This is the first in a series of blog posts entitled “Kickstart Your Diet!” that are designed to get you up and running on the LifehackrDiet. Please check out the series of posts Here. For more clarification on what the LifehackrDiet is and how you can be successful with it, please check out previous blog posts; What is the LifehackrDiet and Why Should I Care? and 3 Strategies: Quit the Gym and Be Healthier! and Secrets of Eating to Lose Weight.
Let’s Kickstart Your Diet!
Start at the beginning.
“Once upon a time…You wanted to lose weight and improve Your health and well being – permanently! You discovered the LifehackrDiet which took a different approach to losing weight and reaching your goals. The LifehackrDiet suggested that You make small changes in your life that You are comfortable with and once You had made enough of those changes (and stuck to them) You will reach Your goal; a slimmer, healthier and more active You.”
A fantasy? I say not. It will be your reality soon enough and this blog post along with others in the series will show you step by step how you can make that fantasy into your reality. Let’s Kickstart Your Diet!
Setup. Record. Observe.
This week we are going to simply setup, record and observe. What does that mean? Like any new project we need to take time to ensure our success by planning and setting up the tools we will be using. I know you are anxious to get started on your weight loss journey, but this is an important step that will help you, ultimately, be successful – bear with me on this.
LifehackrDiet Flow Chart
We are going to take a look at your smartphone (and other devices) and asses their capabilities of acquiring your data, assisted or unassisted. Depending on the results, we will move forward with downloading a free app and possibly ordering a digital pedometer. Next we will check to see if you have a standard body weight scale or not, and analyze how you can best collect data on your weight loss. Moving along we will set up the App you have downloaded and I will show you how to record your daily data (input will go very fast once you get the hang of it). Finally we will take a week to get used to the technology, recording our data and simply observe what we normally eat and how much we normally move. It is very helpful to set up a baseline and kind of fun when you can look back and laugh at your old self (silly ‘ol me!)
Smartphone or Devices
A smartphone is a pretty much a necessity for being successful on the LifehackrDiet. Can you do it without? Sure, but the last thing we need to do is make dieting more difficult than it already is – am I correct here? Regardless, below I have included processes to make the LifehackrDiet work with or without a smartphone.
The LifehackrDiet will work with both Apple iPhones and Google Android operating system based smartphones. If you have an iPhone 4s or higher (iPhone Model Checking info), you have Bluetooth 4.0 LE which is great news! Check out Option “B” below for your solution.
If you have an Android smartphone please check to see if it is supported by the Fitbit Compatible Device Page.
Once you figure out if you have Bluetooth LE on your iPhone or Android smartphone and it is supported by the Fitbit Compatible Device Page then you can check out Option “B” below!
The next thing to figure out is if your smartphone has the Apple M7 coprocessor chip or not. This only applies to Apple iPhones and specifically the iPhone 5s or greater models. If you own this phone , congratulations you have more choices for your exercise data collection. Be sure to check out Option “A” and Option “B” as both are available to you.
If you have an iPhone 4 or below or an Android phone that is not supported by Fitbit, then there is a slightly less automated solution for you. Be sure to check out Option “C” below.
There is also an option for those of you who have a tablet such as an iPad or others that support Bluetooth LE or a laptop or desktop computer with a spare USB port. Check out Option “D” to see your solutions.
By now you should know the following;
- I have an iPhone or Android smartphone.
- My smartphone model does or does not support Bluetooth LE/is or is not Fitbit compatible.
- My iPhone model does or does not have a M7 coprocessor chip.Lets see what OPTIONS you have for recording, storing and processing your personal data.
Here are the options available to you based on the capabilities of your smartphone described above:
|Option A||(iPhone 5s and greater)||You can record your walks and runs with nothing more than the your smartphone! That’s right the M7 coprocessor chip records your activity automatically and stores it until a fitness app requests that data.
Downside: You need your smartphone on you at all times so that it can give you credit for every step you take.
|Option B||(iPhone 4s or greater – Android with Bluetooth LE support)||Using a Fitbit digital pedometer with Bluetooth LE your data collection is easy. Just clip or slip on anyone of the Fitbit Pedometers and your every footstep is recorded and ready to be sent to your smartphone when you open the accompanying Fitbit app.
