Are you thinking about using Fitbit to lose weight? If you’re comparing models, it’s important to know which Fitbit is best for weight loss and most effective for your lifestyle. Each model provides different features and there are pros and cons to each. So how do you make sure you lose weight with Fitbit and don’t pack on the pounds instead? There are a few different ways to make sure it happens.
Why Lose Weight with Fitbit?
There are dozens of activity trackers on the market. I’ve tested and reviewed many different brands. Some are great for tracking your athletic performance. Some are good for promoting good posture or better sleep. But Fitbit is my favorite for weight loss. The trackers provides several features that make it especially good for weight loss.
First, there is a wide range of styles to choose from. That means you can choose a Fitbit that works with your wardrobe and your lifestyle. Models include:
- Fitbit Zip ($59.99): The most basic model that clips to your clothing. Tracks steps and calories. Comes in pink or black.
- Fitbit Flex 2: ($59.95) A slim water-resistant band that tracks steps and calories. Comes in multiple colors and band styles with many options for personalization.
- Fitbit Alta ($129.95) and Alta HR ($149.95): Slim bands that track calories, steps, and sleep data (HR only). The Alta HR also tracks heart rate and provides other features. Different colors and band styles available.
- Fitbit Charge 2 ($149.95) Wider band that provides heart rate data, connected GPS, sleep tracking and other features. Different colors and interchangeable band styles available.
- Fitbit Versa ($199.95) Watch-style band with a color touchscreen, smartphone notifications, most features of the other models, and on-screen workouts. Many interchangeable band styles and colors available. This model is also swim-proof and provides female health tracking to log periods, track your cycle and gauge ovulation.
- Fitbit Ionic ($299.95) Fitbit’s smartwatch that provides features of the other models plus built-in GPS, apps for weather, Fitbit Pay, Starbucks, Strava and more. Also stores and plays music. Many colors and band styles available.
Next, the Fitbit dashboard is especially well suited for weight loss. Customizable tiles help dieters understand and manage energy balance to lose weight. It doesn’t matter which diet you’re on, energy balance is the key to weight loss. The dashboard helps you to manage calories in and calories out and also helps you track and manage your macronutrient balance. Keeping fat, carbohydrate, and protein grams in balance helps you to manage your overall food intake.
Fitbit also pairs seamlessly with helpful apps and other tools apps to make weight loss easier. For example, you can pair your tracker with the Fitbit Aria 2, a wi-fi body fat scale that syncs with your dashboard so you have an integrated weight loss tracking system. The Aria 2 can track multiple users and measures not only weight but also body mass index and body fat so you can watch multiple metrics change over time.
Lastly, you can also pair your tracker with Fitbit Flyer, wireless fitness headphones. Fitbit also pairs with Strava, an app that connects runners and cyclists to help them reach training goals, MyFitnessPal and LoseIt, two popular calorie tracking apps.
Which Fitbit is Best for Weight Loss?
So which Fitbit is best when you’re trying to lose weight? All of them provide access to the Fitbit dashboard, so the one that will work best for you is the one that you will wear most often and has features that you will use on a regular basis. So if you are in the market to buy a Fitbit choose the style that fits your budget, your wardrobe, and your lifestyle.
Take these factors into consideration:
- What’s my budget? The price of a Fitbit varies from just under $60 for the Fitbit Zip to just under $300 for the Fitbit Ionic. While it’s smart to invest in a health device to help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals, you don’t want to pay for features that you don’t need. So be clear about the features you will and won’t use.
- Is your daily wardrobe sporty? Business casual? Professional? Make sure you get a model that you can wear during both work and play hours. Think about the type of clothing that you wear on the weekends and in the evenings. It’s absolutely essential that you gather data during these hours, so don’t buy a model that you wouldn’t wear to a restaurant, on vacation or out on the town.
- Do you work on a keyboard all day? If your Fitbit band bangs against your computer keyboard, you’ll probably take it off and then you’ll lose access to some of the best data and features. So if computer work is a big part of your job, choose a soft band, a band that can be moved higher on the arm, or one of the models that you can clip to your clothing.
- Will you wear your Fitbit to track sleep? Some dieters find that it is helpful to track sleep data. Most of the Fitbit devices provide sleep tracking and some models (Alta HR, Charge 2, Blaze, Ionic) provide sleep stage tracking to give you information about the time you spend in the most restful stages of sleep. But some of the watch-style Fitbits are a little bit bigger and may not be comfortable for everyone to wear at night.
