Josh Lost 200+ lbs With the Help of Fitdigits!

Testimonial by Fitdigits User Josh L.

I am an unabashed Who Dat (New Orleans Saints fan, to clarify for those who don’t know what that is) with a very French last name that has South Louisiana written all over it. I love being from the bayous of Louisiana, and I’m proud to be part of such a rich culture. The history, the people, and the football are all things we are extremely proud of down here. But if you polled the rest of the world, the one thing that would stand out as our claim to fame would have to be the food. We learn at a very early age how to make gumbo and jambalaya, boil crawfish, pot-fry rabbit, fry seafood and just generally excite your salivary glands. Whether it’s tailgating at a Saints game, or feeding a camp full of folks, we do food.

All this attention to food served me well in my younger days while I was still a participant in the sport I grew up loving, football. I weighed about 320 lbs at the time and, as a lineman, it was welcomed heft. But as my days on gridiron ended, and I kept my heft-centric diet, I got bigger, and bigger. I topped out at over 400 lbs. about 2 years ago. I got to a point where I felt concerned about my health (duh! I know, but down here I was just another big guy…which has a lot to do with why coronary artery disease is so common here). So I made a commitment to myself: we are going to drop some damn poundage!

As I followed through on this commitment to myself, and weight began to come off, I began to feel better, lighter, even athletic. And, I wanted to use this rediscovered athleticism. But how?

My wife and I spend our weekends in New Orleans. We love being in the city, and there is a race there called the Crescent City Classic (a.k.a. The CCC) that appealed to me. But it’s a 10k! That’s 6.1 miles! After some initial trepidation, I sold myself on the idea that I could get it done. This is when I began searching for an app to help me get started. I went through several, but couldn’t find one that really satisfied me once I was past the initial phase of starting. I didn’t know what I wanted, I just knew what I had wasn’t it. Then, one day I downloaded Fitdigits.

Everything about this app I liked! The dashboard was brightly colored, and easy to read mid-run. I loved the voice that would talk to me to let me know how far I had been, how many calories I had burned, how long I had been running, and my current and average pace. And the fact that I could customize how and when she (my Fitdigits voice is female, also a choice) spoke was just another thing I didn’t realize I wanted, but once I had it I loved it. This was awesome! Having these tangible results helped me to really hone in on the specifics of how my new body was performing. In tracking and reviewing my results, I was able gauge my gains in running. I barley finished that first 10k, but I did, with a time of 1:50:00.

As the pounds came off, I wanted more. And having these results enticed me to research, and compare myself to runners who do it for a living, just to see. In doing that, I had a food epiphany: if I want my Fitdigits results to get better, I should adopt the plant based lifestyle that every single runner I read about has. And being part of a heavy-drinking, heft-inducing culture, this was difficult to say the least. But Fitdigits was quantifying my efforts, my results. And as I saw the results get better and better, I wanted to be a runner even more! It dawned on me that I could, at the age of 34 be an athlete again. Football is not the only sport on the planet. Blaspheme!, right? I know, but I was changing my whole everything. I could still enjoy my football as a spectator in the New Orleans Superdome on Sundays, and be a actual participant in my new sport, running, the rest of the time.

My new nutrition and lifestyle, along with the tangible results I have recorded with my Fitdigits app., have made me into a runner. I no longer resemble that 320lbs 10k finisher hopeful, or that 320lbs lineman of my youth. I am now a lean, mean 204lbs athlete (I feel more like an athlete now than I did in college playing football) whose new participation sport is running. I completed my first half-marathon on October 12th this year with a time of 2:13:10. In my training for that half-marathon (the Jazz Half, btw. The results are on their website- and my Fitdigits app, of course.), I have inspired others by sharing my Fitdigits results on social media to begin running as well. The first thing I usually say is “get the Fitdigits app, and just start running” when someone asks how to get started.