Downside: You have to remember to wear the pedometer and under specific conditions they can be prone to getting lost or misplaced.
|Option C||(No Smartphone Device or No Bluetooth LE support – Using a Digital Pedometer with or without Bluetooth LE capabilities.)||This method works but it does require more work on your part as you have to manually add your steps to the Fitness app. It’s no biggie and it keeps you in the game. If you are thinking about updating your phone in the next 3-6 months, there is a very good chance your new phone will support Bluetooth LE and you will be able to utilize the automatic data transfer features that Bluetooth LE provides.
Downside: Same as Option B, plus you need to remember to input your steps on a daily basis.
|Option D||(Compatible Tablet or Laptop/Desktop computer)||Even if you don’t use a smartphone but you have an iPad or similar tablet that supports Bluetooth LE you can still transfer your data wirelessly to the Fitbit app on your device. If you don’t have a compatible smartphone, tablet but own a laptop or desktop you can use the Wifi dongle that Fitbit includes free with all their products. The digital pedometer will now sync with your personal Fitbit account on the internet.
Downside: Same as Option “B”, plus you will need to remember to sync your Fitbit with your device(s).
The next step (no pun intended) is to make sure everyone of the precious, calorie burning steps you take in your day is recorded and scored against every (not so precious) calorie you consume! Time to get a digital pedometer!
Although there are several great manufacturers of digital pedometers with Bluetooth LE capabilities, I have chosen one in particular; Fitbit. Here is why I am suggesting, while you get started on the LifehackrDiet, we simplify things with one manufacturer. (Feel free to choose or use any other manufacturer’s device for the LifehackrDiet.)
- Fitbit makes a line of products and currently has three models to offer in two different form factors and at several different price points.
- They are a well established company with a healthy segment of the digital pedometer market.
- They have amazing customer service. I have had three incidences where they have taken responsibility for their products and made sure I was a happy customer.
- Their products work seamlessly with the iPhone and from what I have heard, have excellent support for Android smartphones.
- They come with a free wifi dongle so that you have lots of connectivity choices.
- Their software app, Fitbit.app speaks with many other software platforms and apps so that your data can move between apps (with your express permission, of course).
- They offer free shipping on orders of $50 or more.
- There is a tsunami coming in the health wearables marketplace and things are going to shift drastically. I am confident that Fitbit has the assets to survive and thrive this market shakeout. (I will cover more of this change in the wearables market in a future blog post.) Don’t believe me? Fitbit products consistently score higher than competitive products, like in this shoot out.
I have an affiliate relationship with Fitbit which means when you read this review and order one of their products from the link I provide, I make a little money from the sale and it COSTS YOU NOTHING extra (thank you in advance for buying through my link as it helps support LifehackrDiet.com). I have owned three Fitbit products, my wife owns one and we are constantly delighted with their products. I will have reviews and links to other manufacturers digital pedometers in the Resources section.
Here is a brief rundown of the current Fitbit products;
Retails for $59.95 (free shipping)
A simple sturdy digital pedometer with a battery that can last up to 6 months and is inexpensive to replace. A great starter model.
Read Fitbit Zip “Real Life Review”
Watch Fitbit Zip Setup Video;
[iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/2bx-qE-jPXs?rel=0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]
Retails for $99.95 (free shipping)
This is my favorite Fitbit, it’s elegant, collects lots of data and only needs to be charge every week to 10 days. If you are serious about your activity then the Fitbit One is a great choice.
Read Fitbit One “Real Life Review
Watch Fitbit One Setup Video;
[iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/eb9oHiTausA?rel=0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]
Retails for $99.95 (free shipping)
The Fitbit Flex has lots going for it including a fashion sense. This is a wrist band pedometer that tracks your activities during the day and your sleep at night. This is definitely a very popular Fitbit, and for good reason.
Read Fitbit Flex “Real Life Review”
We have dealt with the smartphone and pedometer hardware, now we will discuss the software you need to get started. I am conflicted about which of the two apps I use, you should download first. I use both the Fitbit and MyFitnessPal apps and they are both excellent, but in slightly different ways. The good news is they are both free and the Fitbit app talks to the MyFitnessPal app and visa versa. That means you can start with the Fitbit app and later add the MyFitnessPal app to your app arsenal.
Let’s start with the free Fitbit app which you can download here; iPhone/iPad or Android.
