Food Trackers, I guess it’s the only way to curb my junk food habit

FitBit Food Tracker
FitBit Food Tracker

The hardest part about being someone who other’s view as in shape, but who is also struggling with his weight is finding supportive help in the process.  People just don’t have sympathy for me when I complain about my weight and how to curb the growing tide of fat that is encompassing my body.

No, I’m not fat. I get it, but I have hit that age where I have to start taking care of myself better.  That’s why I begged for ideas on how to eat healthier.  Apparently I am not alone in not knowing how to eat healthier because I got zero suggestions.

This weekend was a let down.  I can hold my diet together pretty well Monday through Friday, but when Friday night comes around all bets are out the window.  This past weekend was no exception.

This weekend followed a week of exercise and cutting back on the junk food I put into my body.  Unfortunately I negated all the hard work I put into healthy living by binge eating like a college freshman.  Cookies & Cream ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, Little Debby’s, French Toast and everything in between found its way into my stomach.

Oops! I guess that is completely what we consider a fail.

I am not one to count calories or to cut anything out of my diet completely, but eating those things completely cancels out any good efforts I have made.  Everything in moderation is my motto and I ate everything in excess.

One bowl of ice cream this past weekend would have been fine.  I had no self-control.  If I can’t control myself, then I guess it’s time I find a resource that can help me.  If I can’t eat healthy, the least I can do is make sure I am not overeating in a day.

Thank goodness for my FitBit Flex and the Fitbit App on my smartphone.  If you aren’t familiar FitBit is a product that:

  • Tracks steps, distance, calories burned and active minutes
  • Monitors how long and well you sleep
  • Wakes you (and not your partner) with a silent vibrating alarm
  • LED lights show how your day is stacking up against your goal
  • And it strives to give you the motivation you need to be more active and walk a little farther each day.

I’ve used the Fitbit Flex for about a year and a half now.  I have to say I totally am addicted.  I get why they are popular and how they can be helpful.  They motivate me to walk just a little more each day before I settle into my sweats and watch television all night.  It reminds me of how sedentary or active I have been each day.

Now it can help me track the foods and drinks I am putting into my body.  It’s always had this feature, but now it’s improved! The new food tracking part of the app will be a bit aggressive, but I think motivational.  It will make me think twice before eating that 5th cookie before bed. According to FitBit’s website the updated Food Tools include:


Use your smartphone to scan food barcodes and instantly capture complete nutritional information.


Choose from 350,000+ foods in our credible database, including grocery brands and restaurant items.


Log foods fast with meal shortcuts that automatically suggest the foods you usually pair together.


Use it with your Fitbit tracker to compare your calories in with calories out.

Well, if I wanted an easy tool to track what I am eating then I have found it.  The reason I think this is necessary is because seeing is believing. If I am not writing down what I am eating then it’s like it doesn’t matter to me.  I can just sweep the bowl of ice cream under the rug and eat some chips if I don’t force myself to acknowledge just how unhealthy I am eating.  Let’s hope this app works as the next part of my attempt to live a healthier life.

It’s 10:43 am and I have taken in a total of 123 calories today from a class of water and an iced coffee.  I’ve already burned 984 calories.  I like that balance!

How I got myself to go to the gym again

images (1)I did it! I’m not impressed with myself, but I am proud of myself.  I went to the gym after work today.  I could have easily gone straight home, walked my dogs and bummed around.  Instead I made the choice to set my Waze app to direct me on how to get to my gym as quickly as possible.

That’s what I am learning.  Since I am not in the phase of working out where I love it I have to do a few things to get myself share-imageinto gear.

The first thing I learned was that I need a gym that is convenient and doesn’t cause me to go out of my way or take a lot of added time to travel to.  That was pretty easy in New York City, but I have found it more difficult in Los Angeles.

Yes there are gyms here, but in West Hollywood it seems like all the gyms are expensive and crowded.  That seems like a double gym negative.  Not to mention that a lot of the gyms are apparently very gay.  I mean people cruise at them.  I don’t need that. I have a man.

The gym closest to my office that is affordable is the LA Fitness on Bundy, but it is also crowded.  Unfortunately it’s also ghetto, the staff are rude and you have to pay for parking.  If I am paying a for a gym membership why am I also paying you to park?

imagesLuckily my wonderful fiancé found the LA Fitness Signature Club in Beverly Hills.  It’s not the best gym ever, but it has all the basics.  It has a constant flow of members in and out of the gym, but you never really have to wait for any machines so I can’t complain. It is closer to my apartment, but it only took 30 minutes to get their today from my office and is on the way home.

That’s the first trick. Make the gym convenient and easy to get to and go.