Being able to quantify my efforts, share, and exhibit marked improvement along the way has been priceless for me in this journey. I am training for my first marathon now, and I post my results of my runs almost daily. One can just flick through my Facebook page or Instagram profile and see from where I’ve come. Fitdigits has empowered me in ways I never thought an app could.

Thank you!

Confessions of a Daily Weight Taker

Author Christopher Means

Part II of “Should I weigh myself everyday

OK, so maybe you shouldn’t weigh yourself every day. That’s the premise many trainers use, and the subject of another blog post here. But I lean the other way… so I wanted to give yet another perspective. It may not work for you, but it does for me.

You see, I’ve been a distance runner / jogger for many years. That used to be enough to keep my weight in check. However, slowly but surely, over the years the pounds kept adding on. This year I finally said enough! I was ready to stop the progression.

I set a goal to lose 10 pounds.

Set a Goal via MVP ProgramWhen I set a goal, which you can now do with the Fitdigits apps, I want to see progress. I want to understand how things change.

I started weighing myself regularly. It started as just a couple times a week, but sometimes got to the every day habit. More than a few times, I weighed myself multiple times a day – sometimes to see how my weight fluctuated due to workouts, food, salt, etc. Let me tell you – it can fluctuate a LOT! I had a full 8-pound fluctuation in one day after starting the day with a nice workout, but ending with a massive sushi splurge (salt and carb/protein bomb anyone?). Overall, however, I take my weight first thing in the morning after a little coffee and the bathroom. Sound familiar?

I didn’t have a date I wanted to lose the weight by, but over time, I did start to see some trends. When I pigged out on ice cream and sweets late at night, that had a detrimental effect on my weight in the morning, sometimes up to 2 pounds or more. Ugh. No more chips and salsa late night? How sad!

I also started to realize that after a short workout (3 miles / 25 minutes or so) I’d lose a pound or two. All water obviously, a good reason why we always talk about the need to hydrate after workouts! It could be as many as 5-6 pounds on a long run (12+ miles).

Fat and lean mass % also fluctuates regularly. A couple percent here and there on a given day or even intra-day isn’t unusual. I’ve never seen really large (5% or more) fluctuations over a limited time period, but certainly a few % here and there in a given day or even week.

In the end, weighing myself every day, even multiple times a day, helped. I recognized that:

  • Fluctuations happen. Over a single day, hours, or even a workout. And they can be significant.
  • Late night snacks were killing the rest of my efforts. I can still remember the first couple nights where I told myself “no – no snacks tonight!” Had I not seen how they were killing my morning weight, I might not have cut them out.
  • More consistent, lower miles/time efforts worked better for me than longer, but less often, workouts.
  • Being active during the day helps a bit too – walks help (Fitbit helps with this, though Fitdigits Walks are another great way to track). In a single day, not so much, but over a week, it helps. Over a month, it helps a lot!

Overall, don’t sweat the small stuff. Big stuff, when you know what big stuff actually is, and what it means – that is reason to sweat. But sweat through effort and self control, not through stress, especially over weight. Oh – and try not to pig out too often on sushi or other favs –and limit the late night snacks. That helps too.  10 pounds, and less of a stomach, are mighty fine rewards.

Weight loss

PS – most weight scales that measure body fat also have a setting for “normal” and “athlete” – if you ever want to see that you have much lower body fat, simply set it to “athlete” – that will knock quite a few % of body fat with the flip of a switch! You got to love that!

Should I Weigh Myself Everyday? Part I


It is a question everyone trying to lose or gain weight struggles with. Should you weigh yourself everyday, and if not, how often should you weigh in?

In part one of two, we argue that weighing yourself twice per week is more ideal for evaluating your weight over time as opposed to weighing in everyday. To understand your weight fluctuations and what you might want to look at and consider, we offer a few suggestions.

