Friday, July 25, 2014

Fitbit Aria

Okay, so I bought the iHealth HS5 and loved most of it. (See previous post.) However, I hated the app, the site, and the "cloud." Hated them enough to return the scale. I am back to weighing myself holding Britny to see how much she weighs. That was actually my favorite part.

Since I returned the iHealth HS5, I bought the Fitbit Aria at my local Kohl's. This is what I know so far.
  1. It is not accurate on carpet.
  2. It feels substantial and well made, not plastic and fragile.
  3. It is very easy and fast to setup, and the app guides you through the setup (no paper guide required).
  4. The same app for all Fitbit products; app is user-friendly and has a clean, minimalist design.
  5. Does not seem to calibrate quickly, as the iHealth did after several weigh-ins.
  6. Very fast user recognition, measurements and upload.
  7. Standard scale size, as opposed to the much larger iHealth HS5.
So, some good things, some not so good. So far, it has not given me the same exact set of numbers twice in a row (if the same weight, not the same body fat %, or vice versa). Also, it does not recognize Britny, as she only weighs about 22 lbs. Will check on that again, as it should track from 20 lbs. up. I like it better than the iHealth HS5, only on the basis that it is functional because the software/app/website behind it is functional and user-friendly. 

I will post further once I have had time to truly appreciate its pros and cons.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


The Battle is me.
The War is me.
I am the one to conquer;
the prize is me.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Great Start to Another Week... after a good end to the last one.

Once again I managed to get 70,000 weekly steps by the end of Saturday. See? I was not slacking. I also managed to make it to the gym 33 minutes before closing, and putting in just over 2 miles. Thus, I had to make up the others at home. I did it in a 3' x 2' space. I wouldn't say that I was dancing, maybe stepping? I was a combination of moves. Made me realize how long it has been since I have actually dance, as well as kick my but with movements I am no longer used to. It was great!

Today, I did my usual double set (for which I got some weird looks, again). Anyway, I had been doing 50 minutes with a 10-minute break and a 40-minute follow up, for a total of about 6.5 miles. Then I figured it might be better to do two set of 45 minutes because that way I have a better comparison. The discrepancy between the 50-minute and 40-minutes sets was vast; however, the two 45-minute set came out about the same today. That's good. 

I was exhausted though. I started yawning before I even walking in the gym, and it was a good 30 minutes and 2 miles before I could stop. Probably only stopped because I had to regulate my breathing for so long. Regardless, I got in 6.19 miles while I was there, and then some more. 

I'm still yawning, so I am going to go try to remedy that. 

Fitbit Flex and my Wrist

Fitbit Force underwent a voluntary recalled because some people experienced a rash at the wear site (wrist). I was very upset that the Force was no longer for sale, and was very sympathetic to those who regretted their voluntary surrender and replaced the Force with a Flex or something else. 

I have been wearing the Flex constantly since May 7, 2014. I love it! It has certainly improved my views on some things, incentivized me to be more active, and made me more aware of what I was already doing or not doing and how far I have come. 

However, quite recently, it has been causing me trouble. Suddenly, I started getting this itchy bumps on my wrist, right where the Flex sits. I would move the Flex to relief the discomfort and more bumps would appear. Now, I figured that my Flex band had become contaminated with some sort of bacteria. Let's face it, it gets wet and sweaty and it holds some moisture at times; it can happen. 

However, I clean my Flex and its band everyday, sometimes more than once. Once a week, I also disinfect it with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol. So, when the bumps spread because I move the Flex a bit over, I took it off, cleaned it thoroughly, rubbed it and my wrist down with 70% Isopropyl Alcohol, let it dry, and put it back on, on a looser setting. That, however, did not work at all. Plan B: Replace the band altogether. VoilĂ ! Problem fixed, temporarily. Obviously the band is not anti-microbial; even if it were, a very active user would probably have the same problem, assuming that the band lasts long enough without breaking for it to get to this point. 

In any case, I replaced my Small band for the Large band, and the itching stopped. Of course, I still have the bumps, but I except those to heal and disappear in a few days. Now, I am looking for an alternative band for daily, non-active wear. Tory Burch put out the Fitbit line, but (1) one it's ridiculously expensive (like everything else under that name) and (2) it does not offer any variety. So, I have been looking around and found some interesting and plausible choices at The hardest part is finding something that is not silicone (and definitely not LATEX) which looks reasonable enough to wear to work. The black band has been alright so far, though it does look a bit out of place next to my ESQ watch. 

Until I find something that I would like to wear while not exercising, or design something myself, I will probably be replacing my Flex band every couple of months to avoid this problem.

Friday, July 18, 2014


I was not slacking off!

It was just a rollercoaster. On Monday, I did not want to go to the gym, so I just walked a bit, enough to make it to 20,000 weekly steps. But then, on Tuesday, I didn't feel well, so I didn't go either. Still felt ill on Wednesday, but I pushed through. Except, I didn't on Thursday, because I felt really awful. However, despite a minor allergic reaction that interfere with my breathing, I made it in today and almost caught up.

Most significant day: Friday. I drank over 171 ounces of water! I am not trying to drown myself to death. I was just thirsty, and my daily water goal is 130+ ounces, so I did meet it today. [By the way, I felt like a fish in a bowl several times as I had way too much liquid inside and it was very uncomfortable.]

