With diet and exercise, and a little help from my friends

I was sitting in my office, listening to Goodbye Yellow Brick Road on my turntable — I have it in mp3 format, but when you play vinyl, you play vinyl for a reason –, and planning to write a short post about how listening to that record is my earliest childhood memory. It came out one year after I was born, and my parents played it constantly in our tiny little house out in the San Fernando Valley, when it was still mostly farmland and wide, empty streets.

I remember sitting on the gold shag carpeting, leaning against our black and white checkered couch, listening to This Song Has No Title through giant headphones that probably weighed as much as I did, plugged into the stereo with a curly black cord that must have been fifteen feet long.

I was about to write about that, and explore some of the sense memories this particular album gives me, when Marlowe — who had been sleeping at my feet — jumped up, barked, and ran to the front door. Seamus and Riley followed, and I heard the familiar sound of the mail dropping into the mailbox. I got up from my desk and quieted them down, picked up the mail, and opened the front door to see if there was anything on the porch. I saw some junk mail and a medium-sized cardboard box, which I picked up and brought into the house.

I recycled the junk mail, and opened the box. Inside, underneath a bunch of padding, was the replacement FitBit clip I’d ordered last week, to replace the one that Marlowe thought would be really fun to take off my nightstand and run around with in the back yard.

I thought it was kind of funny that the packaging was so inefficient, and that the padding was proudly called EarthAware. I took a picture and put it on the tweetybox:

"EarthAware"

I know that there are economies of scale for companies like FitBit, so using one basic box to ship things probably makes sense for the company. It’s ultimately not the biggest deal in the world, but the ridiculousness of it tickled the part of my brain that appreciates that sort of thing.

A fair amount of people on Twitter wanted to know how I liked my FitBit, and if I thought it worked, so when I went back into my office, instead of writing about music, I decided to write about how I’ve lost almost 20 pounds since November.

In early November, one of my friends got married. His wedding was wonderful, and it ended up being a sort of reunion for a lot of us who used to write and perform together at ACME, a little over a decade ago. The wedding attire was “1950s Red Carpet”, so Anne got an amazing dress (I’m not exactly an impartial observer, here, but I think every dress she wears is amazing), and I went to rent a classic men’s tuxedo.

I gave my measurements to the lady at the shop(pe), and she got me some trousers and a jacket to try on. I took them to the fitting room, and … I did not fit into them. At all. Not even a little bit.

“I, um, think you need to measure me,” I said. I knew that I’d put on some weight over summer, but I didn’t know how much. I’m not a get-on-the-scale guy, and I’ve always felt like I’m in fairly good health.

I was about to find out how wrong I was.

She grabbed her measuring tape, and put it around my waist. “How bad is it, doc?” I semi-joked.

“It’s, um …” she tugged and looked and tugged again and looked again. “It’s … 40.”

“Forty? Like, ‘hey, let’s bust a 40′ forty?” I said.

“Yep.” She continued to measure around my arms and chest and neck.

“Your neck is sixteen and three quarters, and your chest is thirty-eight.”

“Wow. I’ve really let myself go,” I said. I thought for a second, and said, “So get me what will fit me, and I’m going to start looking after my weight today.”

Before she could leave, I added, “I don’t know why I needed to tell you that. Sorry.”

“It happens all the time,” she said, not unkindly.

She returned with a tux that looked like you could use it to cover a piano*, and it fit me comfortably. I filled out the paperwork, thanked her for her time, and drove home.

“Did you get the tux you wanted?” Anne asked me, when I came into our house.

“Well, I got a tux.” I told her about my new measurements, and then resolved to lose weight. “I knew I was a little tubby, but I didn’t realize that I was incorrectly using the term ‘little’. I need to do something about it.”

“Your stomach has been looking bigger to me,” she said, “and your face is a little heavy. And I don’t care about how you look, but I do care about how healthy you are, and if you’re carrying extra weight around, that’s going to be hard on your internal organs and the rest of your body.”

