A mother-of-two has revealed she gained a stone using a fitness tracker – but has now lost eight stone after ditching it.
Fiona Benbow discovered that after just a month of using the device – which counts steps taken and calories burned – her weight ballooned up to her her largest ever – 19-and-a-half stone.
She admits she rewarded herself with huge sugary cakes and family-sized chocolate bars if her FitBit told her she had burned lots of calories – which saw her waistline expand from a size 20 to a 24.
Feeling disheartened, the 39-year-old stopped using the monitor and credits ‘listening to my own body’ for helping reduce her weight down to 12 stone and is now happy to flaunt her size 12 figure.
Fiona turned to power walking for 30 minutes every lunchtime, cleaned up her diet and is now selling the £69 FitBit Flex to buy some workout gear.
Fiona Benbow, from West Sussex, piled on a stone after just a month of using the device
Fiona credits power walking with a friend every lunchtime for getting down to 12 stone
FASHIONABLE FITBITS IN THE NEWS
Fitbits are inexpensive, wearable devices that monitor users’ step counts and overall activity levels.
According to recent research, 80 per cent of users of such devices have continued with their use for at least six months.
The researchers from the University of Pennsylvania say this suggests the gadgets help motivate users to increase exercise levels.
And research out this week from the University of Pittsburgh found for every 100 additional steps certain cancer patients take after surgery to remove their tumour reduces their risk of hospital readmission by up to 18 per cent.
Last month it was revealed thousands of obese people will be given Fitbit-style wristbands as part of an NHS drive to prevent diabetes.
The £1.2million pilot scheme will initially involve 5,000 obese patients who are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The University of Pennsylvania found relatives taking part in exercise-based rivalries take significantly more steps every day and are more likely to achieve their fitness goals.
‘Out of control snacking’
Fiona from Horsham, West Sussex, a school’s design technology technician, says the wrist-worn gadget became her ‘Bible’ for a month.
She said: ‘If I walked a lot, the FitBit would typically tell me I’d burned around 3,000 calories.
‘I remember one day I was shopping then went to a party in the evening and danced, and it told me I’d burned well over 4,000 – I couldn’t believe it!
‘If the FitBit said I’d burned 3,000 calories I would reward myself with a family-sized chocolate bar or a huge sugary cake.
‘According to its calculations, I was still burning off more energy than what I was putting into my body so I couldn’t see why I wasn’t losing weight.’
Fiona said that before she started using the tracker, she was already morbidly obese at 18-and-a-half stone.
Fiona admits ‘out of control’ snacking was always her downfall and she ‘got bigger and bigger’ after having children.
She added: ‘Getting divorced made me more determined than ever to lose weight.
‘I had managed to keep my weight stabilised but couldn’t seem to lose any.’
Listening to my body worked
‘But after I ditched the FitBit and started listening to my own body things started to fall into place.
‘My method was simple: I’d power walk with a friend and we’d chat to keep each other motivated.’
‘There was no counting steps, just good old-fashioned walking until we were really out of breath.
Fiona is now proud of her much slimmer frame after ditching her FitBit and no longer rewarding herself with sugary cakes and family-sized chocolate bars
‘Now I’m a slim size 12 and eight stone lighter.
‘I have more energy for playing with my two girls, and we’ve even started doing Kung-Fu classes together. I am no longer the embarrassing ‘fat mum’.’
She said: ‘As I turn Fit at 40 next week, I’ve decided to auction off my FitBit to buy myself some nice workout clothing.
‘Hopefully someone will buy it for Christmas and get more from it than I did.’
FitBit have been approached for comment.