9 Great Ways to Use Fitbit for Weight Loss

by Millie
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Last Updated on January 4, 2021 by Millie

I have been on many, many diets and generally, I am successful for the first few weeks and then I stop for one reason or another. This time is different. In addition to eating a healthy diet and exercising every day, I discovered a very helpful tool. I discovered Fitbit for weight loss. Fitbit is a smartwatch that collects different personal data which you can see on your watch and mobile phone. 

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This is my honest opinion after using Fitbit for over one year. There are similar products on the market, but I haven’t tried any of them and therefore can’t give my opinion about them.

I purchased a Fitbit Versa in May 2019, and I immediately loved it. Essentially with my Fitbit Versa, you can count your steps and distance, track your activity minutes, log your meals, water intake, sleep, and many more. 

Calories Burned

a chart  from Fibit of calories burned in one week
Calories burned one week in April 2020 according to my Fitbit

Most importantly, for the first time ever I know my calories out or calories burned.  Fitbit uses your basic metabolic rate (based on your weight, height, age, and gender) to estimate the calories you burn all day, and specifically, you can see what you burn exercising.

This was amazing to me. In the past, I relied on estimates on what I burned, for example, on a walk. Sometimes if you are using an exercise machine, like a treadmill, you can also get estimates of what you burned during that session. 

However, I was never able to see my calories burned grocery shopping, waiting for the train, or watching TV, and so on. But now I can see in real-time the number of calories I burn with any physical activity, as well as, lying on the couch or sleeping. And of course, I can see how many calories I burn at the end of the day, each day, and every week.

If weight loss is basically having a calorie deficit between calories in and calories out. Now you have your calories out right on your wrist and phone! If your goal is weight loss, your Fitbit can also tell you the minimum calories out you need to lose one or two pounds a week per day.

Your weight loss journey is dramatically easier once you know the number of calories you burn for the entire day. And this is the main reason why I think Fitbit is one of the best tools for weight loss.  In my case, I need to burn 2973 calories per day to lose one pound per week and I really do try to get at least that every day.  

Fitbit will also automatically detect your physical activity. But in case it doesn’t, you can add it manually yourself. For example, I have to manually log my workouts on my stationary bike. Furthermore, you will have a record of your activity minutes per day and the number of days per week that you exercised.

It will also let you know what portion of your workout your heart rate was in the fat burn, cardio, or peak zone. If you are a numbers person you will love dissecting the data from your exercises or days.

The CDC recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. Some experts recommend up to 60 minutes a day if you are trying to lose weight. Whichever guideline you choose, you can track your daily and weekly exercise minutes with your Fitbit.  

Your Fitbit will automatically keep track of not only how many minutes you exercise a day, but also how many times a week that you exercised for a minimum of 30 minutes per day. It’s little thing, but I feel so accomplished when I see that I have met my goals (or big brother Fitbit’s goals).

Guided Programs

Your Fitbit will also help you start your lifestyle change with guided programs that you can follow. For the beginner, there is a one-week Intro to Healthy Habits which introduces you to track your steps, active minutes, and calories burned. 

If you are trying to cut out sugar in your diet, there is also a guided program for that. You can also get access to other programs, in particular, fitness programs with a premium membership (free 90-day trial, after which it will be $9.99 per month). 

Counting Steps

a chart from Fitbit, one of the best tools for weight loss, of steps walked in one week in April
My Fitbit steps from one week in April 2020

If you are trying to get 10,000 steps (or any number of steps) a day, Fitbit will also automatically count this for you. Your new Fitbit defaults to a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. But you can lower it (or increase it) if you want.

Simply being more active is beneficial if you are trying to lose weight. And I find that when you count steps it’s an easy way to get off the couch and walk while watching TV, on social media, talking on the phone, and so on. 

I find it is very motivating knowing the steps that I have taken so far and the number that I have left to do. Sometimes, I take a few more steps before I go to bed to round up to an even number of steps or miles that day. Also, I am encouraged to take at least 250 steps per hour during the day with a gentle reminder from my watch 10 minutes before the hour ends if I have less than 250 steps that hour.

Also read 30 Day Step Challenge for Overweight Beginners

You can also see the number of miles that you have accomplished so far and for each day. This is one of the many ways you can use Fitbit for weight loss.

Fitbit also rewards you with badges when you have completed a number of steps in a day with a minimum of 5,000 steps, and in increments of 5,000 steps, to a maximum of 100,000 steps. It may sound silly now, but even cynical me wanted to earn these badges. So far I have all the badges up to 35,000 steps.

You also get badges for distance covered since getting your Fitbit. The minimum is 26 miles (or almost a marathon) and the maximum is 12,430 miles.

Obviously the more steps you take or miles you walk, the more active you are, and the more calories you burn. A huge benefit and tool for those of us trying to lose weight.

