Monday, 7 March 2016

Kathy's FitBit weight loss story...

After I wrote my first post about the FitBit, Kathy got in touch to let me know how she had managed to lose weight using her FitBit. I was intrigued to find out more, so this is her story, which I am so happy to share because it's realistic, with a healthy approach and fantastic results. I haven't edited what Kathy sent to me because all of it is important, providing a great account of how she achieved her goals, both physically and psychologically.

Kathy prior to starting her FitBit journey

Last winter (October 2014 to Feb 2015) I was poorly with a series of minor illnesses one after another.  I didn't go to the gym and ate too much. I felt run down, fat and out of condition. By the beginning of March I was starting to feel better and keen to get back to the gym. (I've always exercised, even when I haven’t been careful about my weight.)

My Heart Rate Monitor watch was old and not very reliable so to help motivate me I bought a FitBit. I chose the Charge HR model and as our bathroom scales were also old and needing replacement I also bought the FitBit Aria scales. They sync together and your weight is logged automatically. No cheating possible!

I’ve always gained weight easily and the FitBit confirmed what I suspected; that I don’t burn many calories. On a typical day, with little exercise, I am lucky to burn more than 1900 calories.

At first, I focussed on exercise at the gym, and after a month or so decided to start running outside again. The first few times were hard, I had to make myself stay out for 30 minutes! I was going to the gym 2 or 3 times a week doing cardio and some weights, plus an outdoor run once a week. But the FitBit encouraged me, and each week I was running further, faster and for longer. Instead of catching the bus halfway to work, I walked the whole way, and added in as many steps as I could each day. I realised today that I had been spending about £25 a month on bus fares to work. Not a huge amount but in the 10 months I've had the FitBit and been walking to work I've saved £250 – which more than covers the cost of the scales and the Fitbit itself!

By the middle of June I was feeling a lot better and decided it was time to get my weight under control. We had a holiday booked for the end of September so I worked back 100 days until we went, and started dieting from then, using the food logging feature of the FitBit. I set myself a target to lose 2 stone by the time we went on holiday. I managed this with a few days to spare and was really pleased. However I was concerned about putting a lot of it back on it during the two-week all-inclusive holiday, as I would usually do. 

I hoped that I would be able to do less damage this time by making sure I got my step count in each day and swimming as much as possible. I didn't want to put on more than 3lbs. The first day at the resort it rained so I thought I might as well check out the hotel gym. In hindsight, I think that was a good thing for me, as it put me in the right mind-set; yes, I was on holiday, but I could still keep up with the exercise and gym routine. So, from the first day I either went to the gym, doing a circuit-based routine, or I ran outside in the morning, before it got too hot. I really enjoyed this and each day did a different route in and around the resort. I saw much more of it than I otherwise would have, had I just been at the pool or on the deck!

I also decided not to eat and drink whatever I wanted. I avoided the pastries at breakfast and the dishes of Turkish delight. However I ate 3 good meals every day, including a small dessert with the evening meal, and had wine and a couple of G&Ts so I didn't feel at all deprived. I didn't log the calories but made sure I kept up my step count and active minutes each day. For the first time ever I didn't put on any weight on holiday. For me this was a major accomplishment and a psychological breakthrough. I could do it.

When we got back I continued as I had before the holiday and lost a few more pounds so adjusted my target down by 4lbs.  The next hurdles approaching were my birthday which meant a few days in London followed three weeks later by Christmas. The time in London was lovely. I couldn't do my usual exercise, but we did walk a lot. My poor husband! We ate out and I had quite a lot of champagne and cocktails. But again, no weight gained.