Ups and Downs, it is all part of the journey. Sometimes sickening, but always entertaining.

iHealth HS5 Wireless Body Analysis Scale

I wanted to get a scale that would give me more information than just my weight. I took me a while, about a month, to choose one. I was really interested in the FitBit Aria, and figure it was the one I would buy. But, since it was over $100, I decided to do more research before choosing to invest on it.

I decided to look into the Whitings Smart Body Analyzer first. To be honest, the air quality button was a major point against it. After reading several reviews (around half a dozen), I came to the conclusion (as did all the reviewers) that the two scales were very similar, and the main differences were materials and cost. Except for one review, that was the conclusion. The odd-one-out: Body Monitor Review's. 

By the time I found this review, I had already visited and viewed way too many "Body Composition Scales". The grand majority were not wireless and would not automatically sync with my FitBit or MyFitnessPal profiles. Thus, I went to check which ones would; but, given the price differential, I was willing to keep keying in my stats. A non-wireless body analysis scales could be purchased from for as little as $40; though, I can't attest to their accuracy, I was willing to try. 

Then, I found this review, and already knew the iHealth HS5 Wireless Body Analysis Scale was listed on the MyFitnessPal website, which is where I track weight, measurements, and food (but not water) intake. The HS5 had more features, a lower price, is wireless, has an app that syncs to MyFitnessPal, and does not have an "air quality" button. I was sold!

Of course, I went back to to read reviews. They were not good. Only one person had actually given it 4 stars. But, what can I say, I am a non-conformist; so, I ordered it. 

Everyone that posted a negative review, which was almost everyone, had the same issue: Bluetooth doesn't work! Whiners, the lot of them. No offense, but did you read the setup guide, or even the description before purchase? The scale says it is WIRELESS and compatible with iOS and Android; it, however, does not say that it is wireless by virtue of Bluetooth. Yes, this was the major complaint. You use Bluetooth for about 3 minutes; the scales connects to your phone, and through it to your wireless home network, then - voilĂ  - Bluetooth shuts off. Don't have a wireless home network? Don't buy the wireless scale that doesn't use Bluetooth!

As for the scale itself, I love it - so far. It took about 5-6 weigh-ins in a row to get an accurate reading. However, it seemed to calibrate itself after that, and readings were consistent after that, even when I moved it to a different spot and even a different type of flooring (tile to hardwood). To ensure it was very accurate, I weighed Britny, who weighed in at 21.8 lbs., consistent with her last weigh in at the vet a couple of weeks ago. Also, the large surface of the scale was big enough to set her on it without me having to weight myself while holding her, and it was accurate despite her low weight, considering it's not meant to weigh infants - or dogs.

Now, the app only synced the first (pre-calibration) readout to MyFitnessPal and did not subsequently update it when I deleted previous (pre-calibration) readouts, plus there is no way to force a sync with the iHealth Cloud. Also, the iHealth Cloud site is less than desirable; but their app is workable if a bit crowded with choices for other iHealth devices (ironic since the other devices have their own apps), and you only need it to sync, really. You don't even have to sync if you don't want to (but, if that's the case, you probably should go with the $40 scale mentioned above). It took a few tries to figure out the timing on the sync, and where I had to have the app set to sync (neither of which was specifically explained in the guide), but once I got the hang of it, it was fairly simple and straight forward. Basically, stay on the scale until you see the reading pop up on your phone. Don't hold your phone, but place it - app open - where you can see the screen; or, wait until the little WiFi symbol disappears from the face of the scale. That's it!

I am very satisfied with my purchase. Now, I just have to figure out what the best reading would be for me. Research! Yay!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

::sigh:: so tired...

I am just wiped out. There were a few times today, while I was at the gym, when I thought: "just screw it; go home." I did, when my mom showed up and gave me the perfect reason to leave. Not that I had much time left to run, or that I had much time left before the gym closed (in 18 minutes). I did, however, thanks to her, had time to shower.

The results:
Sunday: 4,492 steps; Monday: 2,774 steps; Tuesday: 14,093 steps; Wednesday: 12,305 (after I adjusted my stride and it robbed me of 50(!) steps); Thursday: 12,812 steps; Friday: 12,133 steps; Saturday: 7,005 steps.

I have to say that I thought about going out and putting in the additional 2 miles I would need to make it to 70,000 steps this week. But, I am just exhausted. I need a break. Thus, I am taking said needed break right now. I was going to take tomorrow off, but since I didn't meet goal today, I will probably go put in some time. However, I am not shooting for 5+ miles tomorrow. Whatever I get in, that's it. I'm going shopping with my mom, so I may get to the 5 miles anyway.

On a separate note, I have no sleep debt, and yet I am exhausted. Yes, my target sleep is 7.5 hours per day, so it's not great, but it's much more than I have gotten on average over the last 3-5 years. It is the least I need for my brain to function and not succumb to the unacceptable. Lately, I have been so tired, despite sleep enough that I have been borderline succumbing. I know I had 3 days of less than 7.5 hours, and the last couple weeks were a joke, but can't a girl as for the average to be enough and have it be so?

Well, I have the chance to put in some extra Zs without waking up at noon tomorrow, so I am going to take it. 

Good Night!