“I hadn’t thought about that,” I said, and remembered an exhibit we went to at the museum years ago, that featured plastinated bodies. It was a fascinating experience, but something that stayed with me long after we left was a very obese body. This person’s internal organs were just crushed by fat deposits. I don’t recall the specifics, but it made an impression on me: if a person is carrying a lot of extra weight that you can see, they’re also putting a whole lot of stress and pressure on their heart, lungs, and other vital organs that you can’t see.

“So I need to think about how I got here, and how I’m going to get back to my fighting weight.”

“Do you know what you weigh now?”

I shook my head. “But I can find out.” I walked into my office, pulled a scale out of the closet, set it to zero, and stepped on it. The numbers spun around, shook a little bit, and settled down at about 182 pounds. I stepped carefully off the scale, like it would bite me or something if I moved too fast.

“I. Um. Wow.” I said. Last time I checked, I weighed 165.

“Okay,” I said with resolve. “I know what to do. It’s just math, right? Use more calories than I take in, eliminate junk food, and exercise every day. I can do this.”

I did an inventory of what I liked to eat and drink. I don’t drink sodas, I don’t like sweets, and I never have fast food. Those are the easiest things to cut out of a diet for a person who is looking to lose weight, and they were already out of mine.

But.

But.

But … boy do I like burritos, and boy do I like beer.

I did some math.

“I know how this happened, and I know how to undo it,” I said to Anne.

“Does it rhyme with burritos and beer?” She said.

“It does. And not just that, it’s also the midnight cheese.”

Aside: Midnight Cheese is a phrase Anne and I say to describe something that’s a very bad idea. For example, eating a lot of cheese at midnight may taste delicious, especially if you’ve had a few drinks and you’re staying up late to play tabletop games with your friends — just to cite a totally random example that I most certainly did not pluck from my personal experience** — but it’s not the best idea, ever.

“So I have to cut out the midnight cheese, literally and figuratively, and seriously cut back on burritos and beer. I also need to increase my exercise by, like, a million percent.”

Anne’s brother used this nifty little app on his smartphone that let him track how much he was eating, not just from a caloric perspective, but from a nutritional perspective, too. It let him input his meals and snacks, and also his exercise. It was free, so I downloaded it and installed it on my phone. (I’m not going to identify it, because I don’t want to sway people in one direction or another. Just know that there are a lot of them in the App and Play stores, and they’re incredibly helpful). I gave it some stats, like my age, sex, height and weight. I told it my target weight, and how aggressively I wanted to lose weight. It did some math, and gave me a simple plan.

So far, so simple, but this only works if I’m committed, and I think you have to do something for about a month for it to become an ingrained habit. I wasn’t sure that I could make it — one of the super awesome parts of depression is that it can suck all your motivation away from you — but I would just go one day at a time, one meal at a time, and see what happened.

I immediately cut down my beer consumption to one pint a day. I reduced #burritowatch to maybe once a week. I started to enter my meals into my app, and after a few days, I started to see that it really wasn’t that difficult to make healthy food choices, once I knew what was going into my body. Notably, there were things that I thought were okay, but turned out to have tons of sodium in them, or had way more calories than you’d expect. I started to walk every day. It was just a mile or so at first, and by the end of the first week, I was up to two miles a day. I started to notice that, if I wanted, I could do X amount of exercise, to earn Y amount of beer.

I was having a lot of fun, I was starting to feel pretty good, and — here’s the thing that blew me away — when I got back on the scale at the end of the first week, I’d lost almost 6 pounds. I’ve heard from lots of people that once you start watching what you eat and exercising, if you’re carrying weight that your body really doesn’t want, it tends to fall off pretty quickly, but I didn’t think that would really happen to me (Dear Penthouse …) but it totally did!

This gave me a huge motivational boost, and it carried me through to the end of the second week, which was good, because that’s when Thanksgiving happened. Boy, was it challenging to not go nuts at dinner, but when I started recording what I was eating, I felt pretty good about what I had eaten. And I also noticed another thing: I wasn’t overeating. By that, I mean that I wasn’t stuffing myself until I felt like I was going to drop into a food coma. I ate until I was full, but I ate slowly, and really savored my dinner.

