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THE FITBIT BLOG

Answer These 5 Questions to Avoid Thanksgiving Weight Gain

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turkey

Plenty of statistics can tell you what the average person will eat on Thanksgiving or the average amount of weight people gain. But from my many nutrition sessions over the years, I do know a few things about the average person who packs on the pounds over the holidays.

This average person says things like, “Holidays only come once a year,” or “Everything in moderation,” and then proceeds to eat everything not so moderately. And sometimes these average people conveniently miss appointments this time of year.

But you’re better than average right? You’re not going to partake in the pie-a-thon just because others do, right? You’re going to finish your holiday meal on Thursday with no need to “unbutton” or take an immediate nap. And if you’ve been a gainer in past years, have no fear— your Foodtrainer is here. Answer these five questions to “plan it thin.” And make sure to stick to your scale schedule with your Fitbit Aria. read more

The 5 Healthiest Ways to “Pasta”

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pasta

I love that desert island food question. You know, the one where you’re stranded on a desert island and can have three foods with you. While it’s unlikely that any of us will be stranded, or that if we were, somehow our favorite foods would show up. However, if I’m answering this question, my island has pasta (and cheese for the pasta).

Sure, I’m a nutritionist and like my green juices and kale salads, but if life had no rules I’d be eating more pasta. Sadly, real life has rules and in my case that means no gluten—I have a dietary issue with gluten. So I’ve done my pasta research to come up with my top five picks healthy pastas. So whether you have a gluten intolerance or you’re just looking to spice things up in the kitchen, these pasta alternatives are great choices. read more

How To: Hack the Time Change to Maximize Your Sleep

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Kelly Glazer Baron, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Neurology at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on sleep and circadian rhythms, and the role of circadian rhythm and the disruption in obesity. She previously wrote about getting out of bed in the morning.

charge sleep

Nearly everyone looks forward to the ending of daylight saving time (DST) for the chance to capitalize on an extra hour of sleep. It’s especially true today, that first Monday, when it feels so much easier to get up before 7am.

Scientific studies show that there are real benefits to even one extra hour of sleep for the few days after the end of DST, including lower instances of traffic accidents and a reduced rate of heart and stroke-related incidents.

For those who are chronically sleep deprived, this week provides a much-needed opportunity to catch up on sleep in the short term. But what can you do to leverage this shift to help keep your sleep on track? Here are some tips below: read more

Fitbit Halloween by the Numbers

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This is a guest post from Robert da Silva, a data scientist on the Fitbit R&D Team with a PhD. in Astrophysics. His favorite Halloween candy is Reese’s Pieces, just like E.T.

It can be a challenge to stay healthy during the holidays. Mostly it’s eating too much turkey or holiday desserts. And the king of all the unhealthy holidays just might be Halloween, a day entirely based upon collecting buckets of candy. But Halloween is also a holiday where walking plays a large role. Whether trick-or-treating or just walking with the kids, people go door-to-door collecting candy and racking up steps.

As members of the Data Science Team at Fitbit, we wanted to know how all those steps stacked up against that extra candy. We used our massive database of user step data, which allows us to analyze the impact of Halloween.

We started by exploring anonymized data from Halloween last year (2013), which fell on a Thursday. We found that, on average, users that went trick-or-treating gained 2,750 steps—that’s nearly 1.25 miles. And we know everyone loves Halloween candy, so we put together a few easy ways you can offset those extra calories by increasing your daily steps or engaging in a holiday workout. What else did we find? See the infographic below to find out.

So go out and rack up some spooky steps, just make sure the scariest part of your day isn’t your calorie total

Halloween Final Final web

 

Sweet Surrender: 5 Easy Tips to Cut Back on Sugar

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sugar

“Sugar has a bullseye on its back these days”—that’s what one of the speakers said at a recent nutrition conference I attended.

But rather than rolling our eyes at all the “sugar media,” we should realize there’s truth to this messaging. Sugar stinks and it deserves all the negative press it’s receiving.

However, I don’t believe quitting sugar cold-turkey is always the answer. In reality, you need a plan. We all need guidance and using Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar, we quit sugar in the Foodtrainers’ offices for one month.

As someone who has never felt especially drawn to a dessert tray or cookie plate, it was still extremely difficult. Sugar lurks everywhere. So here are a few tips if you’re planning a sugar breakup or just looking to spend less time together with your sweet old pal. read more

Essential Sleep Tips: How to Wake Up Easier in the Morning

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sleep image 9-30

Fall is the perfect season for sleep. Cool and crisp nights cuddled up in a blanket are the best. That is, until you need to get up the next morning.

In full disclosure: I’m a morning lark so in a lot of ways, the dark mornings help me sleep in to a normal human hour (rather than waking at 5:45am with the sun). But for many people, the dark mornings make it even harder to get up and going, especially on workdays.

Aside from improving your sleep by tracking your progress with a Fitbit Flex or One, here are a few tips for increasing your ability to hop out of bed, even before the sunrise: read more

#FitFall: 10 New Ways to Find Your Fitness Inspiration

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Fall photo

OK it’s here. Fall that is. And poor fall—it’s met with so much dread and disappointment of summer’s end. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Fall brings new challenges and inspiration. And when it comes to making progress with your fall fitness, routine is best. If you’re still not convinced and need a little extra motivation, here are 10 great “fallspiration” tips to keep you going right up to winter.

