Cult Of Mac’s Awesome 2012 Advent Calendar: Day One – FitBit



One of the better Yuletide traditions is the venerable holiday Advent Calendar, in which each day of December leading up to Christmas is marked off on a special calendar by opening its corresponding door to find a small gift, toy or chocolate squirreled away inside.

This year, we here at Cult of Mac decided we wanted to give our readers their very own Apple-themed advent calendar, filled with the year’s best apps, gadgets, stories and other curios. So each day in December, we’re going to lovingly peel back the door on the Cult of Mac 2012 Advent Calendar to reveal another delicious morsel, something really special that came out this year that we think every one of you should enjoy.

We’re running a little behind, so playing catch up today by posting our first and second day picks along with our choice for December 3rd.

Our Day 1 choice? FitBit, an awesome iOS accessory that can help you get healthier and more fit in no time.
The FitBit. Cute, isn’t it?

Of all the gadgets I’ve used this year, the FitBit is the one that literally changed my life. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the FitBit (including our esteemed Deputy Editor, John Brownlee), it’s a little dongle which clips onto your belt or bra strap and counts your step and your altitude, priced around $100. But it’s a whole lot more than that.

At 92KG and 6’2″, I needed to lose a bit of weight. And as a nerd, there was only one way to do that – with stats and gadgets. So back on Saturday, June 2nd, I bought myself a FitBit, downloaded the iOS app and the OS X drivers, and started counting my steps.

The Fitbit combines its accelerometer and altimeter data with some computer voodoo to work out your calorie burn, your sleep quality and a whole bunch of other neat stuff. You can track this on the iPhone (the previous version required a Mac to sync with your account, but the new one has Bluetooth 4 for direct-to-iPhone contact), and a readout on the FitBit itself lets you see calories burned, steps stepped, floors climbed and more.

This was neat, but the FitBit also hooks into other services, with APIs that let you track exercise and calories  burned with other apps, and send them to FitBit.

Thus I also bought a new kitchen scale and started measuring everything I ate. Everything. I even took the scale away on trips and a vacation.

While the FitBit encouraged me to exercise more, the calorie counting really made me watch what I ate. (That extra slice of cheese is 50 calories? But it’s so, so, so, SO thin!) And the FitBit’s running total of calories in Vs. out made it easy to stay on target.

The weight came steadily off, until – in September – I lost the FitBit. But now the habits were ingrained. I had also given up drinking, which yanked at least 1,000 calories from my daily intake.

Now, in December, I’m around 72 kilos, or around 160 pounds in your Earth pounds. The FitBit is long gone, but the combination of regular exercise (usually a brisk 30km bike ride before breakfast) and smaller meals is ingrained. The only downside? All of my old clothes are too big for me now.

Use Your iPhone To Get In Shape And Lose Some Weight

Want to see more of our 2012 Advent Calendar goodies? Check out our complete 2012 Advent Calendar archive for more of our picks!

  • xforce11

    Great reviews and an active Fit Bit community here: Caused me to get one and be more active. Love the sleep measuring and the accuracy.

  • Cortney Sauk

    I’ve had mine for close to 6 months now and love it! I’ve lost 25lbs alone from using it with MyFitnessPal.

    However, I am VERY pissed off right now at the company. They offer a “Premium” service that has been broken and worthless for months now yet they still offer it as a paid service. After using the premium service for about a month I noticed that the calculations it was doing in the background were way off and were giving false results. I asked the support guys at Fitbit about it and they said there was an issue with the system and they were already working on a fix. They offered to refund my money, which I took since I didn’t like paying for something that doesn’t work, and said they should have it fixed soon. That was about 3 months ago and the issue still persists while they still get people to sign up for a broken service that does little more than give you fake numbers to make you feel good.

    After all this, I still love my Fitbit Ultra for what it has done for my fitness and my state of mind. But I am very dissapointed in their lack of support or updates to their website and software. Not to mention their iOS app does not sync properly either.

    Waiting to hear back from Basis on a few questions… Not looking likely that I will though, they seem to be ignoring any hard questions about their product. Like how does it actually detect sleep (is it actually magical or is it just like the Fitbit) and how can one such as myself who rides a motorcycle correct any numbers manipulated by the vibrations of riding. (something Fitbit can do by making an activity set as Motorcycle)

    Anyway, just wanted to let people know about the issues I’ve noticed with Fitbit but also how much it has changed my life.

  • ReedCole1

    my roomate’s sister makes $75/hour on the internet. She has been without a job for six months but last month her check was $16202 just working on the internet for a few hours. (Click on menu Home more information)