Understanding Your Weight Changes

Evaluating your weight over time allows you to identify your natural weight fluctuations, which are normal and happen everyday. These weight fluctuations can be caused by a variety of factors, including eating a large meal, excess salt intake, water retention, constipation, hormonal changes or even a sweaty workout. All of the aforementioned causes of weight fluctuations can lead to an increase or decrease of five pounds in a single day! If you hop on the scale only to find you have gained five pounds since yesterday and you didn’t consume an extra 11,500 calories (one pound = 3500 calories), your extra three pounds is not likely fat mass. But how can you be sure?

Always Weigh Yourself at the Same Time Each Day

To take out some of those inter-day fluctuations, always weigh yourself at the same time of day. Withings recommends weighing yourself within 30 minutes after waking up in the morning to avoid the wild swings that occur during the day due to diet, digestion and physical activity.

Check Your Body Composition

There is more to your weight than just the number of pounds. To understand your weight gain or loss, it’s necessary to also measure the changes in your body composition and how much fat and lean mass you are carrying. Weight scales like the Withings Smart Body Analyzer measure both.

Lean mass is the weight of everything in your body but fat and includes your bones, organs, muscle, skin, hair, nails, waste and fluids. Women should have 75-78 percent lean mass to be considered healthy ,while men should have 82-85 percent lean mass. Lean mass can also be expressed in pounds, and can be affected by eating a big meal, drinking a lot of liquid, and constipation.

Fat mass is the portion of your body consisting of fat and is divided into two categories: essential fat and storage fat. Essential fat is necessary for normal, healthy function. Storage fat is the fat that accumulates below the skin when your calorie intake (diet) is greater than caloric burn (exercise), which results in unhealthy weight gain. When weight gain becomes excessive, your risk for developing heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and even certain cancers can increase.

Understanding the Changes

Weight gain and loss, including lean and fat mass, fluctuate based your diet, activity, and digestion. Theoretically, drinking a glass of water or a long workout can affect your lean mass.

If you are strength training, you should expect to see your weight increase over time because muscle weighs more than fat. However, to be sure you are gaining muscle and not fat, your lean mass should increase while your fat mass decreases.

If you are exercising to lose weight, you should expect your weight to decrease over time; fat mass should also decrease as your lean mass increases.

If you are training for an endurance event, your weight may stay the same or could increase as your body adds muscle. Additionally, your lean mass should increase while fat mass decreases.

See the body fat examples in the graphic below to further understand how fat mass affects the body.

Conclusion

Watching your weight changes over time is more important than watching the daily fluctuations. If you weight yourself more than two times per week, be sure to pay attention to your weight and fat and lean mass changes overtime, and understand there will be minor fluctuations in between. My.Fitdigits.com shows a great “trend line” over time in the Weight section that can help show the true path you are on, and take out some of those day-to-day anomalies.

In Part 2, we will outline why it may be a good idea to weight yourself daily

Set and Crush Goals with Fitdigits

Set different goalsSet Goals for Fitdigits AppsFitdigits now offers the ability to create health and fitness goals over a variety of metrics.  Whether you want to lose 25 pounds in the course of a year or be able to walk 1,000 extra steps each week, Fitdigits has got you covered.

To create a goal, tap Menu > Goals from within the app, or go to my.fitdigits.com and select Goals from the main navigation.

You can set weekly, monthly or annual goals based on distance, duration, steps, calorie burn, or weight.

Distance Goal

To set a distance goal based on a workout type, select the Distance option on the set goal menu. Enter in the number of miles (or KM if you are set in Metric units) you would like to travel over the given time frame. Next, select the workout type with which you would like to track distance and the source you would like to use. Click/tap Create.

Duration Goal

To set up a Duration goal, select the Duration option on the set goal menu. Enter in the total time in minutes that you want to workout. Next, select the workout type you would like to apply for tracking duration. If you want to set a goal for all activity types, select Any Activity. Select the source you would like to use for the goal, and click/tap Create.

Set a steps goalSteps Goal

To set a Steps based goal, select Steps from the set goal menu. Enter in the number of steps you would like to complete in the given period. Next, select “measure with” options. If you are linked with Fitbit or other daily activity provider like Apple Health or Google Fit, you should be able to track this goal with that device.

