a day, exercise, lose weight and my biggest question was “could I get back to Scuba diving and if so when?”

The doctors told me to lose some weight with no real guidelines. I am 6’2″ and started at 228.6 lbs. Not fat but like a typical middle-aged male I had love handles and a gut (although not from beer) just purely out of shape. Like most, I always had good intentions of maintaining an exercise routine but somehow it always was last on the list. My first impression was that it would be hard to find anything to eat and I would be starving all the time. The first few weeks were the hardest. Our first grocery-shopping trip took three plus hours to go through the store as we had to read every label for sodium content. No, I am not starving – just eating healthier. No more processed food in the diet. The general rule, if it has a barcode on the package – it is out. It costs more and takes more time to prepare the fresh food. I also am working to averages. I do track my input very seriously and I have one day a month where I do not count the numbers and enjoy myself.

With all this data pouring in and knowing I still had lots to do in my life, my epiphany came. If I want to complete more items on the bucket list then I had to change. My other motivating factor was I was told that to back to diving it would require I pass a stress test in October.

I knew that to make all this happen would require commitment and the right equipment. Being in the technology business and loving to do research – off I went. My goal was to find a heart rate monitor and app for my iPhone. My heart rate would play an important factor in getting back to diving. Like everything else I do, I wanted one device with all the applications so it was all in one place.

My search led me to Fitdigits ANT+ interface to a Garmin Heart Rate belt. I ordered the hardware and received my package in a few days. I downloaded the app from iTunes and we were off.

The application has been through major changes since the original load in late June. The new more intuitive interface is great. The best new feature is the slide to pause feature as on the older version it kept being paused while in my pocket on the walk.

I use the application to track weight, heart rate and blood pressure. I do use another application to track sodium and calorie intake.

Now almost 4 months later I am down 31 lbs, with an average sodium intake of <1300 per day walking 45 minutes per day and other cardio for 15 minutes most days. Being able to track my heart rate and determine the zones as I walk was instrumental in achieving my goals. Especially with a stress test looming ahead, I wanted to know if I could pass or not. Using the Fitdigits to gradually increase my levels I was able to achieve my goal earlier than anticipated and was able to go back to diving without a stress test. At my last appointment with the cardiologist, I was encouraged when he explained that if my numbers continued to look this way he may be able to reduce my meds starting in February. Stents, Hospital Stay & heart Medications - Unspeakable $$$ Fitdigits w/Software - $65 Control of my Health - Priceless

The Fastest Way to Lose 5, 10 or 20 Pounds

I read a great article in Women’s Health Magazine which explains that all workouts are not created equal. The bottom line: choose your workouts based on your goal. The article not only offers an explanation, it outlines the workout routine for each goal. Read the full article “How to lose 5, 10 or 20 pounds” by Lara Rosenbaum. I’ve highlighted a few key points below.

To Lose 20 pounds: “The more you weight, the more calories you burn during easier workouts, like brisk walking. So a small, consistent effort will help you shed pounds early on and seeing those quick results will motivate you to stay on track.” See the fitness routine.

To Lose 10 pounds: “Strength training is key. Adding resistance builds muscle and helps you burn more calories during (and after!) your workout. In fact, researchers found that women who did strength training increased their resting metabolic rate (the calories your body needs to get through the day).” See the fitness routine.

To Lose 5 pounds: “The hardest goal of all to achieve. A surefire solution: plyometrics. These explosive moves are great muscle builders, get your heart rate up, and work multiple muscles at a time—all of which leads to an extreme calorie burn.” See the fitness routine.

I shared this article with Dr. Fitdigits (Brandon) who has a lot of experience with weight lifting and Brandon concurs, “When you have a lot of weight to lose but not much muscle, it’s best to start with body weight exercise. If you already have muscle but still need to lose that last few pounds, quick movements (plyometrics) instead of lifting heavy weights is the best way to go.”

To track heart rate and caloric burn for these workouts, set your Fitdigits heart rate monitor to Cardio. Let us know if this advice has helped you.