Technology in weight loss

Kip singing to LaFawnduh

Yes, I love technology. But not as much as you, you see. But still, I love technology. Always and forever.” – Kip, Napoleon Dynamite

I love that movie, and the song at the end is the perfect note on which to end it. My wife and I joke about the song, because technology is partly what bought us together. Our friend Elaine was a blogger as was I, and through the technology of the Internet and of blogging, I met my wife. It was technology that showed me how selfless and caring Sherry is: after a few power outages that kept forcing reboots of my self-hosted email server in my home, Sherry showed up one night after work with two UPS’s that she bought for me. That’s when I knew: this girl was a keeper.

I love technology. I always have. It’s something I learned from my dad who was always interested in tech and sci-fi. He encouraged me in any endeavor involving science and technology, and my favorite magazine was one he subscribed to: Popular Mechanics. Just seeing the title of that magazine on my monitor as I typed it brought back many warm memories of the glee I would feel when I opened the mailbox and saw the brown wrapper around the magazine with those words on it. I knew I was about to learn some cool stuff, see some cool tech, and be thrilled for at least a few hours about what’s coming in the future!

When I started my weight loss journey, I knew that if I had any chance of success, I had to find a way to get technology involved. I was using a Jawbone Up to count steps and to help analyze my sleep, but while it was cutting-edge when it came out, it was a little dated by the time I bought one. I had to sync it via a 3.5mm headphone jack to get any data off of it, and it was just a black wrist band with no other function. After a while, I replaced it with a Fitbit Surge which was amazing. It was not only a step counter, but it had GPS and a nice screen. I could track my runs with accuracy, and it had some limited smartwatch functionality (notifications and alarms). It was a great watch until it wasn’t. The battery life on mine has been fading fast in the past few weeks, to the point where I was having to charge it every other day (that’s a lot considering I used to have to charge it once every 10 days when I first got it). Seeing where this was going, the search was on for a replacement.

That replacement arrived yesterday: The Garmin Fenix 3 HR. It’s not Garmin’s latest and greatest fitness smartwatch; they literally just released the Fenix 5. However, after looking over all the features, I decided that the Fenix 3 HR was really the watch I was looking for. It has all the features I need, and many I don’t. Best of all, it’s robust, has a good battery life, is very configurable, and even has a sapphire crystal bezel which will help cut down on scratches.

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My new watch. It’s pretty big on my small wrist, but I love it.

I didn’t get a chance to use it on my run yesterday as it arrived with a dead battery and I’m a stickler for getting an initial charge on any new device to 100% before I use it, so I ran one last run with my Fitbit Surge. As runs go, it was a good one. I ended up running 3.3 miles with a 9:39/mi average pace which is within my happy range. What I love most, however, is being able to look at data that points to my progress. Data points make me happy. I like to geek out with the data collected during my run to see my pace as it evolves through a run, the altitude changes (if any), the route, how the different parts of the route affect my pace, my breathing, and even my heart rate. It’s fascinating to me, and yes, it helps motivate me.

That’s the bottom line, I think: the technology motivates me and helps me be a better runner and helps keep me in line with my health. I always tell people to find the diet that works best for you and your body. Well, in this case, I also recommend finding whatever gadget or technology helps fuel your journey. Our minds need fuel for motivation. It can be just as important as what we fuel our bodies with for energy.