Weight Goal

To set a Weight based goal, select Weight on the set goal menu. Enter in your current weight (lbs in U.S. and kg in Metric units) and the weight you would like to reach. You can then opt to lose a number of pounds in the given period based on goal time frame. For instance, if you want to lose 20 pounds, you can create a monthly goal to lose 5 pounds. Your goal is set once you click/tap Create!

Calorie Goal

To set a Calorie based goal based on a workout type, select Caloric Burn on the set goal menu. Enter in the amount of calories you would like to burn in the given time period; for instance, if this is a monthly goal, enter in the amount of calories you would want to burn for the month. Next, select the workout type for which you would like to see calories apply. Click/tap Create to begin!
Steps Goal Detail

Seeing Your Progress & Results

You can see your goal progression on either the online portal or your app. You can see the current time period progress as well as a historical view showing how you did in past weeks/months/years.

Setting a Favorite Goal

To set a single selected goal as your “Favorite” goal, which will then show up on the top of the main goals listing and in banners and different display areas throughout, on the desktop web, tap into the specific goal then tap the star icon (see below).

 

 

Deleting / Removing a Goal

To delete a goal from your goals section, tap into the goal details and at the bottom tap “Remove”.

Fitdigits Helped Me Transform My Life

Last year I made the decision to finally do something about the weight that I’d slowly gained over the last ten years. I’d gone from finishing triathlons to finishing donuts in record time and knew it was time to change.

I started my journey by teaming up with a co-worker to follow a popular diet program our employer sponsored. This took me down about twenty pounds where I determined it was time to really get serious. Another good friend challenged me to compete with him in a small sprint distance triathlon in four months. This was the catalyst that brought me to Fitdigits.

I had purchased a Wahoo Blue HR heart rate monitor to get more from my workouts but was unimpressed with their app and after much research found Fitdigits. Using the customization available with Fitdigits I’ve been able to tailor my workouts and reach a new level of fitness.

Since the beginning of my journey I’ve lost 50 pounds and completed not only the sprint triathlon but also my first half and full marathon! I fit in clothes I haven’t seen in over a decade and feel fantastic. I can now go out on a ride, run or even snowshoe straight up a mountain and not get winded or be holding the group back. I’ve reached a level I thought was years behind me, never to be attained again. The Fitdigits app also has allowed me to not only record and track my progress but to share it as well and challenge others through partner tracking sites like Strava® and RunKeeper®.

My heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone that helps bring this awesome product to users like me and the transformative power it can have on our lives.

53 and In The Best Shape of My Life

Hi I’m Greg and I’m 53 yrs old. I have 3 adult children and 5 Grand Kids with #6 due in September 2012! I am a Materials Manager, which lends itself to a very sedentary work environment, not only that but there have been many lunch and dinner opportunities as well. I bit too many…

In my early 30’s I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and was put on medications to control it. In my early 40’s I was told I was Insulin Intolerant and would need to start on medications for that condition as well! I tried modifying my diet somewhat and added cardio in the form of treadmill work, but still my numbers were not that good. I was headed down the wrong path and something needed to change. My Dad was Type I diabetic and suffered the consequences due to his poor management. I could see what lie in my future if I did not take steps to correct my behaviors.

In November of 2009 at 49 I started weightlifting again after 30 years. I was weak, out of shape and my body could not live up to my ego! During this time I started tracking my workouts, I was doing both weigh training and cardio to will my body back to health. But frankly, writing everything down in a journal was cumbersome to me. I wanted to see my progress, but it was very difficult to be consistent in notating everything I did.

I had switched phones to an iPhone and looked for an app that would help me. I had apps on my Droid based phone to track the exercises, but I wanted more! I found what I was looking for in Fitdigits iCardio and immediately upgraded to the “Pro” version. Using this app with the Garmin heart rate belt proved to me that my weight training sessions were indeed awesome cardio sessions! I was dropping fat and adding lean muscle! I knew I was indeed on the right path with the right tools!

