The new year is about to begin and with it, a lot of new years’ resolutions to lose weight and get fit. You start these resolutions with the best of intentions, but the real truth is, most people will falter, and fail, fairly quickly. To really make substantive changes, you need information, inspiration, and motivation.
At a holiday preview event, I discovered that little helper that might just help you lose weight and stay healthy, from BodyMedia FIT. Their On-Body wellness monitor is a little monitor you wear on an armband. It’s bluetooth enabled (for iPhone and ipod and for Android 2.0 and higher) and uses an online subscription to track data you really need to know about your own body, activities, strengths and weaknesses. As you wear the armband and input information about what you’re eating and how well you’re sleeping, you can start to see patterns in your lifestyle that may be good, or not so good. If you don’t have a smart phone, you can still use your computer and sync the armband.
According to the package, the BodyMedia FIT On-Body Wellness Monitor, clinical testing showed that after 9 months, armband users lost on average, three times the weight vs. non-users.
This device is not just a simple pedometer, and the software isn’t just a calorie counter. It really is way more useful. It tracks things that other monitors simply don’t, with four different sensors that gives you a big picture window on your physical activity levels (I was shocked at mine), calories burned and consumed, steps taken and even how much sleep you get. but the device is simple to operate. A little light lets you know about battery life, and a button next to the light lets you check whether the device is charged.
As to getting the device operational, both hardware and software setup were fairly easy. You set up on online account, then sync the device. You do need to get a subscription to track the date, and you do get a free trial period. Once the device is set up, you simply wear it on the upper part of your arm. That’s where I had some issues. Other than for bathing, you need to keep this device on your body day and night. I’m assuming this is because the sensors really do measure what’s going on in your body through your skin, but it’s very intrusive. The elastic armband is wide and has an adjustable velcro piece, but I just couldn’t get used to having something on my skin all the time. My skin is just very sensitive, and I was conscious that this thing was on my arm every waking moment and even when I tried to sleep. It annoyed me at first, and increasingly so over time. Finally, after two weeks, I just stopped wearing the device. For me, personally, it was a failure. However, for most people, this may not be too much of an issue. And, if you’re trying to do something important for yourself, some sacrifice is in order. In reality, the monitor isn’t huge or bulky, but it’s large enough to show through clothing. Obviously you can remove it for those times when you don’t want people to see and comment on the monitor, but if you take it off, you’re not going to get the full picture of how your body is functioning. I eventually couldn’t deal with the armband anymore, and stopped using it, even though I thought it was truly a good device.
That’s the only issue I have with the actual hardware. The sync, once set up, was perfectly easy. You still have to input the food log and the sleep log, and personalize your goals (and all of this is good), After all, even amazing devices like this one are no so intelligent that they can read your mind and measure what went through your lips to your stomach! As you sync, you can charge up the unit, too. The device stores data for up to 2 weeks, but if you don’t sync regularly, you’ll not only lose the data, you’ll be missing out on what makes this device so unique, and that’s real time data about your body and activities. Additionally, the food log is extensive, but there were plenty of ordinary things I normally eat that I just couldn’t find on the log. There is no way to adjust or add anything. So if you only eat half an egg, or something like that, you have to add a whole one.
Another issue is the price. The BodyMedia Fit Core fitness armband has a suggested retail price of $199.99 for the bluetooth enabled version, or $179.99 for the non bluetooth version. You have to pay $6.95 per month for data access, too. This may seem like a lot, but you get a lot, too. For starters, it is an educator and motivator. Without information, it’s hard to change patterns in your life. The BodyMedia Fit offers you invaluable information and feedback that helps you make changes. When I began to look at patterns, such as how many hours I spent sitting at my computer barely moving, I was horrified. That information alone, undeniable and truly unexpected, made me re-consider my work patterns. Without a personal trainer or a weight loss professional monitoring me, I got invaluable feedback that really did motivate me while I was wearing the device and testing it. Consider too, that diet programs and food plans are expensive, too, and avoiding obesity and other potential medical issues is priceless.
If I didn’t get a unit to wear test, I really might have considered a personal purchase of this device. Apparently there are other, somewhat similar devices out there, but this one seemed to be the most comprehensive. I really think if you can keep it on your body 23/7 and input information, you will learn invaluable lessons that can dramatically alter your health and fitness level, but you have to put up with some inconvenience. After writing about the armband, I went searching online to see if I was the only one with comfort issues. Apparently, I wasn’t. It would be so much better if BodyMedia could come up with a way to let users wear the device somewhere where it wouldn’t show or feel so intrusive. I also read a number of gripes about customer service and lack thereof, although I didn’t have any issues. On the plus side, I understand that there are a couple of Body Media FIT Facebook Pages with an active community where you can share experiences, ask questions, etc.
It’s never too early or too late to start working on new years resolutions that you can really stick to! BodyMedia Fit, might be that one “little thing” that helps you reach your fitness goals in 2013. You can get it in a variety of stores and online sites such as Target. For more information visit http://www.bodymedia.com
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