With Christmas approaching I lost a couple more pounds, to give me some ‘spare’ as I would surely gain over Christmas, and we would be away for some of the time, so I would miss out on gym and run sessions. So on Christmas Eve I was 2 stone 9lbs lighter than when I got the FitBit back in March. I did put on 3lbs over Christmas/New Year but, I have lost 2lbs of that already and should lose the last pound this week. I have dropped my target down again by 3lbs, and that is now where I am sticking. I feel this is a realistic weight that I can maintain. My aim is to end 2016 the same weight as I started it. I've never managed that before. I've been a typical yo-yo dieter for years, but this time I am determined to break out of that cycle. I firmly believe the FitBit has made the difference; I love the features and the detail it gives you.  

I am motivated by the numbers, and seeing what I am doing. It has become second nature to me and I wouldn’t be without it.

I am the lightest weight I have been in years, and have had to get boxes of smaller clothes out of the loft. Of course, I've also bought quite a lot of new things as well! It was lovely choosing the smaller sizes in the January sales! I am also the fittest I've been in years and I feel great! I'm 51 and can easily hold my own against women much younger than me.

This photo was taken in September 2015, when Kathy had lost nearly 2 stones

So, for 2016 I want to maintain my current weigh and fitness levels. I am still going to count calories for a while, but I am gradually going to increase the daily amount, whilst eating fewer calorie-counted ready meals, or low-fat versions of everyday foodstuffs.  The FitBit makes it easier to do this, and keep on track. Fingers crossed I can do it!

Kathy having lost nearly 3 stones in total. "I am now the sort of person who takes their gear and goes for a quick 5k run before breakfast on a weekend away (I did it every day on holiday too!)"

Kathy has also explained to me how she used the FitBit to log the food that she ate so as to count the calories accurately, so if anyone would like me to share that also, I would be very happy to do so in another post. 


  1. Hi Kathy and Beth, What a great story. I have a fitbit - the cheapest version. It just seemed a bit confusing so have not used it, however I need to spend some time working it out now I have read Kathy's story. Inspiration from you both. very best Yvonne

    1. Hi Yvonne, thank you for your kind comment, that means a lot. I find the 'numbers' and tracking features of my FitBit so motivating, I couldn't have achieved as much without mine.

    2. Hi Yvonne, I'm so pleased that you enjoyed Kathy's story as much as I did when I read it. I think half an hour with a cup of tea and you will soon have cracked your FitBit. If not, I'm sure that you could skype one of us to help! Good luck with it and thank you for your comment. Beth x

  2. Well done Kathy! Good to hear your story and thank you for sharing Beth.

    1. Thanks Jan, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thanks to Beth from me too :) x

    2. Hi Jan, lovely to hear from you! So pleased that you enjoyed Kathy's story and thanks to her for sharing in the first place. x

  3. Wow. That is really an inspirational story! I am really interested in the bit where Kathy found out how many calories her body really burned. That seems like the Holy Grail? There aren't that many women at our age who can still eat 2000 calories so it is extra hard when you are looking to lose weight! Do all the Fitbits do that for you, or only certain ones?! I may be won over if I can figure that one out!! Xx

    1. Hi Meg, Thank you :)
      I use a Charge HR. There are a few different models, and the FitBit website has a good comparison chart to make sure you get the right one for your needs. As part of the initial set up I entered various bits of information about myself and using this it calculates how many calories I burn. It isn't going to be as accurate as checking through blood tests etc, but it monitors heart rate, recovery rate, resting heart rate etc, combined with age and weight to give a calorie burn figure. It's amazing how much difference even a little bit of exercise or activity makes.
      I find the 'numbers' and the real-time monitoring so motivating. I hope it works for you too if you get one. x

    2. Hi Meg - thank you so much for your comment. I'm sure that many people have the same query as you. FitBits tell you all sorts of useful information! The FitBit will tell you what you need just to exist per day but without really moving - and I need no more than about 1200 calories which is pretty low from that perspective. But as I'm active, I burn a lot more than that (on average 2,404 per day) - you get an email each week telling you all of your averages, in addition to what your phone tells you on a daily basis. So if the FitBit tells you what you're burning and if you have an idea of what you're putting in (either by estimating or using the food tracker) you can work out if you have a deficit each day. Hope that makes sense!


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