The Surprising Reason He Couldn’t Lose Weight

success-story-kaiwiola_blogIn January, 2015, Kaiwiola C. had some stubborn weight that wouldn’t budge. “I’d been in a relationship and had gained 15 pounds or so,” he says. “I was up to 210 pounds and knew I felt better when I was closer to 190.” When the relationship ended, Kaiwiola, a 35-year-old organ donor coordinator from Honolulu, Hawaii, was ready to return to his fitter self.

He started working out more and got back down to 200 pounds, but he couldn’t seem to get his weight to go any lower. Doing some research, he read that it can help to track your movement, so he bought a Fitbit Charge. “I felt like I needed to hold myself accountable,” he says. “I’m always looking at my phone anyway, so the fact that there was an app that went with it made it seem like the perfect fit for me.”

One thing Kaiwiola didn’t realize was that the Fitbit Charge could also track his sleep. “I work in organ donation and we have 24- or 48-hour call schedules. You have to respond to a pager no matter what time it goes off—even if it’s 2:00 am,” he says. “So sleep quality was a huge issue for me—I was always waking up tired.” Kaiwiola was curious about what was going on in the night, so he started tracking his sleep with his Fitbit tracker as well.

It wasn’t long until he started noticing something. “After a month, I saw a correlation between how I slept and how I felt,” he says. “The Fitbit app showed me graphs that explained what was really going on during the night. It was taking me a long time to fall asleep after getting into bed, meaning I wasn’t getting as much sleep as I thought I was.” With that knowledge, Kaiwiola started going to sleep earlier and making sure he was getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. “I needed something to show me that I was staying up a lot later than I wanted to,” he says.

With his new sleep habits, Kaiwiola started feeling a lot more refreshed and had more energy. “I was more motivated to be active and would be up for hiking, surfing, or running,” he says. “I was also more positive overall.” There was another change that came after adding new sleep habits to his healthy eating and exercise routine: He finally dropped the 10 extra pounds he wanted to lose. “I never thought I would see all of those benefits from sleeping better,” he says. “I think sleep was the missing component all along!”

Kaiwiola’s Advice for Others

Make bed a no-tech zone. “I used to get into bed and would look at my phone for a long time,” he says. “No wonder I was taking a long time to fall asleep! Now I don’t take my phone to bed with me—I leave it on the counter.”

Make up for lost sleep ASAP. “If I get a page in the middle of the night and have to wake up at an odd time, I try to nap the following afternoon or go to bed earlier the next night,” he says. “It’s important to make up for a bad night of sleep as soon as I can.”

Remind yourself to hydrate. “I actually write ‘drink water’ down in my planner so I don’t forget to drink while I’m at work,” he says. “I know water intake is important and otherwise I’ll forget.”

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