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Gadget Love May 22, 2010

Y’all know I am somewhat of a gadget freak. I’ve tried to swear off buying any new ones but when Phillips DirectLife contacted me and offered to let me test-run their activity monitor, who was I to resist?

And now I am pretty much in love with this little thingie and all it comes with. Once my four month trial dries up I might just have to continue the relationship on my own.

Before, I had a Bodybugg because I got all intrigued by that after watching the Biggest Loser contestants wearing it. And I liked it pretty much. But I never ended up getting the individual support they promised because they do it by phone. The “coach” and I played phone tag like 4 times but I am very hard to reach on the phone.  So after all the phone tag I gave up. Also, you wear the BB on your arm and it always felt like a blood pressure cuff to me. (bad connotations) It got sweaty a lot. It wasn’t a big deal, but it wasn’t the most comfortable thing ever. Also, I felt like it almost gave TOO much information. So. After a while I sort of abandoned it.

Enter the DirectLife! I like it because it’s simple. It’s a little plastic white box smaller than a matchbox. It’s very light. It’s WATERPROOF! (I took it in the pool today!) You also have three choices of how to wear it: around your neck on a light cord, in your pocket, or hooked onto your bra or other piece of clothing. So it’s very versatile. I like wearing mine around my neck if I don’t have a pocket.

How does it work? It measures your micro-body movements so it calculates if you are walking, running, whatever. MOVING. Which is basically the point of activity. It probably does not have the same physiological precision of the Bodybugg, but actually, I do not care. My husband pointed out that you could “cheat” it by just holding it in your hand and bouncing it up and down, but dude, that is just cheating yourself. It’s like doing the Wii Fit from the couch. Yeah, you COULD, but do you really want to do that??

So I love the simplicity, the ease of wearing it. When you take it off, you plug into a little USB device on the computer. This turned out to be 100% easier than BB too, which was always having glitches and technical difficulties and causing me to re-install the software every five minutes (can you say ANNOYING?). So I love it. It goes right to the site and tells you your activity output by the day. You see the hills and peaks from the most active times. Then you can see the details from each hour, which is addictively fascinating to me. (WOW that’s when I took a walk at lunch! That’s when Shannon and I climbed up Lombard Street! That’s when I… ohhhhh. SAT AT MY DESK motionless for four hours.) It’s GOOD. And yeah, another great accountability tool.

But I didn’t even get to the best part yet. The best part is the fabulous, awesome, mindblowing coaching!!!!! I was assigned a coach named Jen. I was assuming that either I’d never hear from “Jen,” or that she would send me some one-sentence sound bites like, “Good moving today, Foodie!” But NO. I got an email asking about my goals and if I had questions. I sent her an email back. She looked at my activity for last Sunday. She noted that I was rather inactive between 2-5 and 6-8.

I said, “Welllllllll, I was taking a nap at 2, and then a shower (didn’t realize it was waterproof!) and then my show, I didn’t have a pocket and didn’t want the necklace on, but darn I was VERY active!” So she clued me into the waterproof and clip-on-bra thing. (um, in my case, clip-on-Spanx) She read my blog. She had such thoughtful things to say about my return to more than full time work, my fitness frustrations, my schedule, EVERYTHING.

She has emailed me EVERY DAY THIS WEEK. And they’re not just stock emails. They’re totally personalized, thorough, and all about me me me and MY situation. It has been so amazingly, astonishingly supportive and helpful. She’s also sent me some awesome PDF articles about various things we’ve discussed, New York times article about the hazards of sitting, etc. Just SO HELPFUL.

So I am over the moon about my little gadget and about the amazing support I’ve received from DirectLife’s coach Jen. They are a lot simpler than Bodybugg but in my mind that is a good thing, a very good thing.

 

BodyBugg: It’s All Information December 28, 2009

I’ve been doodling around with my new BodyBugg for the past couple of days. Some people might think a device like this is the ultimate in obsession, but for me, it’s just more Information. Just like the number on the scale is just that: information (or as we say in WW, “Feedback not failure.”) I have been really curious about my REAL calorie burning in relation to what I’m taking in. So it’s been interesting.

The things I’ve learned should not come as a complete shock, but it has been illuminating.

1. I actually do burn calories while I sleep!! Of course I “knew” this on some intellectual level, but to wake up and see “486 calories burned” between 11pm and 7am, was… pleasing. :-) I think I had this naive belief that I only “burned” calories while I was exercising. Like if I went to the gym, it was so many hundred calories, but if I didn’t, it was… zero. Again, I KNEW that wasn’t true, but still, to see it confirmed was interesting.

2. All exercise is not created equal. Of course, I “knew” this one too, but really it has been kind of surprising. Also, the number of “calories burned” on the cardio machines at the gym bear little resemblance to what I am hoping is a more accurate count from the BodyBugg.  Of course, the machines say you burn way more. :-(

3. Comparatively speaking, an hour of Nia class burns a lot less (215!!!!) then an hour on the elliptical (420) which in turn is less than an hour of running on the treadmill. (550) Which is also sort of obvious, but another way I used to trick myself. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing Nia. It means that on Nia days, if I want to keep me In-and-Out ratio about the same, I need to eat a lot less. OR do a lot of other activity to balance it out.

The BB is pretty cool. It tells me the # of steps per given period (the only day I broke 10K this week was today, when I was running on the treadmill), a very elaborate breakdown of food and food types (I do eat way more carbs than I think I do!!!), number of minutes of “physical activity” or I guess what IT considers exercise, and then overall calories burned which can be broken down by period.

Also, see the graph where it says Cal/Min? That is interesting to me bc when I am on a cardio machine, I always try to aim for 10-11 cal/min. But according to the BB, I never achieve that. Even when I was running today, it only reached 9 cal/min at the max, and I was pumping it out. So that’s interesting.

Here’s a report from yesterday. That big spike in the middle is from when I was at Nia class. But it didn’t last very long, and I think most of the class was pretty mellow. But I did do a lot of walking around and shopping before and after, so you can see the little peaks around it. I think that is what saved it. Also,  I didn’t have QUITE that much of a deficit because I did not log every single thing last night. Apparently, it thinks I should be eating AND exercising more.

It’s all interesting. But then I’m a huge gadget geek, so I love this stuff.

 

 
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