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Should You Get a FitBit? Or JawBone? Or Neither?

The professional organization for dietitians (AND) sends out daily emails with varying nutrition articles and journal articles. And I read them. Today, one of the articles  (this time from the Journal of Medical Internet Research) reviewed the usefulness of activity trackers. It didn't really say much except that more research is needed to determine how these fitness and diet trackers can help with public health.

So, the big question is...does it make you healthier? Well, no, but it can help you make more conscious decisions about diet and exercise that would in turn improve your health. So, the next question is...which one? JawBone or FitBit? Read on to see which one may be better for you. 

Keep in mind, I have the FitBit so I know more about it. J.T. has the JawBone so, while I am familiar with it, I don't know all the small deets. I got a FitBit as a gift from J.T. for Easter and have worn it every day since. I was already active before and wore a pedometer on a daily basis because my company gives incentives for reaching goals with Virgin Pulse. Thanks to my FitBit, I don't have to keep up with a pedometer. 

Here are some Pros and Cons to FitBit use:

PROS:

  • Waterproof and syncs constantly: I have the Flex which is  a wristband. I take it off only to shower and I don't even have to do that since it is water proof. It syncs with my online dashboard and the FitBit app on my phone so I know how many steps I've gotten everyday. I never forget to wear it because I don't have to take it off. It also syncs to my phone all day long. Like constant tracking. The JawBone has to be plugged into the phone in order to sync. 


  • Calories: I log my own food intake into the dashboard and it tells me how many more calories I can eat that day and still be in my goal range. When I exercise, I get additional calories for the day (as I should, right?). It is really a great tool to help keep me accountable. The Jawbone also does this. 


  • Goals: You can set your own step goals and calorie goals if you don't want to stick with the defaults.When you are least expecting it, all 5 lights light up and it starts to vibrate to let you know you have reached your step goal! For me, it's 15,000 steps per day but you can set your own and the default goal is 10,000 steps per day. 


  • Social Perks: FitBit has an online community and we can all be FitBit friends! You can taunt your friends or just send them a message. You can see there stats and how they rank in your friends group (activity wise) and you can even see what they eat (if they make it public). It's really fun to keep everyone on track via an online community! I want to be number 1 in my friends list but so far, Mary Lauren's step average is beating me!

CONS:

  • Sleep: I got the FitBit because JT purchased the JawBone and I loved the pedometer style of it. Shortly after, he got the FitBit for me since my friend Lauren and I had talked about it before (she had the One). The JawBone showed the amount of time he spent in deeper sleeps and other sleeping patterns. The FitBit only shows whether you were restless or not during the night, it does not provide as much in depth info about your sleeping pattern that the JawBone does. So, if you want it for sleep purposes, I may go with the JawBone. I sleep like a baby so this wasn't a deal breaker for me.

  • Dashboard: The dashboard is the online log where you can check your stats and enter your foods. You can do this on your phone as well, but I would rather enter it on the computer. The dashboard rarely works! Most days it won't let me log my food so I use my phone instead. Maybe they will work on that!

  • Digital screen/clock: the FitBit Flex needs a watch component. About a month after I got mine, I saw a friends upgraded version that had a watch and digital screen that showed steps and goals. 

Perks with any lifestyle tracker in general: It encourages me to get up and get moving. I hate having only 1 or 2 lights on during the day (each light means I am closer to my goal and 5 lights means the goal has been met), so I will get up earlier and exercise so that I have at least 3 lights by mid morning. I usually get around 8-10,000 steps at work so after a run I definitely meet my goal and I like for that to happen before I even leave work so that the rest of the day is bonus points! Food-wise, I generally nibble less throughout the day because I don't want to take the time to log foods all day long. I pack my lunch so I go ahead and enter that food when I am entering my breakfast foods. This keeps me from eating "extras" because I have already logged my food up until after lunch. Then, I enter an afternoon snack and dinner as I eat them and try to stick within the calorie goals. Plus, the goals aren't outlandish like the 1200 calories a day your "myfitnesspal" app told you you could have or else you fail! Bonus---Both of them: Have silent, vibrating alarms that gently wake you at your desired time without loud, obnoxious ring tones.
Double-Wristing.


Should you get one? Yes... If you are going to use it for it's potential. Log your calories and really try to reach your step goals. Otherwise, you just have a fancy, LiveStrong-looking wristband. It is totally worth the $99 spent on the FitBit Flex. There is a more expensive version that has the screen available and is really not much bigger. It would be worth the extra $50 since I wear the Flex + a watch---->



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