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Fitbit Inspiration: Jennifer C.

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Running isn’t a hobby it’s a career, and on February 27, 2014 my career got a little more interesting. That was the day I got invited to join a work group to complete Tough Mudder.

In the beginning, I was thrilled telling myself that it’s just like some of the other obstacle races I had run, only longer. At the time, I was averaging 10K steps per day, using my Fitbit Zip to calculate each move I made.

With only seven months to train, I knew I had my work cut out for me. My primary goal was just getting up to a 12-mile run, about three times longer than my usual distance. Each week I added 1K steps to my run until I hit my 12-mile goal, I then decided to make it a little more challenging.

My weekends began to fill with 10-mile trail walks on Saturdays and 12-mile trail runs on Sundays. At this point, two months before Tough Mudder, I felt I was trained and ready to go. But then I started browsing the race website and quickly realized: I was not ready.

My Zip pushed me to get gradually increase my steps/distance, betting my time and training.

Needless to say, I increased my workout intensity lifting weights, swinging kettleballs, kickboxing, and completing various core workouts to increase my upper body and core strength as quickly as possible. The ultimate goal was preparing for a Tough Mudder obstacle called Everest—a quarter pipe climb covered in mud and grease. With just one month to train for this terrifying climb,  the one tool that I used the most was my Zip.

I found the highest hill near my house and ran all-out wind sprints. I started with just a few feet, but gradually increased to sprinting the entire hill and back several times. My Zip pushed me to get gradually increase my steps/distance, betting my time and training.

On the morning of race day, I was nervous and excited. At 9am we were on the road and by 10am, at the starting line to the Tough Mudder in Montgomery City, MO. In the back of my pants was a zipper pouch where I had my most reliable tool, my Fitbit, in two plastic bags hoping that it would survive along with me on our 12-mile obstacle race.

With my husband by my side, we completed one obstacle after another—even one where I had to carry him 500 feet!

We jumped in the arctic enema (think tank full of ice water) diving underwater, shaking as I moved through the ice bath to the opposite side.

The final obstacle—a muddy sprint through a barrage of hanging, electrically charged wires—stood between me and the finish line. With a couple shocks to my frame, I crossed the finish line, hoping my Zip was still in one piece.

Through all the mud, water, and obstacles both me and my trusty Zip and survived. It tracked all 12 miles, validating one of the most physically challenging days of my life.

It’s amazing what a person can accomplish by overcoming your fears with the tools and team to help achieve your goals.

 

Fitbit Success Stories: Jonathan B.

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Fitbit Success Stories is a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition.

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“Fight! No matter what happens in the next 24 hours I want you to fight and never give up. You hear me?”

Those were the words whispered to me on November 4, 2013, and they shaped the last year of my life. You see, that was the day I was rolled back into an operating room for a gastric bypass surgery. Everyone was scared of what would happen once I came out of surgery. The doctor was preparing everyone for the possibility that I would wind up in the ICU for a couple days or longer.

It was a surgery that not only saved my life, but gave me a new body and a new lease on life. I never went to the ICU. Though I had no major complications from the surgery and my recovery was a breeze, that comment about fighting has stuck with me this last year. It has become my motivation and my credo.

No matter what happens, each and every day I need to fight. I need to fight to get my body back. read more

Fitbit Success Stories: Ann D.

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Fitbit Success Stories is a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition.

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“It’s time.” That’s what the voice in my head was telling me: that it was time to do something about my weight. It was early 2013 and I was carrying around 286 lbs. on my 5’6” frame—not a healthy place to be as I approached my 50th birthday.

I knew that things had to be different this time around – that whatever changes I made to my life had to be sustainable over the long-term. After all, what would be the point of working really hard to lose weight, only to end up gaining that weight back again?

I started out by keeping a food diary so I could get an accurate handle on the quantities and types of foods I was eating.

About four months into my weight loss journey, I treated myself to a Fitbit Flex with the hope of boosting my physical activity level.

That changed everything for me. read more

Fitbit Success Stories: Annemarie

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Fitbit Success Stories is a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition.

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At 48 years-old I was in constant pain and felt like a prisoner in my own home. Just walking around my house caused my feet and heels to ache, and I was afraid I was going to end up dying young. I had tried every diet out there and even thought about getting gastric bypass surgery. But I was afraid of the recovery and complications, not to mention the cost of the surgery.

At over 376 pounds I was sure that I just couldn’t do it on my own. I ended up in the ER one night. The doctor told me I had a heart murmur and was pre-diabetic. He advised me to begin taking better care of myself and losing some weight. Thinking about how much weight I needed to lose was overwhelming. But I was so tired of popping Motrin like candy, and my stomach was constantly aching from to the overuse of pain relievers.

