What I Learned From One Year on Fitbit

From April 4, 2011 to April 4, 2012, I recorded pretty much every step I took and every thing I ate via the device and Web site called Fitbit. I am by no means going to go all Feltron on you, but I have some insights about myself, Fitbit, and the world at large, based on this data.

WEIGHT

  • My highest weight was 208 (day one), my lowest was 188.6 (on January 21). I am currently 192
  • In my head, I string the weight loss back to mid-March, when I clocked 216 pounds. Uncool
  • Since I am 5 foot 9 inches tall, this weight loss took me from slightly obese to merely overweight
  • In other words, my story is not all that visually dramatic, but it definitely made a difference for me
  • I use the Withings scale and stream it into my Fitbit dashboard. Works very well
  • Since I weigh in every morning, it’s easy to notice what makes me gain weight, and it ain’t rocket science
  • When I have chocolate cake, for instance, (which I did 28 times), the average weight gain the next day was 1.32 pounds
  • I had Smarties 16 times

FOOD

  • Speaking of food. My #1 food— the one I consumed more than any other— is the Quad Vente Non-Fat Latte. It has 170 calories, 16 grams of protein, and it is a wonderful friend. Each of these had four shots of espresso. I had 398 of them total. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and I don’t do drugs. This is it— all I’ve got. I love you, Quad Vente Non-Fat Latte.
  • Speaking of love, I enjoyed coffee in the morning with my wife 89 times. I called this “Coffee at Lakewood” in my Fitbit dashboard, which is the street she used to live on, until we moved in together after months of marriage living apart due to real estate merging. I like using this archaic term
  • I had cappuccino in a small cup, like in a restaurant before or after dinner, 36 times. Many of these were in places like Macaroni Grill, where I dined often with my children in the Western suburbs
  • I consumed an average of 2,227 calories of nutrients per day
  • I had 19 bowls of miso soup

ACTIVITY

  • I took an average of 16,086 steps per day. I shit you not. They say this is about 8 miles per day. Re: mileage, I’m a smite dubious— Fitbit is great at counting steps, but is not so awesome at turning that in to an accurate mile count. Repeat after me: Fitbit counts your steps. That’s what it does. If your fitness relies more on actual running, or gym workouts, or swimming, you should probably use another device to track yourself
  •  I burned an average of 3,583 calories per day. Given the fact that I ate far less calories than I burned, you’d think I would have lost a lot more weight than I did. Something is definitely wrong here, and I think it relates to portions. I was scrupulous on entering each item, but I think that I have under-estimated the portions. It could be pretty severe— maybe 20%
  • There are lots of ways to get steps in. Let’s take a look at different models for 20,000 steps:
July 3, 2011— constant activity all day, including night fireworks.
July 3, 2011— constant activity all day, including night fireworks.
Here's another "long steady activity" example-- 20,480 steps with hardly any periods of high exertion. On October 23, 2011 I knocked around the house, walked the dog, and ran up and down stairs to do laundry
Here's another "long steady activity" example-- 20,480 steps with hardly any periods of high exertion. On October 23, 2011 I knocked around the house, walked the dog, and ran up and down stairs to do laundry.
Here's 20,391 steps on a workday-- walk to and from a meeting, then a spark of activity walking to and from the car when teaching a class at night.
Here's 20,391 steps on a workday-- walk to and from a meeting, then a spark of activity walking to and from the car when teaching a class at night.
  • There’s more than one way to skin a step.
  • On the edges, the largest daily step count was on the day we moved. Here’s what that looks like:
July 30, 2011-- Moving day.
July 30, 2011-- Moving day.
  • One thing I’d like to see in Fitbit is a “save this activity” feature
  • That way I could click-drag-select a set of bars and call it “walk dog to train station and back” or “walk to City Hall and back”. This would help with the “what does it take to get X number of steps”

SLEEP

  • I slept an average of 6 hours and 36 minutes per night
  • That’s not a whole lot. I really do need to get more sleep
  • I slept the least amount on March 23 (210 minutes, 3 1/2 hours) and the largest amount (611 minutes, a little over 10 hours) on March 24. Averages always win

YOU TELL ME

  • Fitbit has a data export system that downloads all of your data into a spreadsheet
  • It’s a little goofy, because it separates your food intake into one sheet per day
  • This makes it difficult to analyze by food type, time of day, etc.
  • There are developers smarter than me who could take this data and put it into an analytics package
  • So if you’re doing that, here’s a meticulously complete spreadsheet that can help with that
CategoriesMe

One Reply to “What I Learned From One Year on Fitbit”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *