Holy mackerel where does the time go?

I have to admit that I am not sure if this blog thing is going to continue. I don’t feel the urge to keep going right now, mostly because I don’t seem to have anything to write about that may even be remotely interesting for you all to read. Writing a blog of my life and the stuff in it needs to be interesting and quite frankly it isn’t.

Whilst I contemplate the whole blog thing I may as well provide an update on the Worldwich of Sam.

Flipping heck what has happened since February…… Well the summer holidays are upon us. for once the weather seems to be holding up. I am off for the next 2 weeks but there are no plans cos hubby has changed his job and is now a taxi driver. He loves this …. a lot. Maybe my blog can be full of the stories he comes home with… and maybe not! Because of this recent change in work there has been a slight impact on the finances and going away anywhere is off the cards. Thats 2 years on the trot as it happened last year when I changed my job and cocked up the holiday plans. Anyway we are staying at home. Yesterday was a trip to Wingham Wildlife park near Canterbury. Pleasantly surprised actually. Better than Howletts Zoo to be honest and many many more of the animals were actually visible. I guess that the anti caged animals lobby may argue that this is not a good thing and quite frankly I have no desire to get into the semantics of this but we had a good few hours watching the lemurs climb over people and the meerkats standing up on their hind legs and the otters who are quite simply so fricking gorgeous.

I have bought Savannah a sewing machine and am introducing her to the world of sewing but again I am struggling with mojo and don’t know what to sew. we are trying to learn the basics like threading up the machine and winding the bobbin on etc so its early days but she has made a fully lined tote bag with my support and seemed to enjoy it a lot.

Other plans include a maybe trip to London (finances pending), Broadstairs water gala next Wednesday oh and Pokemon hunting. I am not going to apologise for being one of “the masses” playing this game as I am thoroughly enjoying it. I get out of the house gets my steps up for my Fitbit and generally stay fit. I am not running at the moment due to potential arthritis in my big toe and I don’t really know how this is going to pan out but walking is good.

Anyway going to leave you with some pictures of bags and animals until next time TTFN xx

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Fitbit Charge HR (edited to ad info on comparison when running)

I have had my Fitbit Charge HR for a week now and thought I would update you on where I am with it. This may be a little wordy so my tagline is: I LOVE IT! But there are a few things you need to know.

I have a Fitbit One and Charge HR so I thought I would put them head to head so to speak. A few measurements for you so you can understand where I get my figures from. These are approximate. 2000-2500 steps equals approximately 1 mile. 1 mile = 1609 metres this means that 1 step is approximately 0.64 m. (my walking stride is around this measurement).

Day 1 Fitbit One on my bra strap and Charge HR set to Non dominant hand. I wear my Charge HR on my left hand and am right handed but I do use my hands a lot when I talk and also my left hand for things like changing gear when driving. I do need to make the point that I don’t usually wear my One on my bra strap, it does clip onto my bra but not there, I say this as I am not sure if it makes any difference.

I walked to my car and counted the steps, 289 of them. Charge HR overestimated by 72 steps (approx 46 metres). One underestimated by 26 steps (17 metres). I did a walk down the 2 flights of stairs in my house to my dining room and back up again. Charge HR underestimated by 19 steps (12 metres) and One underestimated by 2 steps (1.2 metres). Final walk of the day from my car to my house. Charge HR overestimated by 26 steps (19 metres) and One underestimated by 13 steps (8 metres).

By the end of this day my Charge registered 5623 steps and One registered 3919 steps. This is a difference of 1704 steps, just over 1 kilometre. Thats immense!!!

Day 2 I change settings on my Charge HR to dominant but it remains on my left hand (I can’t wear a watch on my right wrist it feels so wrong!). One stays in the same place as the day before. As it was a work day I did some fairly similar things to the day before as well. The walk to my car was 200 steps and Charge HR underestimated by 56 steps (36 metres). One Underestimated by 9 steps (6 metres). Walk to my house from my car at the end of the day was 270 steps. Charge HR underestimated by 5 steps (3 metres), One underestimated by 22 steps (14 metres).

Total steps by the end of the day was Charge HR 6916 and One 6382. This is a difference of 534 steps (341 metres). Much more acceptable.

Interestingly driving caused both devices to register steps. Charge HR registered 81 steps on one journey whilst the same journey added 263 steps to the One. This is likely due to the shocking state of my local roads and the fact that I frequently have to slalom to avoid large potholes and the roads are extremely bumpy!

So what does all of this mean? Are these trackers simply a gimmick or do they have a value? Well that depends on what you are using it for. Fitbit do clearly state in their blurb that it is not about 100% accuracy but about trends and if you keep this in mind then these devices are fab. On a work day I may not do much more than 5000 steps but at the weekend this can significantly increase and I like to log into my account or look at my iPhone app and see what these trends are. I have also discovered Fitbit friends and challenges and these are awesome for bringing out the competitive person in you and I frequently can be see walking around in circles in my living room or kitchen to “get my step count up”. My husband argues that this is not true exercise but I refute that. My Charge HR registers my steps and the fact that if I walk briskly round in circles that my heart rate increases this has to be counted as exercise.