I think it was around this time that I asked some of my friends about FitBit, and if it worked as well as people said it did. Every single one of them said that it did, and one of my friends told me that their digital scale was super helpful and effective. It also integrated with the smartphone app I was using, so I didn’t need to manually enter my walks. I ordered one, set it up with my goals the same way I configured the other app, and added my friends to my dashboard.

And this is where it became a game for me, and this is how and why I’ve been able to lose almost 20 pounds just by being smart about what I eat, and getting exercise every day.

I’d see that one of my friends had walked 8000 steps, and I was at 7200 steps, so I’d go for a walk and try to pass him. I’d see that one of my friends was catching up to me, so I’d make sure I parked as far away from the entrance to wherever I was going, so she couldn’t catch me. After a week of this,I saw that I’d walked close to 50 miles in seven days! One day, I was doing lots of stuff around the house and yard, and didn’t even realize that I’d walked close to two miles without ever leaving my property. Little things started to add up, and I started to look at every time I went somewhere as an opportunity to get steps.

And the badges! Oh, the badges. I got a badge for hitting 10,000 steps in a day, then 15,000, then 20,000. I got a badge for losing my first 10 pounds, and I got one for climbing the equivalent of 50 stories of stairs. I know they don’t really mean anything, but it’s fun to get achievements for things like that, and it’s incredibly motivating for me.

But I have to tell you what the best thing was. The best thing, ever, was getting a T-shirt out of my drawer that I loved but could never fit into because it was a skinny medium, and realizing that I could put it on without any difficulty. It was just amazing when I put on a belt, and instead of using the notch I’d been using, went all the way past it to the narrowest notch on it. A lot of my T-shirts and dress shirts are just too big, now, and boy does that feel awesome.

A few days ago, I went to get some measurements taken, because I’m having something special made to wear on the JoCo Cruise. I was pretty excited to find out what my waist was, and I may have let out a little yelp of excitement when I found it it was down to 35 inches, just about 85 days after I’d committed to slimming down a bit.

I don’t know if this will work for everyone. I don’t have emotional or biological issues related to my weight. I have a lot of freedom in my schedule to walk pretty much whenever I want to. I live in a place where the weather is usually pretty great, and I’m lucky enough to combine all of those things into something that works for me. I also have a fantastic certified personal trainer, who happens to be my son, who comes to my house three days a week to train me.

But, mostly, I have motivation, commitment,  and a way to gamify fitness that works for me. This morning, I weighed in at 163.2 pounds, down from just over 180 three months ago. (And I can’t believe it’s been three months, because I really do just take it one day at a time.)

Anyway, since a lot of people asked, there’s my story. And because it’ll probably be a FAQ: I’m not going to add people I don’t know to my friends list, because that’ll be weird for me.

In the time it’s taken me to write this, I’ve listened to all four sides of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Maybe I will write that story about being a little kid experiencing music for the first time after all.

But now I have to go get steps, because I checked my dashboard and Eric just passed me.

 

*this may be a slight exaggeration

**this may not be entirely true

97 thoughts on “With diet and exercise, and a little help from my friends”

  1. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been really unhappy about my own weight in the past year and I think that reading about other people’s success is wonderfully motivational!!

    Also, congrats on your weight loss. You are awesome.

  2. Wow thank you for posting this! I recently lost 30 pounds over the summer by using an elliptical machine and dieting, but my husband is now wanting to lose weight too and has been struggling with it for a few years. My workout he says won’t work for him so I’m going to show him this and see if he’d want to try it. Great job, Wil!

  3. That’s wonderful! I had RNY surgery in October and I’m shopping in my closet. It’s a great feeling and many congratulations to you for taking charge. :D

  4. Congrats on the weight loss! It’s definitely not easy to get started (trust me, I have a few pounds that need losin myself..and I know better than to keep weight on and such but that’s a different post). But once you do and see the results, it’s often very rewarding, almost addicting.

