Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weight Watcher's ActiveLink Training Tool Review



The Weight Watchers company has been helping people eat right and lose weight in a healthy way for decades. I first got to see how their system works when a friend of mine asked me to take her "Before" picture. She was nearly 300 pounds and had finally reached the point of determination where she wanted it to change. A year and a half later I got to take one of her many "After" pictures. She had lost over 100 pounds.

The reason I tell you this story is that my lovely wife Terri B, has reached the point where she is determined to make a change. She signed up to Weight Watchers, diligently attends all the meetings and she is even trying their latest technology - ActiveLink.


Activelink is a small electronic monitor that clips to a person's clothing. All day long it tracks a their physical activity from the shortest walk to the longest swim. It doesn't matter if you are doing housework, shopping, physical labor or exercising, everything registers on the monitor. These movements are recorded and can later be viewed online by plugging the unit into any laptop via USB port.

You might be asking, How can an electronic monitor make you lose weight? The answer is awareness. Many people who are having weight problems tend to be sedentary. Their lack of physical movement causes them to retain a higher amount of calories than an active person would use on a normal day. But how do you measure movement outside the sphere of exercise?


Terri works at a job where she is sitting most of the day but she also has periods of activity that seemed worthy of measurement. Once she started using the Activelink her preconceived notions were instantly challenged. Her normal daily routine barely registered as physical activity. Some days were busier than others but in general this knowledge reinforced the idea that she need to do more if she wanted to reach her goals.

The Activelink requires the participant to first set a baseline of activity by wearing it for a set period of time. Then the online software records activity against the baseline to determine how much more is needed for weight loss to occur. Points are scored for any amount beyond the 100% marker.


Terri also monitored her exercises - mostly swimming and biking. This is where the Activelink proved to be very valuable. On small local bike rides or short swims her movements proved to be useful but minimal, sometimes not even reaching 100% of her daily baseline. This was a reminder that passive exercise alone was not enough. Activelink encourages the creation of a more active lifestyle adapted one day at time.

Since shorter exercises didn't always reach her goals, Terri became more motivated towards longer, more involved training like our group mountain bike rides. These rides last more than 90 minutes and challenge the limits of her conditioning. On those days her activity level spikes through the roof. As a result of this visible reward she has become eager to take part in the group rides every week.


The most important question is, does Activelink work? Does the heightened awareness of physical activity really encourage people to alter their lifestyles? In Terri's case the answer is a resounding yes. Being mindful of what she does on a daily basis has pushed her to rise above that baseline. As a result of this increase in activity alongside her improved nutrition, she has lost more than 16 pounds.

ActiveLink is available exclusively to Weight Watcher's subscribers.

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