Also read Is 10,000 Steps a Day Good for Weight Loss

Floors

a chart from Fitbit, one of the best tools for weight loss, of floors climbed in one week
Floors climbed according to Fitbit from one week in March/April 2020

My Fitbit Versa also counts the number of floors or flight of stairs that I have taken. The default is 10 floors per day, but once again you can adjust this number or remove it. 

I was so out of shape when I began this weight loss journey that I was out of breath from walking up one flight of stairs. So I was interested in counting my floors as well and I used it to gauge my fitness level and progress.

Your Fitbit senses when your altitude increases at least 10 feet. However, I should tell you that it’s not perfect. Some movements count as floors while there are times when a flight of stairs does not register as a floor.

Also, like steps, Fitbit has badges for the number of floors you take in a day. The minimum is 10 floors and the maximum is 700. You also get badges for the floors you have conquered since getting your Fitbit (500 – 35,000).

Food Log

a food diary chart from Fitbit for one week
My Fitbit food log for one week in December 2019

Another beneficial feature of my Fitbit is that I can log my calories in or my meals and snacks. Many experts recommend that you keep a food diary or track your meals. I have done it twice in the past, but I wasn’t consistent. But with my Fitbit, I find it easy to log my meals. You can scan the barcode from a package or manually log your calories. 

Now you have calories in and calories out in one place on a dashboard on your phone! And you can see if you have a calorie deficit and, if so, how much. If you are aiming to lose one pound per week you need a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day. And your Fitbit can help with you maintaining a calorie deficit. What a powerful tool to manage your weight loss and when used will dramatically help you in your weight loss journey.

Many people I know, use MyFitnessPal to log their food. I think that there are more food items on MyFitnessPal and if you want you can sync your Fitbit with MyFitnessPal. I have found MyFitnessPal extremely useful with ethnic food. For example, I was able to find local Jamaican dishes on MyFitnessPal while I was on vacation. And therefore, I was able to continue logging my meals even on vacation. No excuses.

Also read The Top 5 Foods for Permanent Weight Loss

Water Log

a water log from Fitbit, best tool for weight loss, for one week
My Fitbit water log for one week in December 2019/January 2020

There is no argument that drinking more water will help you lose weight. If you are trying to have eight glasses (or any number) of water per day, you can also log your water intake on Fitbit as well. You have the option to log by glass, bottle, liters, or ounces. Whatever works for you.

Fitbit automatically defaults to eight glasses but you can lower or decrease that limit based on your goals.

Fitbit makes it easy to keep a record of how much water you drink and thus will help you lose weight. 

Also read How Much Water to Drink Daily for Weight Loss

Sleep Score

Another Fitbit feature that I really like is the sleep score. When you wear your Fitbit to bed, you will wake up to statistics about your sleep. You may have heard of the correlation between sleep and weight. Poor sleep can cause weight gain and obesity. So if you are like me and sleep is an issue for you, Fitbit might be a useful tool to help you sleep better and have more control over your weight.

There are two Fitbit guided programs that can help you get more sleep. Habits for Restful Sleep is a two-week program. Get More Sleep is also a two-week program but is only available if you purchase the premium membership (free 90-day trial, after which it will be $9.99 per month)

Also read Everything you Need to Know About Sleep and Weight Loss

Heart Rate

a heart rate chart for one week from Fitbit, one of the best tools for weight loss
My resting heart rate from one week in June 2020

Your Fitbit will constantly check your heart rate and, depending on your watch display, you can also see your heart rate in real-time. This may not seem important now. But you will be able to see your resting heart rate and hopefully how it improves over time. Resting heart rate ranges between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The lower the number, the better your heart, and cardiovascular fitness. 

For instance, when I first got my Fitbit my resting heart rate was 80 beats per minute. It is now between 68 and 72 beats per minute. And according to Fitbit, my cardio fitness has improved from poor to between average and good for a woman my age. Not too bad and very motivating to keep me fit. Another advantage of using Fitbit for weight loss.

Weight

a 80 pound weight loss badge from Fitbit, one of the best tools for weight loss
My 80-pound badge from Fitbit

Finally, you can also track your weight on Fitbit as well. When you weigh yourself you can add your weight manually or you can sync your weight with a Fitbit or compatible scale. 

We have a Fitbit Aria scale and in addition to my weight, it measures my body fat percentage and BMI. And of course, you can see this on your watch and phone and see your progression. If you are a numbers person, there are some cool graphs you can access with all of your data for one week, one month, 3 months, one year, or all time.

And you guessed it, there are badges you get, in increments of 5 pounds, when you lose weight. Again a little thing, but it feels so great to be acknowledged for all your hard work, even by Fitbit.

Obviously knowing your current weight, how much you have lost, and even how much you still have to lose all in one place is helpful and why I really love using my Fitbit as an integral part of my weight loss journey.

