The Essentials, First The Wearable-
There are a lot of things out there which make losing weight a lot easier. Among the gadgets are the wearables. These small devices are set up to track your daily: steps, heart rate, attainment of goal, and even the time. They are usually unobtrusive and simple to use and they sync with your smart phone or your computer. I have had just about all of them from 2005 onward. The field is now crowded and the prices have plummeted (my first fitness watch was a Polar for $290+ and used a chest strap). The information they report is amazingly more complex as well. Here are my picks: Polar Loop, Fitbit, and Vivofit. I have the Polar Loop. I chose that one because I had a Bluetooth chest strap which was a Polar and would pair with the Loop. The Loop is about $75 now ( six months ago it was $100) without the chest strap (watch and strap are about $150 together). It will sync wirelessly with your iPhone/Android and with a wire with your computer as well. It is quite accurate, but the GUI interface is pretty phffffft. Sometimes it’s persnickety and the chest strap transmitter has a pretty short lifespan (mine don’t last much longer than a year). They do have a 2 year warranty though, and so you can send it back for a new one if you end up with a dead one. The Loop is waterproof and you can shower with it. It looks good, actually it’s pretty unobtrusive and the clasp isn’t fussy.
The Loop isn’t perfect, it’s readout is only one color, it does not pick up your heart rate without the chest strap, its ability to gauge your strength workout is limited (it’s great for cardio and walking BUT strength is all about exertion and that isn’t as easily measured by just a chest strap). The Loop is finicky about wirelessly syncing with your phone. However, I chose it and it’s the best thing I can use at the moment. I am indeed Jonesing for the Apple Watch.
The Other Things You Need-
Apps, there are loads of them and they will be a great help to you. I have an account with LoseIt, and have had since many years ago. They are great. You can scan the bar code on the side of a pack of anything you eat and know what the calories are in a serving. They have a huge selection of the calorie content of supermarket and restaurant foods. The logging function is rock solid, and when you put in your weight in the morning, it calculates the amount of calories you can have in a day to lose weight or maintain. Their community is robust and sensible. It interfaces with the Health App that Apple just put out (which is huge…everyone is interfacing with them). LoseIt is well worth having, one of the original weight loss apps which helped me lose 30 lbs and others lose much much more. It’s free.
Digifit-I often use this in place of my Loop to pick up the data from my chest strap and calculate the number of calories I used during my exercise. The Loop will not tell you how many calories you expended during an exercise but only the total calories you expended during the day. I like to know what I put out during my workout. That is why I use Digifit. It interfaces with the Apple Health app and LoseIt, too. It’s free but there are add ons which are pretty appealing. Worth it.
Sleep Time-A most amusing app by Azumio. This one monitors your sleep habits (are you asleep, deep or shallow), this one tells you. Also, it’s a great alarm clock which wakes you when you are close to being awake so you are not jarred. You can wake to tropical rainforest or to the songs in your iTunes library. It feeds into the Apple Health App and you will be interested in how you sleep, which is a really important part of your weight loss attempt. By the way, the Loop also gauges this but the Sleep Time app has a better interface with an alarm. Worth it.
With the advent of the Apple Watch, all of the wearables might be outmoded before the end of the year. So many have come on line recently, notably the Microsoft Band (which is sold out everywhere and <$200). You might want to opt for a simple pedometer (if you can find one, look in Dick’s) or a cheap Fitbit clip on, both are less than $50.
This is the easy area. You need good sports shoes. I look in DSW for those and stick with the known names (ASICS, Nike, Ryka, etc). You can get some great shoes for <$50 by being shrewd. The next thing is good pants, that is where you head for Target, Meijer, Old Navy, or your local Costco. Look for the 3 pak of yoga pants, they will do for any exercise from Zumba to Yoga. They are cheap and look fine, everyone wears them all day long now. As for your shirt, tee shirts will do nicely. As you lose weight you might want to invest in a nice workout shirt or two, but be warned that they are form fitting and long so that you will be showcased. Better wait until you are at your goal before springing for that kind of expensive and formfitting garment.
One thing to avoid: the grossly overpriced name brands. If you enjoy shelling out $70+ per shirt or pants, be my guest but I am telling you now, shopping at the discount houses will give you great clothes for a sane price. Also, lots of the expensive places do have a discount bin (Athleta is famous for that), so try looking on line for the deal.
Socks are so popular. There are all kinds of socks out there at all kinds of prices. Go at your own pace here. The only thing I will add is that compression stockings are making a big splash in the athletic area. I wear them. They squeeze your legs gently so that the blood does not pool in your below-the-knee area. If you notice your calves, ankles, and feet swelling then you need to think about compression hose. I use a medium-firm and followed the instructions on the website. There are a load of sites selling compression hose now, from Amazon.com to sites which sell nothing but. Google “compression stockings” and take a look at the possibilities. If you are overweight now, you might want to invest in a couple of pair of compression socks now so that your vascular system isn’t overtaxed while you lose weight. It would be a good investment as exercise can encourage the blood to go to the bottom of your limbs and compression hose can keep things flowing properly.
There are very few other things you need: a water bottle (actually two so that one can go through the washer while you are using the other). I go bigtime here with Nalgene 32 oz. bottles at Target or online at Amazon. Then there is the towel to mop your brow after you spent half an hour in Zumba. Rather than a towel (with the washing machine/dryer and spreading around the germs) I use paper towels and throw them away after my workout. I avoid germs and wasting water. Aside from those things, I can’t think of anything else you need for your workouts.
So, get out there and go get ‘em, tiger!
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