I've never been a very athletic person, and honestly never really worried much about staying fit. That all changed when I went to college. I had to admit it, but the importance of staying in shape really only hit me after the freshman 15 hit me. I had to buy new clothes because my old clothes didn't fit anymore, and I started to feel really self-conscious about my body. I was never very insecure about my body before, so it was new territory for me. After the new year, I decided I had to make some change. I committed to a work-out and diet plan. I followed it pretty well...for about a week. By the second weekend I was already back to eating out regularly at restaurants, snacking on chocolate at night, and giving myself "a break" from a workout now and again.
Then, I decided to get an Xbox Kinect to make my workouts more fun. I got a "fitness bundle" because it came with a Kinect Sports game, but it also happened to come with a little hi-tech pedometer called a fitbit. I didn't think anything of it when I bought it, but it became my best friend when it came to staying on track with my plan.
fitbit ultra, fitbit.com, $99.95
The fitbit tracks not only steps taken, but also floor ascended, miles traveled, and calories burned. The fitbit synchs wirelessly to the www.fitbit.com, where there are even more features. There is a chart that breaks down activity time by slightly, fairly, or very active. For example, running for 30 minutes would be 30 minutes of very active time and walking for 30 minutes would be 30 minutes of fairly active time. In addition to this, there is a food log feature that has the nutritional information of hundreds of foods. You can also add your own foods if you have the nutritional information.
The best part, for me, was that I could create a specific plan -- lose this much weight in this much time -- and fitbit would tell me how many calories I could eat that day, depending on how much exercise I did, to stay on track. It motivated me to work out when I would see that I was almost over my calorie limit but I was hungry -- I knew that if I worked out I could have another snack.
Although I did not think of it as the end-all be-all of my health regime, it was great in keeping me encouraged. I lost a lot of weight and eventually did not even need the fitbit anymore. I still use it out of habit and because it's interesting to see how changes in routine can change a daily step average, but now I am so used to working out and eating healthily that it isn't as much of a sacrifice. I am no longer dieting, but I still think it's important to pay attention to what I am eating and keep my muscles and heart strong with exercise. I recommend a fitbit, or any other motivational tool, for any exercise and diet newbies like myself. It really helps to have a guide!