“I’ve been overweight since I was 13 years old,” says Arvindu S., a 25-year-old manager of a department store in the South American country of Guyana. “I loved to eat junk food, like pizza and fried chicken, and I just wasn’t good at sports—I preferred to read or watch TV.” On New Year’s Eve, 2014, Arvindu tried to take a good picture and realized he didn’t like how he looked in any of the photographs. “I weighed 210 pounds, which was about 50 pounds more than what I should for my height,” he says. “It just so happens that my birthday is on New Year’s Day, so when my parents asked me what I wanted for it, I told them I wanted a Fitbit Charge.”
Arvindu immediately started working out at home, trying to see how many steps he could get. But it wasn’t until a month later, when some of his friends got Fitbit trackers as well, that he started pushing himself more and more. “We would do weekly challenges against each other—I’d win first or second almost every week,” he says. “I had a competitive spirit that I didn’t even know I had. One day I reached 50,000 steps!” Arvindu and his friends wouldn’t just quietly go about their challenges, they’d do a lot of competitive talking. “My friends would see how many steps I was getting and would tell me to go to sleep and stop walking,” he says. “That just made me want to keep going!”
Arvindu found another form of motivation: the badges you can earn through Fitbit. “One day I made my workout include climbing more than 100 sets of stairs just so I could get the badge,” he says. “I tried to get a different badge every week!” As his step count went higher and higher, Arvindu knew he also needed to change his diet if he wanted to see better results. “I decided to stop eating fast food and junk food and would instead pack my lunches,” he says. “I would bring vegetables and grilled chicken with either jerk seasoning and masala spices with me to work. And if I ate something I wasn’t supposed to, I knew I could just work out more.”
Once he revamped his diet, Arvindu started losing weight quickly—he reached his 50-pound weight loss goal within 10 months of getting his Fitbit tracker. “I’d tried to lose weight before with a personal trainer, but I would just exercise 50 minutes, four days a week, and the rest of the time I wouldn’t do anything,” he says. “Having a Fitbit tracker meant I was moving throughout the day, every day.”
Arvindu’s Advice for Others:
Walk the walk. “I tried to make sure I left work with at least 10,000 steps,” he says. “So I would make a point to visit all of the different departments of the store and use the stairs over the escalator.”
Have smooth mornings. “I love starting my day with a spinach shake made up of spinach, blueberries, almond milk, flax seed, and some protein powder,” he says. “It keeps me full until lunch.”
Make mini milestones. “I would always set small goals, like just losing five pounds, instead of a big goal of losing 50 pounds,” he says. “That kept me motivated because I was always on my way to accomplishing my next goal.”
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This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.