    Everyone’s different (don’t let those “lose X pounds in Y days by Z’ing” books tell you otherwise) but usually a mix of exercise and attention to what you’re eating (I did the same double-take on frozen dinners…and I personally don’t care for much salt on my foods when I cook them myself) can lead to quick losses.

    Also, a change in behavior (no exercise -> even a little more exertion in a day) can lead to an initial drop so those first few pounds will be easier than the next. Just gotta keep at it and maybe increase the exertion (longer walks, more weight or reps if you’re using the gym). And, remember, starving yourself may lose you some weight, but it also loses you some precious nutrition (and your body still needs calories to survive). Get the help of a nutritionist or use an app to figure out caloric targets for your rough size and activity level. Usually the biggest fix is adjusting the intake of high-calorie foods (like beer…it may have alcohol in it but it’s still got calories too) to match your activity level. Then exercise can tip the scales to help you lose the weight.

    In the end, it’s still a balancing act that nature’s figured out ages ago and we just keep forgetting to pay attention to. :)

  5. Great job, Wil! I did the same thing last year, except I went from 260 lbs to 175 lbs playing Just Dance games on the PS3, now I walk 5-8 miles a day to keep the weight off. When someone asks me how I did it, I tell them just what you think, diet and exercise.

  6. Congrats on the loss! It is difficult work taking it off but it is MORE difficult keeping at a good weight. I’ve lost 80 pounds and now fluctuate a bit within a 10-15 pound range, which is a lot, but once you have to lose it, you have to keep it off too. That is why you are doing so great at keeping it at things you can do long term and not get tired of! Also you are awesome, no matter what. Just had to add that there.

  7. This happened to me when I turned 40, I was over 220 and a “beer gut” just like my father had at the same age.

    I did not get the “beer gut” from drinking beer, it sadly was from fast food and eating too much and not moving enough.

    I could not do it alone, so I hired a trainer who helped me lose only 15 pounds in 6 months, but I got rid of 40 pounds of fat, and turned it into 25 pounds of muscle. And the measurements changed drastically.

    Keep at it Wil! It feels good to maintain rather than gain again. ;)

  8. Congrats! I’ve lost 98 pounds in 11 months just tracking what I eat on something similar and exercising more. It’s a great feeling to see the measurements and scale go down and your ability to DO things go up. Kudos :)

  9. I had a similar experience recently: not a get-on-the-scale guy, but stay generally healthy (except beer…and pizza). Went to the doctor just after Christmas for a routine checkup. I thought I was about 162 and I was actually 179. Through counting calories (cannot recommend the MyFitnessPal app enough!) and exercising (using EA Sports Active 2 for the Wii) I’ve gotten back down to 165 already.

    Keep it up and I will too! Give us an update on your progress in a few months, will ya? I need all the motivation I can get.

  10. In the same boat as you were – thanks for the motivation to get going even more. My little week long experiment so far confirms everything you wrote but with an added bonus: I’ve found my depressive bouts shorter and easier to get through – hope you find the same.

  11. Wil…
    Thank you
    From 40-something-year-old gamers and geeks everywhere!

    I ain’t seen the likes of 160ish since I was a teenager….

  12. Great post, thanks! I love my Fitbit. I’ve been using one for a year and a half (along with the Aria scale), and I’ve dropped 75 lbs with it. It’s very motivational! The sleep tracking function is also pretty cool.

  13. Good on ya. And I must say, this story sounds pretty familiar, because it’s the same deal with me. The kick-in-the-ass moment to committing was different, but the rest of the story could have just as easily come from my fingers rather than yours. 77 down, 23 to go… :)

  14. Thanks for posting this Wil! As a person that has struggled with my weight for around a decade, every instance of diet and exercise actually working for people is always nice to see. My girlfriend bought me a FitBit for Christmas and it is one of the most amazing devices I have ever used. I too like the stupid little badges, and once it is no longer North Antarctica here in Illinois, I hope to finally get my 15,000 Step badge and others. Congrats on getting healthier, and I hope that I too can lose 20 pounds in 3 months!

