Pedometers – Are They Really Worth It?

I considered buying a pedometer. As I plowed through the online reviews, it struck me that people really love their pedometers. Even in my Weight Watchers meetings, people talk about the wonders of pedometers. It’s as if this little device came from the fitness gods and holds the key to unlock the mysteries of weight loss.

Well to that I say:

That’s right. I call Shenanigans!

Sorry, but I just don’t see it. It counts steps. It’s just a tracker and not much else. Yeah, I’ve seen the articles about how it inspires you to get moving. I started a blog about my weight loss journey…how much more inspired do I need to be? It just seems that I would have to obsessively track all that I do. That’s not how I roll. I just don’t want to over think this workout stuff.

Do I track what I eat? Yes. Do I track my walks? Yep. How about my workouts with my trainer or other activities? You betcha. But I can do that via Weight Watchers’ eTools and it takes about 15 seconds. Not much effort involved. Yes, I have been using MapMyWalks for my daily walks. I would love for it to count steps too (it might, but I don’t want to pay for it). Sure, the data it provides helps me push myself a little more each walk. But it’s on my iPhone. So is my playlist. And a way to call for help. Both of which I consider a necessity when walking. I just don’t want another gadget to carry around.

So I looked at pedometer apps too. Sigh. I just thought, I’ve got too many apps as it is. And lets get real. If Weight Watchers were to add a kick ass walking tracker to their app, how long do you think MapMyWalks will last on my phone? The fewer apps, the better I say.

Am I missing something?

Taking the LiveLife Active Plunge

liveLife ActiveWeight Watchers just announced its new LiveLife Active Challenge and I’ve signed up.

The challenge lasts through June 1. Each week I’ll kick my workouts up a notch and keep track of all my activities via eTools.

Since I’ve been focused much more heavily on exercise the last couple of months, I’m very excited about participating in my very first challenge. So what’s on tap this week?

Week 1 Daily Workout Plan
Monday – 45 Minute Power Walk (3 miles)
Tuesday – Body Sculpting
Wednesday – 45 Min Power Walk (3 miles)
Thursday – Body Sculpting
Friday – 45 Minute Power Walk (3 miles)
Saturday – Brambleton Ribbon 5K (walk)
Sunday – Day Hike at Great Falls

Brambleton will be my first 5k in about 10 years and my first 5k this year. Can’t wait to start.

Loving My Weight Watchers eTools & Mobile App

Weight Watchers' food tracker via mobile app.

Weight Watchers’ food tracker via mobile app.

I’ve been playing with my Weight Watchers mobile app and eTools website. Here are my initial thoughts.

I have to say I’m enjoying using them. They really do a great job at making it easy for me to find the points value of foods when I’m on the go. The food tracker is very nice. Its library of foods is excellent and does the calculations for you. Not a whole lot of typing like other tracking apps. It also does a very nice job of storing foods I put in – I can recall them very easily.

There is also a spot to track my activities and the intensity. With Weight Watchers, you can earn activity points for working out. Those points can be turned into food points for the day – something I don’t do. But I do like that I can track my activities. I just wish the activity tracker could do more. I love my MapMyWalks app. I can actually see the progress. Now Weight Watchers has rolled out ActiveLink which closely monitors your activities. There is a $5 monthly fee plus the cost of the device. I haven’t signed up. I tend to skip the first generation of these types of roll outs to get all the bugs out. Plus I’d like to hear from other WW members using ActiveLink to see if it is worth it.

Dot to Trot's applesauce meatloaf recipe - 6 points per serving!

Dot to Trot’s applesauce meatloaf recipe – 6 points per serving!

This morning on eTools I tested their recipe builder. I keyed in just a couple of my standard meals I make weekly. The points are calculated for me. Awesome! I would suggest that WW look into creating shopping lists from the recipes. Since there are a few meals I make regularly, and I plan out our menu for the entire week, it would be great if I could just click on the recipes and poof – instant grocery list. So please get on that now!

One minor hitch with the recipe builder – it’s buried. I went the the recipe section at first and found lots of nice recipes and good info from Hungry Girl. I finally found it under My Tools area. I think an easy to find link in the general recipe section would be nice. It might be there, but I didn’t see it.

Weight Watchers' cocktail cheat sheet via its mobile app.

Weight Watchers’ cocktail cheat sheet via its mobile app.

While eTools has a ton of good info, I have to say I really enjoyed the cheat sheets. One of the hardest things to do is guestamate the points value of food when eating out. I’m not in control of how it was prepared. I’m not measuring or weighing everything. So there is a lot of guess work. The cheat sheet is a nice idea to give you a general idea of how many points you might be consuming. From a breakfast builder to happy hour foods, the cheat sheet is perfect for folks on the go. However, the mobile app version is lacking. Right now it’s limited to pizza, cockktails, pasta and salads. And some of those are limited too. I’m optimistic that WW can improve the app version.

Overall, well done Weight Watchers. There is so much on eTools that I still haven’t explored – especially the social component (which I’m looking forward too). The mobile app gets the job done. I have a few minor quibbles, but they are minor. The food tracking piece is excellence, and that is the heart of the program. If you do Weight Watchers and are not on eTools or the mobile app, I suggest you give it a try.