For Christmas, my brother gave each member of the family (including himself) a Fitbit — a small clip that you wear that monitors your activity. At FitBit.com you can keep track of your daily steps (and distance goals), log your activities (swimming, biking, etc.), keep track of your sleep activities (you put it on a wristband for bedtime if you so please), and you can keep a food journal.
The most effective thing about the Fitbit, imo, is the food journal. If you’re committed to logging in and checking out the cool data, you become accustom to exactly how bad some things are for you to eat. I think the shock is enough to keep you away for a while, if not for good. This combined with the idea of how many calories you burn each day without activities motivates me to walk more around the office, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk to pharmacy instead of drive.
Setup was quite simple compared to other gadgets I’ve had to set up: install the software at Fitbit.com, plug a USB dock into your computer with your clip on the dock, and pair the device by plugging in a code a la Netflix setup and voila!
Not too many gripes thus far with the fitbit. Mainly my only frustration has been its compatibility (or lack thereof) with the Firefox browser. (With one out of every four people on the internet using Firefox, this needs to improve right quick.) I could only upload my profile picture with Safari, and the formatting gets a bit wonky from time to time. Either way, the stats are working and me and my family are losing weight and having some fun with it too!
Next steps for this device seem more or less obvious. It needs mobile compatibility — seems silly that I need to go to my desktop for the latest and greatest real-time stats. I think sharing options should have more control settings. (And I think the community competition/gaming UX can have more features. That being said, Fitbit can build some great loyalty with some community-wide competitions from the cloud.) The food journal needs input from the community of users in order for it to scale. The UI needs to integrate other fitness apps like Garmin stats and Nike + stats for it to really feel like my fitness hub. When it does, however, it should be glorious.
To be continue and happy trails.