The Fitbit app is easy to use and incredibly useful. Even while you wait for your newly ordered Fitbit digital pedometer to arrive, you can track your food and water consumption, your walking or runs by duration and other activities you do like gardening, kayaking, a work out at the gym and lots more. This is all great preparation for what you are going to do on the LifehackrDiet. All of this data recording might seem overwhelming at first but I can assure you that it will become second nature very quickly, and take less than 5 minutes of your day to complete.
- Download the Fitbit App for iPhone/iPad or Android.
- Watch the Fitbit Account Setup Video;
[iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/-93kFIS-LXE?rel=0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]
Setting up a iPhone 5s or later model with the M7 coprocessor chip
If you own an iPhone 5s or later model and you wish to track your activities using just your iPhone and you are able and willing to have your iPhone on your body at all times, please check out the video for setup directions.
iPhone 5s or later model, Fibit app setup video;
Body Weight Scale
As illustrated in the “LifehackrDiet Flow Chart” image (as seen at the beginning of this blog post) part of the the LifehackrDiet flow requires you to evaluate your body weight on a daily or several times a week basis. This helps you evaluate your “metabolic” picture and assess progress along with the other values you will be recording. If you already own a body weight scale that you are happy with, then there is no reason to replace it. You might want to consider replacing your body weight scale if it does not have a digital display with 10ths of a pound/kilo or does not have a body fat reading. These are both helpful when you are making decisions on the LifehackrDiet. There are many choices for body weight scales but again I want to make this initial process easy for you so here are my recommendations and reasons;
A Quick explanation of a Manual scale v.s. a Wifi or Bluetooth scale.
The problem with many of the Wifi or Bluetooth enabled scales is that (for the moment) they are locked into certain apps on your smartphone. That means, if you buy the scale by company “A” and you decide you don’t want to use their app anymore then your data will not transfer – it is siloed in the company “A” app and can’t be uploaded to your new app choice (there are exceptions to this). What I call a “manual” scale has all the measuring capabilities of the higher end scales but it lacks the auto data upload. That means you need to remember your weight and body fat index number long enough to put it into your app of choice on your smartphone. For me that is a whole 15 seconds, which first thing in the morning is a challenge, but a good one! The whole connected health device market is about to change with Apple’s introduction of the Healthkit ecosystem in iOS 8 (fall of 2014). Regardless I highly doubt that a manual scale will be left out of this sea-change.
EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale
Retails for $49.95 (free shipping)
After trying several higher end body weight scales I found this inexpensive one (without Wifi/Bluetooth connectivity) fit my needs perfectly. Like Fitbit, this company is very involved with their customers (just look at the reviews on Amazon. The VP of the company is always making sure everyone is happy!) Because you need to put your daily data into your app of choice, manually, there are no connectivity and compatibility issues (your fingers do the data input).
Read EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale “Real Life Review”
Watch EatSmart Precision GetFit Digital Body Fat Scale Setup Video;
[iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/GloOASlQEfg?rel=0″ width=”420″ height=”315″]
Fitbit ARIA Wi-Fi Smart Scale
Retails for $129.95 (free shipping)
The Fitbit Aria tracks your weight, body fat percentage, and BMI, painting a picture of your long-term progress. It wirelessly syncs your stats with online graph and mobile tools that help you stay motivated and on track. When you’re in control, stepping on the scale feels good. Connects with the Fitbit app and as mentioned above, the Fitbit app can share that data with other apps like MyFitnessPal.
Fitbit ARIA Wi-Fi Smart Scale “Real Life” Review
Fitbit Aria Scale Setup Video;
[iframe src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/xsbG0qrTrZw?rel=0″ width=”560″ height=”315″ ]
What We Covered
In Kickstart Your Diet! Setup. We covered;
- The “Setup” of your LifehackrDiet.
- You saw the LifehackrDiet Flow Chart which illustrated how the LifehackrDiet works.
- Together we figured out what kind of smartphone you have and if it is compatible with Fitbit products.
- I outlined how you would use your selected device to synchronize your data to the Fitbit app.
- If you aren’t using a smartphone, we discussed how you can use a tablet or a PC for the LifehackrDiet.
- I recommended several digital pedometers and explained their pros and cons.
- Software was also discussed with links to download free apps that you will use.
- The importance of using a body weight scale was touched on.
That concludes the SETUP section of the Kickstart Your Diet blog post. Please check out the other Kickstart Your Diet! blog posts to continue with your LifehackrDiet.