A few weeks later I was watching The Biggest Loser on TV. I saw that the heaviest woman they had ever had on the show was almost as big as I was! I thought to myself, “If she could do this, I had to at least try one more time.” So I started by getting on my recumbent bike and watching The Biggest Loser at the same time. Needless to say, it took several days  of building up before I could get through an entire episode.

Not only did I lose over 206 pounds, but I was finally able to fulfill a lifetime dream…

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Fitbit Success Stories: Martha D.

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Fitbit Success Stories is a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition.

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Oh how I wish I could’ve blamed being overweight on my thyroid or some other physical disability. I’ve had tests done and my metabolism is perfect. So why have I fought the battle of the bulge my whole life? Ready for a shock? I ate too much!

Here I am, 57 years-old and a retired Naval officer. Yes, I was always fighting the weight standards when I was in the service. When I retired, however, it was, “Woohoo, I don’t have to do mandatory physical training (PT) anymore. No more semi-annual PT tests! No more getting the measured by the dreaded tape and trying to suck as much in as I could without being too obvious!”

So on January 1, 2014 the Flex went back on my wrist and I was underway. My goal was to lose 105 lbs.

And because of my decision to not exercise or eat well, the weight piled on. And on and on.

In May 2013, I bought a Fitbit Flex and I started watching what I was doing. And it started to work. But then some “life” moments happened and I put it away, then put back on what I’d lost plus 20 lbs more.

In December 2013, I had a serious talk with myself. I said, “Look you are either going to get this darn weight off or just throw in the towel and blow up until you have a heart attack. You have a military reunion in June 2015 so you have got to start now or totally embarrass yourself with your “plump” (to put it kindly) appearance.” I chose to get the weight off.

So on January 1, 2014 the Flex went back on my wrist and I was underway. My goal was to lose 105 lbs. read more

American Heart Association Go Red For Women Success Story: Paula Chavez

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This month we’re working with the American Heart Association and inspirational Real Women who have made big, positive changes in their lives through exercise. And we’re helping them go even further, outfitting them with a Fitbit Flex to help take their health and activity to the next level. We’ll be checking in over the next few months with Real Women like Paula to see how Fitbit has motivated them to include physical activity in their daily lives. So stay tuned!

And don’t forget that you can get involved, too. Fitbit Red Flex purchases from May 1st through end of day tomorrow (May 31st) benefit the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women® movement.

Paula Chavez has two simple messages for women struggling to make health changes: No more guilt. No more excuses. This became her personal mantra following an annual physical a few years ago. 

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Just 32 at the time, her doctor warned her that some changes had to be made if she were going to live long enough to see her grandchildren. Her goal of better health became even more important last year, after her father passed away from a sudden heart attack.

“My father died before he was able to meet my youngest child and I really struggle with that,” Paula says. “I was passionate about this topic before because of my own health issues. Now I am on a mission to help stop this disease.”

Paula’s journey to better health began after her second child was born in 2010.  She was extremely overweight and battling high cholesterol. “You won’t see a single photo of me from that time because I never went anywhere and didn’t want pictures taken,” she says.

Paula’s shame about her appearance, combined with her doctor’s recommendation that she take cholesterol medication, made her realize it was time to change. “Why would I take medication for something that I knew I could control with diet and exercise?” she asked herself.

Making changes wasn’t easy. Her 70-pound weight loss journey, which took more than a year, began with small steps. She started exercising a little every day and making family recipes healthier. “I’m Hispanic and grew up eating a lot of animal products and thinking you had to fry most things to make them taste good,” she says. “ I didn’t diet to lose the weight. I completely transformed the way I ate.”

Little by little, Paula added more fruits and vegetables to her diet and began cooking differently. Soon healthy living became a family affair. When her husband started getting healthier too, his own cholesterol and blood pressure numbers started to improve. Before her father died, Paula encouraged both him and her mother to transform their eating habits.

Though they lived in Colombia and Paula lives in New Jersey, Paula enjoyed “sharing” family meals again because they talked about the foods they were preparing each day. Sharing what she’s learned with family and friends has become a calling. Paula, a certified fitness instructor, started a free fitness club at a local school one night per week.

She uses social media to share heart-healthy tips and has online “friends” she has never met rooting her on and thanking her for helping them live healthier lives. Her advice for living a heart-healthy life? “Become aware of your family medical history and learn your cholesterol and blood pressure levels,” says Paula.  “Have a conversation with your doctor about your heart disease risk factors and about recommendations for a healthy lifestyle.”