10 weeks after I started my intense weight training, my dosages for my type-2 diabetic were cut in half! It seems by putting in the work, eating right, and using an awesome tool like Fitdigits, anyone can turn it around! The Fitdigits screens allow me to monitor my heart rate so I know I am getting the most out of my time.

I can say at 53 years old, I am in better shape than I have ever been! I competed in two Bodybuilding competitions, the Masters 40+ and Masters 50+, placed in the top 5 and brought home some hardware!

There is no activity I do that I don’t strap on the HR belt and record a workout! No matter if it’s simply out for a walk, a bike ride, cardio session or a full on heavy duty weight lifting session, I am always prepared with Fitdigits!

Fitdigits has helped me transform my body!

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

5 Ways to Make Your New Years Resolutions Stick

Another year has passed us by, and with the beginning of 2013 comes an opportunity to start anew. Sure, you gained 7 pounds last year and saw a spike in blood pressure, but this year is different. Just like last year was different. And the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that…

So every year is going to be THE year to make a change. What can you do to make sure that this year is actually the year? Here are 5 tips to make your New Years Resolutions stick.

1. Start Slow
Often resolution makers start out the New Years by going to the gym 6 days a week or going on an extreme diet. However, that is not a good way to create long lasting change that will last all 365 days of the year and beyond. Start slow. In January, make it a goal to go to the gym twice a week, and slowly add more days as you go along. Try to make your new behavior a deep engrained habit, not just a fad.

2. Give Yourself Some Days Off
Give yourself a break every once in a while. For example, you are at a party and there are a lot of the four C’s: Cookies, Cake Ice Cream, and Candy. However, you swore to yourself you were going to cut down on sweets in 2013. Well, you said you would cut down on sweets, not eliminate them. So instead of abstaining in the early going, just have a cookie or two and use moderation. It is not realistic to operate at full throttle for the entire year.

3. Look For Easy Ways To Help Reach Your Goal
For a lot of people, losing weight is a constant struggle. So why not look for some shortcuts? There are some great ways to speed up your metabolism that do not require much extra effort, such as drinking green tea or putting hot sauce on your food. For more details, read here

4. Make Your Resolutions Public
Use the power of social media to embarrass yourself into reaching your goal. Post on Facebook or other social media your goals, and make it known to your friends and family what you have planned for 2013. Post constant updates, share your workouts, and reiterate to your friends that if you fall off the wagon to quickly point the finger of judgement in your direction. Nothing like being bullied into getting healthy!

5. Set Checkpoints
Make sure to have 2-12 checkpoints throughout the year as a means to stay on target. For example, if your goal is to lose ten pounds in 2013, check in at the end of February, and if you have lost at least 1.7 pounds you are right on track! This is a great way to make goals seem less daunting by segmenting them into nice, easily digestable chunks.

Post Workout Results to Lose It!

The iOS version of Fitdigits offers the ability to post your workout results to Lose It! directly from the Fitdigits app. Follow these steps:

*Make sure you have downloaded Lose It! and have created an account on your device before starting.

1. Open your Fitdigits App

2. Go to the Results tab and select the workout you wish to share. Tap Share in the upper right

3. Tap Lose It! (Photo 1)

4. The time and calories of your workout will appear in another screen. Tap “Add” in the upper right hand corner (Photo 2)

5. From here you will have two options: Either go back to Fitdigits, or Remain in Lose It!. Tap “Remain in Lose It!” to view your shared results. (Photo 3) (NOTE: It has been our experience that the “Remain in Lose It!” button does not respond immediately. Do not give up so soon. Keep tapping the button until it is successfully shared.) 

6. Be sure to scroll to the appropriate date to view your posted workout! (Photo 4)

Tap Lose It!

Tap “Add” in the Upper Right Hand Corner

Tap “Remain in Lose It! (Might take a few times)

View Your Workout in Lose It!