Community Groups

Losing weight is hard and it does help to have some support and inspiration from others. Another advantage of Fitbit is there are Fitbit communities that can help, support, and inspire you. I belong to three weight loss groups on Fitbit and I am most impressed when I see group members’ progress photos or before and after pics. They sure keep me motivated!

They are many other groups you can join including, walking, cycling, healthy eating, and yoga. You can also participate in challenges with other Fitbit members. I know many people who love the challenge and friendly competition to see who will get the most steps in a day, the workweek or weekend. A fun way to help you get fit and maintain your fitness level.

You can post your badges and accomplishments to these groups and I have found people to be super supportive. And of course, you can ask for advice, rant, or simply say hello and make new friends.

Use Your Fitbit for Weight Loss

person wearing Fitbit, one of the best tools for weight loss
Fitbit for weight loss

As you can see Fitbit has many features to help you lose weight and that is why I think it is one of the best tools for weight loss. And I can honestly say that it has helped me lose 80 pounds (and counting). It is so easy and convenient to use your Fitbit for particularly everything that matters when it comes to weight loss. Diet. Exercise. Water.  Weight. Sleep. Support. It’s all there right on your wrist and on your cell phone. It’s working for me and hopefully, it will work for you too.

This is the Fitbit that I have:

This is my son’s Fitbit:

You can’t go wrong with either one!

Have you had any success with using your Fitbit or a similar product for weight loss?

9 Great Ways to Use Fitbit for Weight Loss
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16 comments

The Best Weight-Loss Motivation Tips - Healthier Millie May 13, 2020 - 3:33 pm

[…] from a few groups. There are three weight loss groups that I belong to on Fitbit (read why I think Fitbit is great for weight loss). I am also part of three Facebook weight loss groups. I love to see group members’ before and […]

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Kimberlie June 11, 2020 - 7:58 am

I could not agree more. I have had a Fitbit for over five years, first the Charge, then the Blaze and now the Versa. It is an essential part of trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle for me. I also love that I have access to email, texts and music, via my Fitbit.

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Millie June 11, 2020 - 2:07 pm

Hi Kimberlie, yes Fitbit is great! I still can’t believe how much we can do with it!

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Carolyn June 11, 2020 - 8:54 am

I know people who absolutely love their Fitbit, but I had no idea it did all that stuff! Right now I just count my steps using an app on my phone, but that can be annoying (I have to remember to take my phone with me everywhere). I’d love to keep detailed logs like that. I would especially be interested in the sleep tracking function. I know I don’t sleep well, but I’m curious to see how many restful hours I actually get vs. unrestful. Great review!

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Millie June 11, 2020 - 2:17 pm

Hi Carolyn, I also used my phone to track my steps, but like you, I didn’t always have my phone with me. It was so much easier to wear to watch. If you have trouble sleeping, you will like getting more insights from your Fitbit watch.

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Amber Myers June 11, 2020 - 4:58 pm

I have a Fitbit and I’ve been enjoying it. I always try to hit 10000 steps a day.

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Millie June 11, 2020 - 11:33 pm

Hi Amber, that is so great that you get 10,000 steps a day! Amazing!

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Mimi June 11, 2020 - 5:13 pm

I love my fitbit but I don’t use it to track calories anymore because that led me to bulimia. But it’s awesome for everything else

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Millie June 11, 2020 - 11:35 pm

Hi Mimi, I love my Fitbit too. It’s good that you are using it in the best way for you.

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Sharon June 11, 2020 - 7:46 pm

I have a Fitbit that’s about 6 years old, I would love to upgrade. Thank you for showing how you use it.

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Millie June 11, 2020 - 11:36 pm

Hi Sharon, maybe you don’t need an upgrade, your old Fitbit might still work well for you.

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Maria June 12, 2020 - 1:46 pm

Fit bit sounds like such a great tool for weight loss. I have been thinking about getting one, however I don’t like things on my wrists. Is there any other options?

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Millie June 12, 2020 - 4:49 pm

Hi Maria, I believe that there is a clip-on that you can use with one of the watches. There may be other brands with a clip-on as well. I hope you find one that works for you.

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Amanda June 13, 2020 - 10:18 am

I love my fit bit but I wish I had a more advanced version that gave more info.

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Millie June 13, 2020 - 7:53 pm

Hi Amanda, Fitbit is not cheap, but it is worth it. If you can, consider upgrading to a newer model.

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Is 10,000 Steps a Day Good for Weight Loss? - Healthier Millie June 13, 2020 - 8:44 pm

[…] I walked for 68 minutes and burned 563 calories according to my Fitbit. (Read why I think Fitbit is one of the best tools for weight loss). So as long as I had at least a 500 calorie deficit I am on the right […]

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