  15. I am the same way about fitness. If I can make it a game then I can actually enjoy it. I started jogging with Zombies, Run and it helped me train to run my first half marathon in November (not too shabby considering I was struggling to jog 1 mile after having my daughter 20 months ago!)

  16. That is a remarkable achievement and such honesty to share it on the internet :)

    Creepy factor aside it may inspire people if they could compete along side you …. I know you are very careful about your privacy and I understand that. But people do look up to you, people relate and while sharing your story will help inspire people to start, working with you in some capacity may prompt people to go further. So perhaps this is something that you could give some thought to – how you can help others without losing your privacy. Oh, I am not saying you have to help people….. I just know that people will ask :D

  17. It’s hard to get back into a good food/moving/life habit but you feel so good when you’re in it. Congrats on getting back to a place where you feel comfortable. My Fitbit (combined with eating properly and shifting my butt of course) helped me lose nearly 100 pounds in the last year. That’s two of my kid!

  18. Fitbit One, Aria scale and food app/website FTW. Well, a slow moving win in my case (I’m deskbound a lot of the time) but I have started including more exercise in the weekend, so that’ll help :)

  19. It was really nice to read this – I’ve been waffling on the subject myself, for no reason other than laziness + feeling overwhelmed. It really can be as simple as you say. Thanks! I think I’ll get back down to it.

  20. Good on you, Wil.

    I was in much the same boat last year. I started using one of those free meal tracker apps (because my wife was using it), not to really lose weight, but to get a handle on what I was eating. I was very conscientious about putting everything I ate into it.

    I set myself a rather modest daily calorie goal and started walking a bit during lunch rather than eating at my desk.

    The thing that seemed to work for me simply this: Every time I wanted to eat something, I had to weigh my desire to eat it against having to get out my smartphone, find what I was eating in the database (or its closest equivalent), make sure I get all of the components of what it was…

    For a lot of snacks, it just didn’t seem worth it. Before I didn’t even think about what I was eating. Just changing my habits to be aware of what I was eating–not denying myself anything, just being aware–really made a difference for me. I got down from a high of 230 pounds down to a bit under 180, which is about what I weighed when I graduated high school *mumble*cough* years ago.

    I do need more exercise. The FitBit looks like it might work for me.

  21. Ah–but no matter what size you are–you begin your post by demonstrating excellent taste in music. Well done. Also, good luck with the fitness chase. I’ve regained and re-lost the same damn 35 lbs more times than I care to count. Never give in, and never give up. Go, Wil!!

  22. Oh, wow, my fitness gadget doesn’t give me badges!!! My entire office got Jawbone UP bracelets for Christmas, and I mostly love that it has a vibration alarm system you can set to wake you during light sleep cycles, buzz you when you’re too sedentary, and you can push a button and automatically it will track and awake you from a power nap.

    …but badges sound pretty awesome, too.

  23. I just got a Fitbit Force at the end of December, and I set my goal weight loss to 2 pounds per week. So far, I’m on track: six weeks into the year and twelve pounds lost. At this rate, I’ll lose 104 pounds and get my BMI down to 25 (the border between “healthy” and “overweight”) right at the end of the year. After that, I might see if I can lose another 12 to match my weight when I ran track and cross country in high school.

    The beauty of this sort of “calorie accounting” weight loss plan, other than the fact that it works, is that you can still eat what you want. You just have to eat less of it and make up for it when you go over. I work out hard on the elliptical machine for an hour after we get our toddler to bed about five times per week. I get additional motivation for my workouts in the form of Netflix streaming. In recent months, I have watched the first three seasons of both The Walking Dead and Doctor Who while on the elliptical machine. In the past, I watched all of Eureka that way, but I wasn’t counting my calories then, so I was just maintaining my weight.

    I just wish some of my friends were on Fitbit too.

