In Peace Corps I lost 70 pounds and got into the best shape of my life. It was a wonderful experience. Slightly less wonderful has been gaining all of that weight back since finishing Peace Corps. For the past several months I’ve focused a lot more on healthy eating and exercise and was pretty psyched to get an Apple Watch to help me in my adventure to get more fit.
In my first two months of using it, I have lost 15 pounds.
Let me explain a bit on how Apple Watch works and how it’s helped me lose that weight:
1. First, It’s Fun. I’m human. If something is fun, I’m much more likely to do it. And Apple Watch is fun. It turns exercise into a game and gives you reminders throughout the day on how you are doing in three categories: Movement (calories burned), Exercise (minutes of activity at or above a brisk walk) and Standing (standing at least 1 minute every hour). There is a ring for each category and they fill throughout the day as they are achieved. The Standing (12 hrs/day) and Exercise (30 min/day) goals are based on decades of research and aren’t adjustable, but your Calorie goal is up to you. I started at 450 calories a day and now I’m up to 620. It also gives you badges for achievements, which I will explain later.
2. It’s Smart. The watch does several things very well. It measures your heart rate with four sensors, it tracks your movement with an accelerometer and connects with the GPS in your phone. Combined these things means it tracks your heart rate, steps taken, stairs climbed, distance, pace and calories burned all day long. Based on your height, weight, age and gender it then calculates your target heart rate and holds you to that in exercise mode. Which means…
3. It’s Untrickable. Here’s an example: I like hiking, but as any hiker knows there are easy hikes and hard hikes, steep inclines and plenty of downhill trots. Because Apple Watch measures my heart rate and distance, it knows when I am busting my butt and when I’m not. So when I hike for 2 hours, although it will track the entire time as activity I might only get 30 minutes counted toward my green Exercise ring for the day because that was when my heart rate was high enough. It’s pretty incredible. This goes for the Calorie ring too of course, when your heart rate is higher, you are burning more calories and it knows that.
4. It’s Comfortable. I love having it on and that’s pretty important. It is extremely comfortable. It’s also very convenient: I can check messages, emails, weather, directions, skype, music, time, and more, so it’s something I enjoy having on. Other than my wedding ring, it’s the only thing I have on me all the time. Because of that, it’s constantly measuring my activity and keeps track of everything I do throughout the day, including a random sprint around the house, carrying my wife up the stairs or walking a little faster just because why not?
5. It’s Rewarding. I found myself, right from the beginning, exercising more than I normally would. I’ve also gotten more adventurous and used the watch hiking, walking, biking, running and even kayaking. I also started saying “Yes” more when someone would suggest something healthy. Want to go on a walk? Sure! Want to go on a hike in the morning? Yep! How about we walk into town instead of drive? Okie dokie. I would welcome the chance to fill up my rings early in the day because…
6. It’s Unrelenting. There have been plenty of evenings where I have had several hundred more calories to go for the day and Apple Watch doesn’t have a way to input excuses. You either fill your ring or you don’t. So I get on my stationary bike and I stay on it until I fill up the ring. So far I have filled my Movement and Exercise rings every single day since I’ve had it and that’s why I lost 15 pounds. No excuses. Pretty simple.
I’ve tried a lot of things over the years to get more fit and this has been the most fun. As I exercise more and make healthier choices, I eat better and I’m more conscious of how I am living day to day. I’ve started taking more walking meetings rather than sitting and call people while I hike, which I really like. I also read more and watch things for fun while I’m biking, I have more conversations with people I love, I sleep better, my appetite is healthier, I’m in a better mood and I feel better about myself.
So that’s how I’ve lost 15 pounds with my Apple Watch.
I'm excited to lose more (50 pounds total) and I look forward to telling you what I learn in the coming months on that journey!