With a part-time job and three children ages 11 months, 3 and 10, Paula can relate to women who are juggling the demands of family and career. But her own health is now top priority. “What good does it do my family if I am not here in the long run to take care of them?” she says. “I am taking care of me and setting an example for my kids, who now see that healthy eating and exercise are just part of our family routine.”

Fitbit Success Stories: Jennifer L.

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This week we’re celebrating Mother’s Day with our friends over at MyFitnessPal. Whether you’re a mom or you just happen to have one, you’ll find great tips and advice for staying healthy and happy all year long. Today’s post is a success story from Jennifer L., a 38-year-old Canadian stay-at-home-mom to 2 girls, ages 8 and 11. She lost amazing 92lbs. using Fitbit and MyFitnessPal!

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In August 2012, Jennifer decided to get serious about losing weight. “I was tired of having to wear plus-sized clothes. In my town there aren’t a lot of choices for larger women, so I hated what I looked like in the clothes I had to wear,” says Jennifer. “I didn’t want my children to be embarrassed to have an overweight mum, who wasn’t able to do things with them. My self-esteem was low and I felt invisible.”

She knew she needed a change, so she decided to try MyFitnessPal. “It’s so easy to keep track of what food I eat because of the huge food database & the scanner,” she says. “Before I started losing weight, I wasn’t exercising at all, unless we took the family to a zoo or something. I was eating WAY too many calories—a lot of sweets including chocolate, pastries, ice cream—and not enough real food. MFP helped me watch my food and nutrition, because it showed me which macro levels and micronutrients to focus on. The forums were also very helpful whenever I had a question. In the end, the content of my diet hasn’t changed too drastically. I go by IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), so I don’t discount anything from my diet.”

“As of March 30, 2014, I lost 75lbs. It’s so hard to believe…”

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Fitbit Success Stories: Mark Sands

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Fitbit Success Stories is a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition.

Today’s post is from Fitbit user Mark Sands.

I never really considered myself an athletic person. As a child, I regularly overindulged in sugary soft drinks and fatty foods. Portion control was nonexistent in my house. I tried to get into several different types of sports, but my weight held me back from truly enjoying them. I was teased by my peers. To make things worse, I saw little value in trying to do anything about it. I used food to comfort my overwhelming anxiety. As a freshman in high school, my weight was at its highest: 220 lbs. with a 42” waistline. I was 16 and officially obese.

Then a series of events occurred that changed my life forever. One of them was the loss of my father due to brain cancer. He wasn’t terribly out of shape, and he never did anything to get healthier. This motivated me to start improving my health.

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Fast-forward to college graduation: I’d lost 40 pounds and 8” off my waist. I was stronger, faster and had more endurance than ever. I began to pursue a career in law enforcement and became even more focused on becoming fitter and healthier. I needed to be at the top of my game to combat the high stress of the profession, as well as the life threatening situations I might face on a daily basis. read more

Fitbit Success Stories: Adam Webber

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Introducing Fitbit Success Stories, a recurring feature on the Fitbit Blog. You’ll read inspirational and personal stories about Fitbit users who have achieved amazing things as a result of their Fitbit tracker, diet, exercise, and sheer ambition. To continue with the momentum of American Heart Month, today’s post is from Adam Webber of the SF Bay area is especially timely. Read on for one amazing story.

My name is Adam Webber. I’m 33 years old and I live in Fairfield, CA in the San Francisco Bay area. In April of 2013, I set a goal to lose 100 pounds. This is my story of how I did it.

I had reached 255lbs. Like most people, life happened. I was eating cheap, easy-to-get food and never had the time or desire to exercise. I put on a lot of weight shortly after the birth of my son. He was born six weeks early and with two congenital heart defects. He spent 10 long weeks in the hospital before coming home.

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My wife and I commuted daily to the children’s hospital in San Francisco and often stayed overnight. There was a lot of comfort eating and even more sitting around. Several months later, we (my wife and I) made the decision that if he needed to eat a heart healthy diet and exercise regularly [when he’s older], we’d better be doing the same. In April, we purchased our Fitbit Ones and an Aria scale.

As a starting point, I saw my doctor for a physical. My cholesterol was 240. My blood pressure was 150/120. My body fat percentage was 50%. I started getting active. I started improving my diet. I began walking one mile per day. It was all I could do. I began doing something I had never done before: counting calories. I quickly learned that I needed to burn more calories than I take in. I set a daily calorie goal of 1,500 and was burning about 2,500. read more