  24. Wil, you have inspired me to work harder on my weight goals. I have been maintaining a weight of 210 lbs at 6’2″ and I should be closer to 185. I am hoping that the combination of eating right, and doing more excercise (so hard for an I.T. guy to get out and do something) will help me shed some poundage.

    Thanks for sharing your story – as always, you are a great writer.

  25. Great job! It is so cruel that losing weight seems to take so much longer than gaining the weight. Of course I am 5 feet 0 so I do not have a lot of room for error, figuratively and literally. A thyroid supplement helped me lose 30 pounds quickly the other twenty is going really slowly. I am torn between the Fitbit and the Nike FuelBand–welcome anyone’s opinion as to which one to choose. Wil Wheaton rocks and he does it faster and stronger now!

  26. What a great story. I am going to share this around, I hope you don’t mind!

    It’s the oddest things that cause that wake-up moment, I am just glad yours came before it got out of hand. Keep up the good work, remember that moderation is the key, and keep being awesome!

    Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to do a review of the FitBit for my readers and this just gives me another reason to get it done.

  27. I did, and I *love* the extra data it gives me. I also sprung for the premium account at FitBit, and that extra, granular data has been super useful.

  28. I actually wrote a blog about this myself on my website, Gamer’s Tavern. Back in May, I found out I weighed 440 lbs. Now, I’ve always been a big guy, but that was just too much. So I started to watch what I ate by simply reading the nutritional labels and staying away from stuff that made me feel gross just reading how much fat or how many calories it had. I’m down to 373 right now, and my goal is to get down to 325 when I shake your hand (I’ll have hand sanitizer for before and after, or we can fist bump or no-touch high-five or whatever you prefer) at Gen Con. It’s my first year and I’m covering it for Ain’t It Cool News so I’m pretty excited. I just want to make sure I can make the six block hike to the convention center from my hotel without turning my freshly-showered self into the epitome of sweaty confunk.

    So yeah, it’s not hard to lose weight once you make the decision to do so. You just have to make sure you’re doing it for YOU and not for anyone else. I’d also advise to keep it simple. The less restrictive you make your “diet”, the better. My biggest recommendation…every time you look at something that’s high in fat, calories, carbs, sodium, whatever…ask yourself, “Is this really worth what it’ll do to me?” Sometimes, when you’re out with friends at a nice restaurant and see that cheesy cream-sauce covered dish of awesomeness, the answer will be “yes”. But you’ll also look at that bag of tortilla chips, that candy bar, that bottle of soda, that crappy chain fast food…and you’ll say no. And the more you can say no to foods that aren’t good for you, the faster you’ll drop the weight.

  29. First off, as a letter carrier, I think its awesome that you look forward to your mail being delivered everyday. I’m 6’1″ and have the opposite problem, I’d actually like to be 175-185. I’m currently floating near 170 and with my height, it makes me feel scrawny. I think what’s more important is that you are healthy and you have the energy to do the things you enjoy doing for as long as you possibly can. Well done thus far, and best of luck maintaining.

  30. Dude! Nice job! I swear I’m in exactly the same spot as you were 2 months ago. Fighting weight goal of 165, I’m at 180+, although my food likes are slightly different as i don’t drink, but I love me some chocolate ice cream. As you’d have a pint a day I was having a cup of ice cream a day. I cut that down to once a week. And I’m totally OK with it. I also don’t eat after ~7:30pm. I’ve been using an app on my phone to track my calories, and yes, its way damned easier than I thought. Also walking most days, and yoga 3-4 days a week. My goal is to hit 160~ by my birthday in May. I give my self 6 days on and 1 day off from counting calories. Its to prove to myself that I can EVENTUALLY do it without the calculator. I’m about 3 weeks in and still truckin!

  31. Now, come clean. Since losing the weight, have you stood in front of a full length mirror doing the “Before. After! Before. After!” routine ala Steve Freeling in “Poltergeist”? I would have. All. Day. Long.

