Before my operation I would never have considered walking into work. I struggled to get up the stairs to my office so the three-mile trip was a definite no. Once I lost a few stone, I started going on a lot more walks and began trekking it to work as many mornings a week as I could.
Each time I walked in, the time it took me got a little bit less and the journey got easier. I even started exploring different routes to see which was best. Yesterday was the first day that I managed to walk both into work and home again, which is a huge achievement for me. In fact, I can tell you that I walked a total of 6.5 miles, took 17,067 steps and burned 3,307 calories from the time I woke up to when I got home. I know this because my new Fitbit Flex 2 recorded everything.
There's so much hype about fitness trackers that I didn't know where to start. My husband uses his smartwatch to track steps, sleep and other things, but to me, it looks a bit chunky, especially as I never wear a regular watch. I wanted something a bit simpler and more subtle, which is why I began looking into Fitbits.
I liked the idea of a flexible and thin band, and Fitbit has a few different designs that caught my eye. Sadly, after doing a bit of research, I found that none of the Fitbits were swim-proof, which was a big issue for me as I a also wanted to track myself in the pool. This meant it was back to the drawing board.
In the end, I found that there was only one decent fitness tracker on the market that was fully waterproof rather than just water-resistant, which was from Garmin. This tracker was basically a smartwatch, not very pretty and essentially what I was trying to stay away from. But then I saw that the Fitbit Flex 2 was due to be released soon.
Sadly, it wasn't released until after my holiday so I couldn't track the hours I spent in a pool in Menorca, but I was able to pre-order to be delivered late October. It ended up arriving the day before it was due - I had it sent to my office so I, of course, was working from home when it arrived - and I don't think I've been more excited to get post.
As soon as I opened the box, I knew I'd made the right choice. It is small, slim and really subtle, even with the standard strap. It comes with two different strap sizes - I'm wearing small - so anyone can wear it, while the device itself is easily inserted and removed from the strap, although it is fully secure when you're wearing it.
It was totally out of battery when it arrived so I needed to charge it before I coul wear it. It comes with a USB charger and it doesn't take long until the battery is full. While it's charging, you can sync it to the app you need to download for your phone, allowing you to sort out all your settings.
I've set mine up to also track weight loss, the number of calories I consume via the food plan and how much water I drink. I also changed a few settings including how many calories difference I want between what I burn and what I eat, when my active hours are, my sleep schedule, how it measures distance and my stride length, among other things. Essentially, the more information you give it, the better it is at tracking you and luckily, the app is easy to figure out.
You can also set it up to notify you of calls and texts, but I've not bothered with this as I ignore my phone when I'm out on walks anyway so I didn't want my Fitbit buzzing away too.
The app is what gives you your info as there is no digital face on the Flex 2. It does, however, have a light display and vibrate function. You can top the top and it will light up to show you how much of your daily step target you have achieved, with the four white lights each equating to a quarter. This allows you to track progress without having to sync your device constantly - which requires you to turn on Bluetooth and location on your phone.
It will also flash and vibrate if you haven't moved enough during your active hours in order to remind you to get up and do some walking. I've found this really helpful as I work in an office and am usually stuck in front of my computer. When my Fitbit buzzes every hour, it reminds me to take a break and stand up for a bit. I don't always do it as things can get fairly busy, but I try to.
All in all, it looks great - and will look better when I treat myself to a shiny bracelet for it - is easy to use and is really accurate. It is probably the best £80 I've spent on myself.
It has made me be more conscious about the calories I consume, especially as some days my gastric band means I can't eat a lot, which isn't best practice, and how important a good night's sleep is. I've already started making changes beyond walking to and from work and the fact that I can see my progress quantified has helped me get excited about even small achievements I've made.
I'm really looking forward to using my Fitbit Flex 2 more and learning more about my results as I continue on my weight loss journey. If you've been thinking about buying one, I highly suggest you do as it is amazing the difference it can make to your motivation.