Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Simple Way to Lose Weight

A gal I work for bought all of her employees and me, her dutiful editor, Fitbits.

I’d never heard of the product before she mentioned it, so as Ellen was enthusiastically describing the wristband device, she directed me to the Fitbit site. She said it daily monitored the wearer’s steps, the amount of time engaged in exercise, and sleep patterns. The sleep monitoring feature hooked me, since I’ve had sleeping problems all my life. “Cool,” I edged in.

“If you’re competitive with yourself and others, it’s a great incentive to get in shape and lose weight,” Ellen said. However, when she added, “And we can all connect online to let others see how we’re doing on our goals,” I became skeptical, given privacy concerns and not wanting advertisers to stare through my computer’s camera at me scarfing down pizza. Nor did I want anyone capturing my data and proving I’d grown an inch around my chewed-pizza holder. Nothing makes me hungrier than not eating to lose weight.

But having lumped through this past winter of extremely low temperatures—one that felt like the longest and coldest in my 30 years in Colorado Springs, and during which time I missed many days of hiking but never my mouth—I’d found some weight I’d lost many years ago and wrapped it around my middle to keep warm. I’d also developed an eating style that mimicked that of Shiloh the dog’s.

Cringing at a flashback of recently trying to maneuver my marbled meat into my pants and hanging from the chinning bar to get them zipped and buttoned, I decided to accept Ellen’s generous offer. A week later, a gal pal down the street who also works for Ellen knocked on my door and handed me my new black Fitbit Flex.

Once the measuring instrument was charged, set up, and inserted into the smaller of two wristbands included in the package, I fastened the clasp (the most challenging step of the operation), and dashed off to church*—not for confession; it was Sunday.

The next morning, I inserted my Fitbit dongle into my MacBook Pro, synced the Flex, then checked my dashboard. Incredibly cool.

Graphs showed my activity levels, steps, number of active minutes, calories burned, and the number of times my gut slapped against my breasts when I jogged and jiggled. Most intriguing were the number of moments I’d slept and was restless or awake, graphically illustrating that my behavior is not because I’m blond. (The graph below isn’t typical of most nights.) Generally I’ve been restless 172 minutes, and my average sleep duration is 4 hours, 43 minutes, so I’m frantically focusing on sleeping.

Now for the best part!

Since all my Biosyntrx friends are keeping an unobtrusive eye on my stats, I decided to put the pressure on and set a weight-loss goal of 11 pounds. According to my very old bathroom scale that I’ve stored in the garage, far enough away from the temptation of weighing an excess load, I weighed 129. Not too bad for an old lady; however, not too good for slipping into my old clothing.

Almost every morning, I stumble into the garage where the scale rests, holding its breath, take off anything weighing an ounce or more, and set it on the counter. Then I jump onto the scale. In less than a week, I dropped three or four pounds. But this morning I couldn’t see nor focus on the dial’s verdict. The garage was dimly lit due to thick cloud cover outside and bad eyes inside, but it looked like the dial hovered around 125. Excitedly, I moved the scale two feet north, closer to the freezer, and hopped on again. (This is the best part.) I weighed 123 pounds!

I’ve come to the conclusion that magnetism is key. When you want to lose weight fast, move your body closer to the North Pole or the freezer, and the magnetism pulls the weight clean off you. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it, just as I am my stretchy pants.

* Broadmoor Community Church, United Church of Christ, aka Congregational