My first Year with Fitbit

Last week  I received an email from Fitbit to tell me my stats for the past year.

My flexible friend was a Christmas Gift in 2013 and I knew I had walked over 1000 miles and worn out a pair of trainers but my stats were really quite surprising.

In 2014 I walked 1128 miles and 2552,528 steps.  Now when I was teaching I know I moved about 13,000 steps every school day and that would have been no surprise to me. Once I stopped that and life revolved around the home office and the garden I knew pretty soon I was in trouble. My stamina and endurance had gone and the pounds began to pile on. In late 2012 and all of 2013 I was trying to go for a walk every day and building extra walks into my daily life.

It’s true what they say about every little helping if you park the car at bottom of car park and get off the bus a stop early. I have even walked round the malls in Abu Dhabi to get my daily Fitbit fix (nice and cool in there). In fact the hotel manager was the first other person I saw wearing a Flex band!  I walked up and down the hill in my sister’s housing estate  in South Africa and along the pristine sand at Kersbosstrand.

Mostly though I just walk down the town and back via the beautiful seafront we are blessed with in Seaford or over the golf course into the South Downs National Park.  A trip to London or Brighton is a reason for a longer walk. Down to the station and back then London Park and city walks with a friend plus great conversation and coffee and lunch stops are my favourite easily clocking up over  6 miles in a day.

Tide Mills round walkstats

Tide Mills round walkstats

As a successful weight loss maintaining member of MyFitnessPal I was encouraged by  very active long term pal to join the monthly Move Your @ss Challenge  aka MYAC and over the year  have gradually increased my monthly goal (we only challenge ourselves so no major hassles there)

The Fitbit community itself was an eye opener. No sooner had I said hello in the over 60s section when I got loads of friend requests from people doing 20K plus steps a day. My 6k or 7k would leave me at the bottom of their chart and feeling superior so it seemed given they sent taunts! …so I soon knocked that on the head.

It seems there is a similar though younger element on UK Fitbit Fanatics on Facebook where up to 50K steps a day are being paraded by non runners. Sorry good for you, but I don’t find that very encouraging!  Another good thing though is there seems to be plenty of young mums pushing their buggies for miles.

I did discover a sensible shopping voucher earning system through that called www.Bounts.it and I have already earned £5 for doing what I do already. If you want to join use my code brett1102 to get a bonus and I will get one too. It connects to Runkeeper, MapMyWalk, Strava, Garmin  etc too and can be used in some gyms and strikes me as  a cost effective way to incentivise  and get the obese more active without costing the NHS more than the price of a Flex band. I mentioned this to the consultant at this week’s hospital appointment and she thought it was a great idea.

The Accuracy of all these smart devices has been called into question lately and yes there is a slight discrepancy between Mapmywalk and Fitbit with the former measuring distance as slightly longer; but my point is does it matter if it gets idle people like me moving?

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Yes its official – all that sugar added to processed food causes obesity.

I did not know whether to cheer or sigh at this week’s news in the UK that obesity experts are now launching a campaign to put pressure on the government and industry to cut the sugar content of food and drinks by up to 30%. ( see @Actiononsugar on twitter ) I could hardly believe it when on BBC breakfast this morning Louise Minchin expressed her amazement that 300g Heinz tomato soup contains 4 teaspoons of sugar. (My food of choice incidentally when feeling poorly as was childhood comfort food) Clearly she was never in a Food class taught by me or my colleagues over the last 30 years. I am amazed that more people do not seem to realise how much sugar they are eating
Indeed healthy eating has been on the curriculum for many years and I recall stacking up the sugar cubes with the bottles of cola and sauces as well as breakfast cereals- the ones aimed at children being the worst offenders. 36% sugar in one chocolate flavour cereal when the class collected the packets. Then there were the pies and canned foods students might not have realised were sugary. We even tried to dissolve a tooth in cola once!
Later on in the age of nutritional software we challenged classes to produce snack bars that were less sugary and fatty than many of the premium commercial ones. Yes we succeed too with fruit and nut flapjack, scones and the like. We went on company websites like Starbucks and saw for ourselves the calories from sugar (and fat) in those coffees so many people love tocarry around and from the mega double chocolate chip muffins. Sadly not everyone stopped buying them though and not just as a rare treat but regularly.
For my entire teaching career Professors like Philip James have been advising us to change our habits and develop more awareness. It must be so frustrating for them. Apparently Industry believes we all read and understand food labels and balance our diets by eating less ! so sugar does not need to be targeted…

 

Plums and greek yogurt

 
Plums and greek yogurt

Dr Aseem Malhotra cardiologist and science director of the new group has highlighted the link between sugar consumption and diabetes (type 2) whether we are overweight or not. As a partner of someone who has turned back the tide on type 2 I can assure you that reducing sugar content in his daily diet as well as alcohol (sugary) has played a large part in this. #Diabesity can be reversed
Everywhere I go children are snacking on sugary products popping into the bakery for doughnuts and cakes on the way to school, some of those fruit flavoured packed lunch strips and ‘Childrens yogurts’ make me want to weep for their future health.
Our most recent builders never stopped to eat but they got through a half a kilo of sugar in their tea and coffee in 4 days….
Maybe this time industry will take some responsibility and allow us to control our sugar intake better.