As part of a campaign we ran to see if kids really pester their parents to stay healthy we interviewed Ella and her dad, Will. Ella said that her dad needed to rethink his health choices, so we supplied Will with a FitBit to track his activity and eating habits, and then followed up a few weeks later to see if the pestering was paying off!
A wake up call
During the course of the interview, I was made extremely aware of my intake of food. I knew I didn’t have a problem with exercise – my exercise habits are great – I just really need to become more aware of not eating the wrong stuff. I didn’t realise how much my children picked up on that.
My main problem is that I’m a picker. If food is there, I’ll eat it. And I work in an office where the manager always makes sure there is food available, so that doesn’t help me keep the weight off.
How the FitBit helped
By undertaking the FitBit challenge I came to some interesting revelations. It didn’t change the way I exercise at all. But what it did do was make me think more about the food I was putting into my body. It probably made me drink less alcohol as well.
The food diary was a bit annoying because I had to put everything in manually and I often didn’t put my food intake in was because I was afraid of the results. Having the tracker made me aware of the bad choices I make about food on an everyday basis.
It did drive me to make better choices because I knew ‘big brother was watching’. It wasn’t just me who was paying attention to what I was doing, I had the device, too. And I knew I didn’t want to be in a place where I’d look back at those results in 3 – 4 weeks’ time and see that despite all the exercise I did, I sure ate a lot, and that’s where my problems are coming from.
I’ve come to realise that you counteract all the good that you’ve done from the exercise. They say the rule is 80% food, 20% exercise to keep you in good shape. I discovered that I’m more the other way, I’m much better about exercise than food. And while that hasn’t changed a great deal, but I’m much more aware than I was before.
Changes for the future
I think I should have taken the effort to make my daughters more interested in the FitBit. They are quite competitive, and young minds are so much more receptive to this sort of thing. I would like to see if we would have more success if we pushed ourselves as a family to get healthier together.
I own my own company, and I think that doing this challenge has shown me that employers have a real opportunity here. Using something like a FitBit as part of a wellbeing programme would encourage a focus on health, and perhaps push people to get up from their desk more at lunchtime, to walk to work more. That only helps employees and businesses like mine stay healthy and productive.