The second trick I’ve learned is motivation.  I need motivation to go.  Thinking I am a little heavier than I want to be and feeling horrible about it is surprisingly not motivation enough.  What’s really helped has been no pressure motivation.

The first thing I have been doing is whether or not my fiancé goes to the gym or runs outside I try to work out on the same days.  If I am not feeling it, but he is running, I have been pushing myself to at least get into the gym.

Fitbit Flex. It can be found at stores like Best Buys,, etc.
Nike+ GPS Watch. Great for tracking your runs!

The second motivational trick I’ve been utilizing has been Fitbit (I use the Fitbit Flex) and Nike+.  Both are great ways to put a bit of competition into the mix motivating me to keep pushing.  With Fitbit you track your steps each day.  It also helps you track your weight, food intake, calories, water intake and it lets you compete with friends and family for who has taken the most steps in a 7 day period.  What I really love is that if I see I have only hit 8,000 steps in a day the app is a helpful reminder for me to get up and go for a walk during my lunch break.  Believe it or not it works!

The third motivational trick is to schedule a vacation that requires you to be shirtless. That’s what I’ve done.  I now have until September to get my body into tiptop shape. No one wants to feel like a pregnant woman at the side of the pool unless you are in fact a pregnant woman of course.

It’s worked for now.  Here is to hoping it continues to work.  With that said I am still struggling with how to eat healthier, although I did love the Mexican food last night and the Pringle’s I had with my lunch.

Let’s recap things to help get yourself to the gym when you have no desire to, but know you need to:

  1. Convenience
  2. Motivation
  3. Beach or Pool Vacations, you never want to be the fat guy in a swimsuit!
You don't want to be the fat guy at the gym!
You don’t want to be the fat guy at the gym!

I love(d) my FitBit until I needed help

nike_fuelband_vs_jawbone_up_vs_fitbit_flexHave you joined the FitBit revolution?  Honestly, I think it’s worth joining.  I’ve used both FitBit and the Nike Fuelband.  While they both track much of the same information I have found that FitBit just is a better device with a better dashboard and until today have had no complaints for the past 6 months.

What is FitBit?  It’s a product that monitors the steps you take in a day, calories you burn, your sleep habits and much more.  You can also manually track your food intake, water intake and compete with friends.

The competition with friends and family is one of my favorite aspects of FitBit and why I wear mine everyday. It works exactly how it is supposed to for me.  The social aspect really motivates me to walk a little farther and push a little harder each day.  If not for anything else, to not have my best friend in Virginia “taunt” me.

Over the past few weeks I’ve really been hitting the best numbers.  My average weekly steps was balancing between 90,000 steps and 100,000 steps.  That is until yesterday.

I wear the FitBit Flex.  It’s a wristband tracker that goes everywhere with me.  Yesterday the battery died and when I went to charge it I was unable to. This started a week ago when I tried to charge it. I had to hold the battery into the charger until the Flex was charged, but this week that wouldn’t work.  To make matters worse for me, the tracker started deleting steps.

I rushed to the help section of their website for help and found out that FitBit has already concluded that my charging issue could be caused by one of the following issues:

  • Dirty charging contacts.
  • Faulty charging sources (e.g. USB port or plug).
  • A defective Fitbit charging cable or base station.
  • The Fitbit tracker is not accepting a charge

I figured, well at least this is something that has happened to others and I can try the fixes they included in this article (you can find the help article I am referring to here). Following their instructions I cleaned the Flex and the cable, I tried different USB ports on my computer and wall USB ports and I even restarted the tracker like was suggested.  Nothing was fixed and more steps were deleted.

By midday yesterday I had hit about 12,000 steps.  When I got home later in the evening I was able to get just enough charge into my Flex to sync my daily steps that it was able to track before dying, but then the unimaginable happened… my FitBit Dashboard showed only 7,000 some steps meaning it had taken steps away from me!

I gave up and tried to contact FitBit support.  No phone number is available so I completed their online form and created a case.  First I just noted the charging issue. An hour later I updated the issue with the fact that I am loosing steps.

From there I went to bed.

This morning I woke up to find that my FitBit dashboard showed me as only having covered around 2,000 steps yesterday.  I immediately updated my case again.

Now 2:00 pm PST the next day I sit here with still no response.  What happened to allowing customers to call for help?  At the very least have a faster response time to your online help forms.

I love FitBit and how it has positively changed my health and life, but so far I am very unimpressed with their customer service.

When my Nike Fuelband broke I had a new one within 24 hours since they discovered it was a faulty product.  They responded immediately and had a customer service number to call.

I may like the FitBit better for its dashboard and broader tracking abilities, but customer service needs to step up their game if they want customers like myself to keep cheering them on, recruiting new users and using their product daily.