I am not a big person but started to tip the scales at 11 stone a year ago and this bothered me. I am a terrible binge eater with absolutely no will power and have appalling eating habits like going all day with no food then pigging out in the evening. I have linked my Fitbit with My Fitness Pal and have lost over a stone in weight and both My Fitness Pal and Fitbit are brilliant tools to help me maintain a good diet and a good level of activity and fitness.

Fitbit is such a good gadget for helping with activity and eating and I love my Charge HR a lot. It is not simply an  expensive pedometer it does so much more than that and I haven’t touched on these yet. I do run (I am a fair weather runner so not a good time of year for running for me!) but I will blog about using the One and the Charge HR with running when I next go.

Take home message today is: Don’t get bogged down with 100% accuracy use it for what it is intended for get up, get moving and hit that goal!

Edited 18:15. I have just been for a brisk walk (with a little bit of running in it as well) but I wanted to update you on how the One and Charge HR fared against each other. I walked 2.18 miles which equates to approx 3496 metres. Charge registered 3504 metres and One registered 3750 metres. This is a difference of  246 steps (157 metres). Charge HR is more accurate. It did struggle to keep contact with my pulse at times but managed to keep up enough to tell me I spent 8 mins in peak zone and 14 minutes in cardio zone and according to the graphics on my iPhone this is pretty much related to my walk / run.

Oh and one last thing: Fitbit, My Fitness Pal and Map My Fitness do not double count. My fitness Pal registers the calories from my run but does not adjust for Fitbit so this improves accuracy of calorie count as well.

Disclaimer: I am not employed by Fitbit all views are purely my own.

 

Fitbit activity trackers

Ok so some of you may know that in March last year I bought myself a Fitbit One activity tracker. The idea was to use it to track how may steps I took each day and to encourage me to begin to increase my activity levels. I had been going to the gym for a few months but wanted to have something that allowed me to see statistics on what i was doing each day.

I love my Fitbit One. It is inconspicuous as I clip it to my bra strap. In my day job I am supposed to be bare from the elbow down so wrist wear is not practical much of the time. I don’t use it to monitor my sleep but I do use it for counting calories, steps and stairs climbed. I have linked it to My Fitness Pal and I record my dietary intake and these 2 things have really helped me to increase my fitness levels and lose some weight. I have not missed  a day of recording my steps walked since I bought my One (except 3 days where I forgot to charge it).

Fast forward to Christmas 2014 and Fitbit announce the release of the Fitbit Charge HR and Surge. Now I am an Apple geek and am very excited about the Apple watch but the Surge looked like a strong contender in upgrading my One. So what do I do, stick to my One, upgrade to Surge or wait for Apple watch?

Sadly, I am not good at waiting but I did manage to have a really good think about what I wanted from my activity tracker. I want a device that does not need to be charged every single day. I want to see how many steps I have taken and how many flights of stairs I have managed to walk up. I want to see what this looks like from a calories point of view and use it to manage my weight. I also run a couple of times a week and I wanted to be able to use it to record my runs and the stats from these.

This discounted the Apple watch pretty much straight away. My husband practically fell over when I told him I don’t want an Apple watch. Want and need are 2 separate things and I simply don’t need an expensive watch that has to be charged every night when I have a perfectly good iPhone 5S. Also, I have no doubt that 12 months after buying the Apple watch it will be superseded by the next version and within 2 or 3 years will be obsolete. This left the Fitbit Surge or staying with my One.

The Fitbit Surge looks like it may be quite big for my skinny little wrists and I am not supposed to have wrist wear on for my day job, so something this large would be impractical. What I like about the Surge is that it has GPS tracking for my runs. I then took a look at the Charge HR. Having heart rate monitoring interests me and was what attracted me to the Surge. This means no chest strap. So now the Charge HR is in the running as a contender for me to upgrade to.

Now I really really want the coloured straps (particularly tangerine or purple) and not the black one so I decided to wait until the coloured straps have been released before making my final decision, but then (as I so frequently do) I gave up waiting.

I finally decided on the Charge HR and the reasons for this are as follows. I am serious about my fitness but have apps on my iPhone that can do the work of some of the stuff the Surge does. I have Map my Fitness that has the GPS for my runs. It also gives me my splits etc so do I really need the Surge? My iPhone always comes on runs with me for my music so I can track my running routes using Map my Fitness. I have slim wrists and I think that the Surge will simply look to silly, The Charge HR will look better and is more acceptable for work. Charging is only around every 5 days and it gives me all the data I am after. So yesterday I became the proud owner of a new Fitbit Charge HR.

First impressions: I like a lot. I like that I can see all the stuff I have become used to over the past year with my One but now I have the added interest of seeing my heart rate. It has predefined heart rate zones based on 220 beat per min minus my age and for the moment I am not changing these. I like that my calorie burn increases in response to doing activity that increases my heart rate. I haven’t worked out yet if this will impact on my recording using other apps such as Map my Fitness. I wonder if I will end up recording something twice but I will see how things go. I am going to wear my One and my Charge HR together for a couple of weeks to compare steps but I don’t anticipate much difference. I do wave my arms around quite a bit when talking so it will be interesting to see if this makes a difference.

If I was a serious serious runner then I would be more likely to invest in a chest strap for proper heart rate monitoring but for me the Charge HR should be exactly what I need. I will let you all know how I get on over the next few weeks.

TTFN xx