    I have been on a slow slide asymptotically approaching embarrassing since my little girl was born. Where does the time go once your kids are born? But you, sir, have inspired me; I like your approach. I’ll wait until my daughter becomes a certified personal trainer, and she can whip me back into shape. I just need to patiently wait for about 14 years… Hmmm, upon further review, maybe that’s not the best strategy.

    AAAAAaaanyway, congratulations on your success. I wholeheartedly endorse anything that will make you healthier and give you more energy, so you can narrate mo’ books. I just finished listening to “Ready Player One”, and I must say that you ROCKED it! I’m sure you already knew that. But, you didn’t know that *I* knew it, too. Now you do.

  32. Congrats on your success. As someone who’s done the difficult thing of getting the motivation to lose a lot of weight, it’s great when people discover that “eat less, move more” is really the best way to go about it (obviously, assuming they can eat less and move more safely, consult doctors, etc.). A few years ago, I was charitably what you’d call “overweight”, and probably could’ve passed for morbidly obese. Over the span of two years, I worked off 140 pounds and I’m currently much smaller than that gravatar to the side shows. (I think that was when I weighed about 320, when I’d lost 30 pounds).

    So, yay! Healthy living!

  33. This was great to read. About 4 years ago, my youngest brother announced he was getting married; I was terrified of being “the fat girl” in the wedding, if I’m honest. Also, I could not escape the fact that my dad was not going to be at the wedding because he died at 58 of heart disease (after having 2 massive heart attacks). I figured if ever I was going to get motivated to do something about my weight, that was the time. I did Weight Watchers with the initial goal of losing 50 lbs by the wedding. I didn’t get to 50, but I got to 42, and I was excited that I’d come that far in just under a year. I decided to keep going; I eventually lost 70 lbs. and was in better shape in my late 30s than I’d been in my late 20s!

    I quit using WW a little over a year ago, and now I use MyFitnessPal every day to log my food and exercise, as it helps me to stay on track. I give myself a buffer of 5 pounds – if I gain more than that, I increase my exercise and revamp my settings for weight loss instead of maint. So far, it is working well. It sounds like you’ve also found ways to make losing weight work for you in your own setting and for the best reason – to be in a better state of overall health.

  34. I use the Fitbit to track my sleep. It has been interesting to see how much I really sleep and how many times I get up during the night. The weather has been so bad I really haven’t been able to use it to track steps.

  35. Great post! I also went on a weight loss journey from 200+ to 160′s. It’s a hard journey at times, but very worth it! In fact it’s one of the things that connected my future wife and I when we met.

  36. The badges reminded me of my favorite workout logging site: Fitocracy.
    It was originally created by self-professed nerds to give some “gamification” to logging workouts (you get points based on move/weight/reps, level up, duel, go on quests, etc), but has moved toward more social aspects (you can join groups by interest – Crossfit, Dr. Who, Running, etc – to encourage and get advise).
    Not sure if it fits your life, but I know it’s certainly motivated me (especially when I’m getting close to leveling up).

    Anyways, love your blogs!

  37. Well done, Wil! This is a great post, and I think you’re going to have a very positive impact on a lot of people who read this. I’ve gone from 220 lbs to 180 lbs in much the same way, (Nike Fuelband vs Fitbit, and I run instead of walking, but as long as you move faster than your couch, you win! [is #fasterthancouch trending yet?]) The message that small changes in habits can have a major and lasting impact is one that can not be emphasized enough, and I am happy that someone with your credentials is speaking this message to those of us that need it most! (Yes…. I speak of he stereotypical “computer nerd” (guilty!) who spends more time in front of a monitor or xbox game than actually moving around…. Harsh truth? Maybe, but I owned it…… And got the achievement for beating it.) Thank you for speaking truth, Wil. I hope many hear it and act. Even if only for the badges. :)

  38. Hey Wil,

    Not sure if you or Anne shop at Walgreens, but if you do and are a Balance Reward member, you can register for their program called Steps and link your Fitbit to your account. Then when you walk, you will not only earn badges, but you can earn rewards points to redeem. And who doesn’t like a little extra $$ in their pocket, right?

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