  1. Hoola hoops aren’t just for kid. Believe it or not, there’s a big movement of integrating play into your activities. After all, working out should be fun. So we keep our Canyon Hoop in the office, and we even got our doorman to give it a whirl (or a twirl). Bonus: they’re weighted and great for your core.
  1. Exercise whenever you can fit in it. We love goal setting at Foodtrainers. That’s probably why we love our Fitbits so much. You’ve surely heard of 30 day fitness challenges. We’re doing the pushup challenge for September; and it’s a hard one. Last week we were on our way back from the Natural Products Expo East (over 8,000 Fitbit steps walked during the conference) and we realized we hadn’t done our 28 pushups for the day. So yes, that was us doing pushups on the Amtrak train. These types of fun daily challenges take very little time each day and are incredibly rewarding.
  1. Try destination races. In our office, there’s training going on for the Philly Marathon and the Big Sur half. If you tend to hibernate when the weather is cooler, put a race on the calendar. Or if that sounds worse than winter, try a yoga or meditation retreat.

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How To Nail the Run-Commute

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run commute pic

Commuting. It’s a word very few people get excited about. It conjures up long lines at the bus stop, long traffic jams at toll booths, and long, often sweaty stretches of standing on crowded metro lines or trains.

Yet add the word “bike” or “run” in front of your commute, and notice how possibilities open up. Here’s how to un-tether yourself from traditional means of getting to work and explore self-propelled transit instead, racking up Fitbit steps in the progress.

I’ve been biking and running to work ever since I graduated from college, and along the way I’ve experienced everything these alternate means of transport have to offer.

In my home town of San Francisco I’ve never seen so many people run-commuting as I have in the past few years. Maybe it’s part of a overall spike in running, or maybe it’s a sign of increasing numbers of busy professionals trying to squeeze in their half-marathon and marathon training any way they can into their compressed schedules. Or maybe it’s simply more people seeing more people doing it.

Whatever the reason, run commuting is a great and simple way to log an extra 3, 5, or 10 miles into your day — all the while avoiding waiting, boredom, frustration, and general discomfort of cars, trains and busses. Not to mention helping the environment, and providing yourself with a little headspace to figure out your day en route to the office, or decompress as you head home. read more

7 Science-Backed Numbers to Improve Your Life

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Useful Science is a nonprofit run by 48 grad students and professionals. The authors of this article are Jay Olson from McGill, Kyle Saikaley from the University of Toronto, and Jaan Altosaar from Princeton. Email them at hello@usefulscience.org.

useful science

You shouldn’t need a PhD to reap the rewards of science. Here are seven of our favorite studies relevant to everyday life that show how small changes can have big effects.

We hope this recipe format helps you remember the science!

 

• 70 decibels—the optimal noise level for creativity

Creativity flows best at 70 decibels — the average noise level in a coffee shop. To figure this out, researchers at the University of British Columbia played a jumble of cafeteria, construction, and traffic sounds while participants performed a creative task. People were most creative with a moderate amount of background noise.

When it was too quiet (like a library) or too loud (like a New York City subway), performance suffered. But, you don’t need a coffee shop for peak creativity: apps like Coffitivity and soundrown can mimic the coffee shop audible ambiance.

 

30 minutes of sun every morning

sun morning
This half hour of sunlight makes it easier to wake up the next morning. And for best health, sleep 7 to 8 hours per night — no more, no less. Sleeping much shorter or longer is associated with increased mortality and abdominal fat.

People can improve their sleep by controlling their exposure to light. Before bed, limiting light exposure (especially from screens on devices) can improve sleep quality. Controlling light exposure before traveling can also help reduce jet lag.There are awesome apps for waking earlier, limiting light exposure from laptops, and reducing jet lag.

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#FitbitSummer: 5 Sane Ways to Recover from Vacation

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Lauren Slayton is the author of The Little Book of Thin and created the Foodtrainers blog. She has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University and appeared in Allure, In Style, Cooking Light and more. She previously wrote about Tips to Prevent Weight-Gain Weekends.

vacation recovery

I had one of those “What day is today?” moments when I woke up. But then it sunk in. My extended weekend vacation is over, which makes me a little sad. As long as I’m complaining, I’m also tired.

We were in Montreal for the 4th of July. But it’s not always about going away; sometimes relaxing can leave you wanting to relax more. And then there’s that feeling — you know it. “Uh oh, I need to undo what was done this weekend.”

And you don’t need to “do” that much to feel off. We had lots of seafood, green juice and salads. My Fitbit was happy with upwards of 20K steps a day (love that about vacation), but there were plenty of meals out, cocktails and well, here we are. Before you cleanse or “boot camp” yourself, here are five ways to feel better today.

 

1. Stay Home Tonight (and tomorrow too)
Before we get all technical with the idea of de-bloating, you simply need to spend less time with salt. Takeout and restaurant meals make this impossible. Cooking can mean scrambled eggs or a simple smoothie. read more