The emails and tweets about the weight loss I’ve experienced using HealthKit and Apple Watch have been heartwarming, to say the very least. It was probably the most difficult piece I’ve ever written, just because I was putting myself all out there for everyone to see. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would even post it. Finally, I looked at the screen, hit publish, and walked away.
That review has led to a lot of interesting questions from readers, so I thought I would try to answer some of those in another piece, instead of individual emails. I suspected when I was writing the Apple Watch review that there were a lot of people in my situation, and it appears I was right.
While I’ll do my best to answer the questions, I have to say that I don’t know if any of these are the correct answers. I know what worked for me and that’s what I’ll talk about out here. The “fitness experts” can probably point out 100 things I’m doing wrong—I don’t care.
Some have asked what goals I set for my weight loss. That’s really easy—I didn’t set any. Actually, I had to set one goal because all of the apps I tried wanted a weight goal. I thought: “If I could be ridiculous and be any weight, what would it be?” That’s the weight I put down in the apps. Ten months later, I am now less than five pounds from achieving that goal.
The reason I didn’t use an achievable weekly or monthly goal is that I didn’t want that goal hanging over my head all the time. That doesn’t serve as motivation for me, rather a constant reminder of how overweight I am.
All I wanted to do is try. Every single day. I’ll have some good days and some bad days, but I didn’t care, I’d just try.
I looked at each day in tenths of pounds. If I was down by even one-tenth, that was great for me. If I was up, I looked at what I did the day before that may of caused it. I didn’t feel guilty or beat myself, I just tried to do better.
As I said in the initial review, much of this journey for me has been about knowledge of what exercise and food does to my body. I make decisions based on that knowledge and see where it takes me. It’s been a lot of trial and error, and I’m still learning each day.
This was a big one. Which foods do I avoid altogether?
The simple answer is none. I eat whatever I want, knowing there are consequences for eating the wrong types of foods. That’s where the knowledge comes into play.
I refuse to go out with friends and not enjoy a beer and burger. I’m just not going to live my life that way. That doesn’t mean I’m going to eat three burgers, but I’ll enjoy myself the same way everyone else does.
I’m also not going to skip a meal the next day to make up for it. You body needs protein, so I eat.
What it does mean, however, is that I may have a yogurt for a snack instead of a bag of chips. I may eat a chicken breast and salad for dinner instead of a Big Mac, and I’ll have some fruit at night.
While I’ll still eat anything, some of the foods I try to stay away from are sugary drinks and fast foods. No hard and fast rule there, just something in the back of my brain all the time.
There were a lot of questions about MyFitnessPal and how tedious it was to enter all of the food items. Let me be clear: if it was tedious, I wouldn’t be doing it.
MyFitnessPal has millions of items in its database, so you don’t have to enter things manually, you do a search and pick the food item. If yours isn’t there, pick something close. Using MyFitnessPal is an approximation of the food I’m eating every day. I don’t count the number of strawberries I eat, I just say, “Yeah, that’s about a quarter of a cup.”
It would be very easy for me to quit what I’m doing to better my life. I think we look for reasons not to workout or reasons we should have a burger. We want to succeed, but we look for reasons to fail.
I try to take that temptation away, but allowing myself to eat what I want. I don’t crave bad foods, because I eat them from time to time.
Questions about were workout regime were more detailed in some cases than I could answer. I’m not a fitness guy that knows what he’s doing—I just walk.
My fitness routine couldn’t be simpler if I tried. I put on shoes and I walk. I have a set course that I walk now, partly because I know it won’t hurt my aging, beat up knees, and partly because I like it.
I didn’t start out walking three miles a day. I walked maybe half a mile. The walk was the same every day—go to the end of the street, turn right, walk half a mile, and stop. One day, I turned left and walked a mile and half up and a mile and a half back. Then I turned left every day from then on.
Some days were hard. Some days I couldn’t do the full three miles. I didn’t care—two miles or one mile is still better than sitting at home. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go three miles, who knows.
I don’t know how to explain how my biceps are growing at such a fast rate, besides to say that I’ve never had to use them before. All of this exercise is new and is causing my muscles to grow rapidly. I don’t know what to say about it.
My weight training is more to tighten things up, than anything. I didn’t really think about building muscle, I thought about losing weight and, as a result, maybe getting flabby.
I went to a second hand sports store and bought a curl bar, some weights and some dumbbells. I do that for 10 minutes a day. Nothing major.
Apple Watch and HealthKit
Everything I need to see is available on my wrist, whenever I want to see it. Am I meeting my goals? Maybe I didn’t workout today1 and that’s affecting things. No big deal, sometimes life gets in the way. I’ll workout tomorrow.
Apple Watch and HealthKit provide me with valuable information. I need this info to see how what I do on a daily basis affects my body. Without that, I would be lost.
I really wish Apple would focus some its attention to people like me. We’re not all skinny fitness gurus. Some of us just need to know there is hope for us. That’s all. Hope.
People have asked if those two Apple technologies have really helped me lose over 40 pounds. I am responsible for losing the weight, but I couldn’t have done it without the information provided by Apple Watch and HealthKit. I believe that in my heart.
Apple Watch and HealthKit changed my life.
This may strange to those fit people out there, but I was embarrassed for people to know that I was working out. If they know that, they’ll assume you’re dieting, and then the questions start. If you fail, then you have to face all of those people again. I wanted no part of that.
Until a month ago, I walked in my jeans and a t-shirt. I didn’t want anyone to look at me and see someone working out. I was just a guy walking with his iPod, listening to music. Nothing to see here.
When people started to notice my weight loss, I started explaining things a bit more, but I still kept a lot of it to myself. I was still embarrassed.
Friends offered to take me to their gym, which was very kind, but my first thought was “are you kidding me?”
There is no way I’m going to a gym with all of those fit, muscle-bound people. Never. Well, not yet anyway. I know the problem is mine, not theirs, but it’s something I’m not quite over yet.
I may go to the gym at some point in my life, but right now, I’m happy sitting here with MyFitnessPal and my walking shoes. I’m doing things on my own terms, in my time, and for the right reasons.
I’m good with that.
I have no idea what the future will bring. I’m going to keep going until I hit the weight doctors say I should be. I have under five pounds to go to reach my ridiculous goal set 10 months ago, and 15 pounds to reach what doctors say is good.
I have no set goal for when I should get there—I’ll get there when I get there.
One day at a time. One meal at a time. One walk a time.
Actually, I didn’t workout today because I was writing this. ↩