- Is vigorous exercise a part of your weight loss plan? If you sweat hard during workouts, choose a model that can take the heat. Some of the best-looking leather bands aren’t likely to hold up to heavy sweat. And if swimming is your exercise of choice, then you should choose a Fitbit model, like the Ionic smart watch, that is water resistant and designed to be used for water workouts.
- Do you need special features like heart rate monitoring, GPS, or coaching? If you walk or run outside, you may prefer a device that tracks pace and distance. The Fitbit Blaze and Charge 2 provided connected GPS for exercisers who carry their smart phone. But if you prefer not to carry a phone, then Ionic is the best choice for you. It provides GPS (no phone needed) and stores music on the watch so you can listen to your favorite tunes without carrying an extra device. Both Blaze and Ionic provide on-screen workouts with Fitstar coaching. And Alta HR, Charge 2, Blaze, and Ionic provide heart rate data.
- Will you use lifestyle features? Any Fitbit can help you lose weight, but you can also use your device to manage basic lifestyle activities as well. You’ll get smartphone notifications on several of the devices (Alta, Alta HR, Charge, Blaze, and Ionic), but Blaze and Ionic provide a bright colorful display that is easy to read. These two devices also have a Relax app to provided guided stress relief. And the Ionic has a wallet app that stores credit card information so you can make payments directly from the watch.
How to Use Fitbit for Weight Loss
If you want to lose weight with Fitbit, you’ll set up your dashboard properly and refer to it often. Each tile on the dashboard promotes good health, but there are a few that matter more when your primary goal is to slim down. Customize your dashboard to highlight these essential tiles.
- Food Plan. Use this tile to set your weight loss goal. You can decide how much weight you want to lose and how hard you are willing to work to reach that goal. Based on your goal, you are assigned a daily calorie deficit. Once this feature is set, you can check this tile throughout the day to find out how much you can eat to maintain your deficit.
- Calories In vs Out. This is the tile with the meter on the front. It tells you how many calories you have consumed so far in the day compared to the number of calories you’ve burned. At the end of the day, you want your meter reading to be in the middle green zone. So how do you make that happen? Make sure that you eat fewer calories than you burn. This creates a calorie deficit. When your calorie deficit matches the deficit required for your weight loss goal (set up in your food plan), then you’ll end the day in the green zone.
- Hourly Activity Goal. Use this tile to boost your metabolism. Check it throughout the day to make sure that you are moving around and burning as many calories as possible all day long. Need a reminder to get up and move? All of the Fitbit models provide reminders to move, except the Fitbit Zip. You can also use the Hourly Activity Goal to analyze the times of the day when you are likely to be least active. Set up activity dates during these times. Schedule a walk with a friend, household chores, or errands that require walking during these times.
There are other Fitbit dashboard tiles that can be helpful when you are trying to lose weight. But only add them to your dashboard if you will actually use the data. If you overwhelm your dashboard with tiles, numbers, and data that you are not likely to use, it makes the important information harder to find.
- The Sleep tile is a great tool for dieters who might skip exercise sessions because they are frequently tired. There is also some evidence that suggests that we make less healthy food decisions when we are tired and that getting enough sleep may help to balance our hunger hormones. You can use the data to make adjustments to your sleep habits so that your body gets the rest is needs to be active during the day and make diet-friendly food choices.
- The Recent Exercise tile will show you how close you are to reaching the exercise and movement goals you’ve set for the day or for the week.
- The Water tile is very helpful for dieters who tend to eat when they are thirsty.
- The Resting Heart Rate tile may be helpful for people who tend to eat in response to stress. If you find yourself heading to the vending machine or to the refrigerator when you’re not hungry, check your resting heart rate. It’s possible that you are feeling anxious or stressed. Then use the Relax app to calm yourself with deep breathing instead of food.
- Top Badges, and Friends are great resources for people who enjoy a competitive challenge and who are served well by the support of others.
Can’t Lose Weight With Fitbit? Common Pitfalls
So why are some consumers disappointed when they don’t lose weight with Fitbit? It’s often because they have unreasonable expectations. The data you collect with your Fitbit can help make your weight loss plan more accurate. But no device can motivate you to exercise when you don’t want to or skip a treat when you are convinced that you need it.
Another reason that your Fitbit might fail is inconsistent use. Some dieters only wear their Fitbit on “good” days when their exercise and food habits are worth recording. But if you only wear the device occasionally you lose the opportunity to collect accurate data. Then you can’t make changes to improve your body.
An activity tracker can be a great tool to help you slim down. And your Fitbit weight loss plan can work. But you need to wear your Fitbit regularly, collect the most accurate data and then use the information to make healthy long-term changes to your daily diet and exercise plan.