My lifestyle was unhealthy
I started using FitBit to both improve my health and to understand the potential of wearable technology. I have a busy life and enjoy eating and drinking! I love croissants, cooked breakfasts, pies, pastry, chips, crisps, cakes, ice cream, chocolate, baklava, wine, beer and cocktails! I used to eat a lot of “ready meals” and Nutella and Häagen-Dazs from the container! Many family and social events revolve around meals. There are always snacks on the ward and I often bring treats for the team. My catchphrases were: “It’s rude not to!” and then “I’m stuffed – never eating again!” I have recently discovered that my ‘individual’ portions are apparently designed for families! No wonder the last few mouthfuls hurt!
I used FitBit to track my consumption, then limited overall calorie intake
As outlined in Getting Started, I now measure every portion obsessively and enter it into the FitBit app. This gives a guide to calories consumed and remaining in the day. I was pretty good at stopping when I got to my daily calorie limit. And delighted when I discovered that if you walk further, you earn more calories which could allow that extra glass of wine!
I changed my diet in two ways. Firstly, I use the 5 + 2 Diet. This limits intake to 600 kCal a day for two days a week (500 kCal for women). On the other days I could have a normal amount. In order to maximise the rate of weight loss, I selected the FitBit “Harder” option of eating 1,000 kCal less than I burned every day!
The 600 kCal days can be demanding.
I try to choose days which should are easier. I avoid long days at work, weekends and days with meals out. At first I had so much flab, I didn’t really notice not eating! I usually miss one or two meals a day. The food often involves a lot of salad, some fish and a bit of fruit. I remember removing three lettuce leaves to get to 600kCal! It is amazing how good food can taste on a 600kCal day! The days can be tiring and I have become ratty at times! It is also a challenge to maintain the 10,000 steps on those days.
My behaviour has changed – I now have healthy habits
I have learned to drink water! I used to think there was sufficient water in wine! My FitBit says I need 1,420ml of water a day and I have managed to hit that goal each day.
The experience has been fascinating in many ways! Many foods have a standard portion size that previously seemed ridiculously small! It has been a shock to discover how calorific the foods I really enjoyed are! So now I have cut back a lot on pies, cheese, puddings and bread. I now limit portion size and pour drinks into a measuring jug first! Instead of that goblet I used to like, I now use a much smaller glass! When a bottle is nearly empty, I used to just finish it! Now bottles last for days!
I no longer snack! I can walk past a tin of chocolates and resist cake! It is not painful and I am not being a martyr. The new behaviours have become habits.
When shopping, I choose low calorie options! Restaurants that publish calories are really helpful. It is actually shocking how many calories are in typical meals! I even opted for the Pizza Express Leggera pizza (with a hole in the middle it is only 500 kCal!).
This new lifestyle can be challenging
It is difficult to sustain is when tired, under stress and away from home. When run down, I have retreated to snacking for comfort. When at conferences or parties, it is difficult to be too fussy and also hard to know how many calories you are eating.
My new diet has surprised and delighted me!
Overall, it has been a real revelation. I did not believe that measuring my intake and eating less could have such an impact! I have started feeling hunger (occasionally!) which is an entirely new phenomenon for me! Another surprise is that many people in my department are now losing weight! This is without me encouraging anyone! I believe there is huge potential for extending 5:2 to other areas. Click here to learn more about the Quantified Self movement.