Weight Loss & Muscle Gain w/ Fitbit

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Project Infobox Question-icon.png
Self researcher(s) Rob Portil
Related tools Fitbit
Related topics Diet and weight loss, Sports and fitness, Food tracking

Builds on project(s)
Has inspired Projects (0)
Show and Tell Talk Infobox
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Date 2011/11/16
Event name Bay Area Meetup
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Weight Loss & Muscle Gain w/ Fitbit is a Show & Tell talk by Rob Portil that has been imported from the Quantified Self Show & Tell library.The talk was given on 2011/11/16 and is about Diet and weight loss, Sports and fitness, and Food tracking.

Description[edit | edit source]

A description of this project as introduced by Quantified Self follows:

Rob Portil is sixty-six years old and has been overweight twice in his life. He used FitBit for four months to help him reach his target weight. In this video, describes how he experiences the daily tracking, how his sweetheart experiences it differently, which Four Hour Body workouts he does, and some key eating tricks he learned along the way.

Video and transcript[edit | edit source]

A transcript of this talk is below:

Rob Portil

Weight Loss & Muscle Gain with Fitbit

So this should be of some interest to most of you; weight loss and muscle gain with Fitbit. In my life I have been overweight twice and never severely overweight, but at one time 25 pounds overweight, and recently 10 or 15 pounds overweight. I lost 10 pounds of fat and added five pounds of muscle in six months. This is a little device you’ve seen somewhere here, or people talking about, it’s called Fitbit. I have nothing to do with this company but I’m a big advocate of it. What I did? I decided I was getting overweight. I was about 165 pounds, which I though was great because that’s what I had been for many years. But then I realized that infact that was my college weight when I had a lot more muscle and I’m now 66 years old. And I was an inch shorter than I used to be. I have scoliosis in my spine, so I’m a little shorter than I was. So I’m now 165 pounds was starting to fall over my belt. So I decided 155 pounds, my high school weight was more ideal and would probably look better. I started using the Fitbit and tracked the calories burned; this is really just a pedometer on steroids. So it tracks everything. It tracks my movement all day long and it tracks my sleep at night. I wear it on my wrist and it actually gives me some indication of quality of sleep. I use their website and a Fitbit iPhone app; either one to track weight, so every day I put in weight and I put in what I eat. I tried in the past a lot of online things with food trackers in them and they’re all pains in the butt. This one is very simple to use. I spend less than 60 seconds a day putting in all my meals for the day. And it just takes seconds for me to put it in. What happened? I went from 166 pounds down to 155 pounds, so I did exactly what I wanted to do. I got to 155 pounds and went okay, I used to have size 34 pants and I’m now wearing a size 33 pants which was great, but I decided there was no reason not to carry it a little bit further. And again using some pieces from Timothy Ferris’s book For Our Body, I decided that I could bring muscle back up and still keep the weight down. In the course of that I just added a few things, and did two 30 minute workouts a week, so an hour a week, four hours a month. Exercises I won’t go through everything, but this whole routine takes less than 30 minutes. It includes my usual yoga routine in the morning and then some of the exercises and pushing them to absolute failure. But it still only takes a minute and a half, two minutes to do that. I went from 155 pounds to 160 pounds. Waist measurement actually went down another inch; these are size 32 pants. The biceps actually went up by an inch, the waist went down. What did I learn? Tracking alone creates mindfulness. So Quantified Self what’s it about? So for me it was about if you are doing any amount of real tracking and looking at what you’re doing, you get more mindful about what it is that you’re doing. Tracking must be easy to do. Why was I using the Fitbit? It turns out that for me and if you’re tracking and I’ve read this before that if you get into the habit of doing something like daily tracking, after a couple of weeks and somewhere between a couple of weeks and a month is where it turns into a real habit and you’re doing it all the time. My love and I are both very addicted to it at the moment. She won’t go to bed without the Fitbit on and we track her sleep all the time. She feels as alone without the Fitbit than she does without the iPhone. What else did I learn? Activity; this is what a day on the Fitbit looks like. It tracks all of your movement, and it very clearly indicates in a crude way but a very effective way about how many miles you travel, how many steps you took, and what the level of that activity was. So this is a day, it’s a normal day without doing anything else, without exercise routine and without a walk. Here is a day with a walk; look at the difference. All of a sudden we’re at that 4.19 miles instead of 2.2 miles. We’re at 24,000 calories, almost 25,000 calories burned instead of 21,000 calories burned, and you can see that I walked to lunch and walked back from lunch and at a fairly brisk rate, so it actually shows the activity level is higher. It doesn’t take a lot to do that, to work that into your routine. I learned what 2,000 calories really looks like, and that’s an odd statement and you can ask me more about it in the Q and A., but it’s like all of a sudden that I thought I was probably eating somewhere around 2,000 calories. The average American eats about 3,000 and that’s why they keep gaining weight. And I finally got to realise that I was probably eating around 2,300 calories every day. And I now know that when a meal comes to me I get a real sense of what a real portion should look like, that a portion of meat should be the size of your fist, a portion of vegetable should be the size of your fist. A great diet for me is protein rich and vegetable rich, so eating more vegetables makes a huge difference. Eating a larger meal at lunch versus dinner makes a huge difference in whether or not that you’re going to gain weight. Fitbit had one other added piece that caused me to learn a lot; what my sleep looked like at night. So again it tracks movement and it’s pretty easy to see. Here is what they class as 97% efficiency. It took me three minutes to fall asleep. Got up to go to the bathroom once, and only a couple of other times in that evening did I even turn over. This is a different kind of night. This is restless night. This is the difference between good sleep and not good sleep and this isn’t one of the worst days. I mean I’ve got some that just look horrible, and those almost always occurred after me eating dinner later or having sugar at that dinner. So a couple of rules came from that. One which is I never go to bed less than four hours after my dinner, and I never have desserts at dinner.

So OrbitalWeb is my company so if you just remember OrbitalWeb/qs if you want to download the slides you can have those slides.

About the presenter[edit | edit source]

Rob Portil gave this talk. The Show & Tell library lists the following links: