In my search to gain an upper hand in my unending battle with the bulge, I came across an interesting product called the breathSlim (www.breathslim.com). I tend to have a very simplistic view of weight loss: Burn more calories than you take in and you should lose weight. However, as most of you know this is not necessarily as easy as it sounds. It requires a lot of will power and sometimes a helping hand from technology doesn’t hurt, especially when it sounds so easy to do.
I’m pretty much a skeptic regarding any new technology that claims to provide health benefits that can’t be quantified. That skepticism keeps my at arms-length emotionally from some of the technologies, but when they work oh boy I become a fanatic. Granted, these reviews are the musings and thoughts of one person and results will vary.
The breathslim is one of those products that makes my skeptic meter ring to 11. Again, the simple math of caloric intake makes makes me question everything that somehow doesn’t fit perfectly into that perfect equation. The breathSlim is one of the products. The packaging for the breathSlim is pretty attractive, very zen. So much so that it’s actually a let-down when you look at what the breathSlim by itself. For future reference, I think there can be more attention can be given to the aesthetics of the breathSlim itself. The package comes with a DVD, brochure and users guide. According to the brochure, the core technology that breathSlim builds on “changing your breathing pattern” increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood, “in turn leads to complete fat burning.” Here is what the breathSlim literature states:
The BreathSlim also claims to have additional benefits including:
- normalizing metabolism and lowering appetite
- helping with insomnia and snoring is diminished
I’m hoping to see the benefits of the breathSlim quickly because I think this is an interesting technology that’s simple to use. There are no add-ons that you need to purchase, just the breathSlim. It’s a self-contained weight loss apparatus and given it’s size very portable. The literature claims that only 10-20 mins of use will help facilitate the weight-loss so it’ll be in addition to what I do in the gym already.
Update: I just took a few breaths from the breathSlim…it’s not as easy as I thought it would be. I think the difficulty lends to helping increase your lung capacity and therefore your oxygen intake. After two breaths, I’m already tired! I’m going to contact the customer service line to make sure that I’m doing this right but I’d have to say that it’s looking promising as a lung-exerciser, we’ll see about the weight loss benefits in the coming weeks.
I’ve been using the Fitbit for the last 5 days and although it’s a great monitor, I really haven’t been able to put it through it’s paces as I’ve been sick for a little over a week (wah, wah). But here are my (according fitbit) very inactive thoughts:
- Fitbit’s size is awesome…almost too awesome. You can clip it to your belt or pocket and continue through your day and not know that it’s there. Given my absent-mindedness, I think (although I hope not) that it will only be a matter of time before I leave it in a pant pocket and toss it into the washing machine.
- Words of encouragement. Each time you pick up the Fitbit it displays a few words either: “Vamos Bob” “Climb it Bob” or “Ready? Bob.” Given the two-way communication between the itbit and the receiver/charger, I wonder if it would be possible for Fitbit to send new encouragements? You know, just to mix it up.
- I forgot to wear it. Yesterday, I forgot to wear the fibit in the chaos of the morning rush. I wonder, would it be possible for fitbit and acceptable to the user to get a timed email/text message reminding you to wear the fitbit? Just a thought, just a thought.
We’re still working on the format for the product reviews. We apologize for the formatting errors in advance and appreciate your eyeballs? No that’s not quite what I was looking for, but you know what I mean yeah?
The Fitbit Ultra arrived this afternoon, but I wasn’t able to open until tonight…it was worth the wait. When I saw the fitbit at CES, it immediately caught my eye. From the minimalist packaging to the sleek design of the fitbit it just screamed cool…and I had no idea what it was. Intrigued, I talked to the reps in the booth and asked if someone could do a quick video on the fitbit. The brought out the big gun, James Park fitbit’s CEO. James was kind enough to indulge me with a 60 second intro on fitbit and when he started to speak I immediately thought “pedometer.” But it’s soooooo much more.
The predominant trend I observed at CES this year were connected (via ant+, wifi, etc) body monitors from the specific sleep monitors to all encompassing activity monitor. There were sleep monitors that you could wear on your head and heart rate monitors that could be worn on your arm and there were the more robust activity monitors like the fitbit ultra. The fitbit is an unassuming piece of technology that is packed with bells and whistles (I say bells and whistles because I only know that there’s an accelerometer and altimeter in there some where). The package includes a receiver/charging station, wrist band (to wear while sleeping) and a belt clip.
The fitbit website says that it can track:
- steps and distance;
- calories burned;
- stairs climbed;
- sleep quality; plus
- all that other stuff below.
The fitbit is basically worn throughout the entire day and at night (to measure your sleep) and the data is wirelessly uploaded onto your online profile, provided you’re near the receiver/charging station. According to the website, the fitbit should last between 5 and 7 days with each charge of the lithium-ion polymer battery and it only takes 1 hour to fully charge.
First impression of the fitbit? Gooood, but time will tell. A few drawbacks that I noticed immediately were:
- lack of Android app support;
- no water resistant;
- another piece of hardware, albeit small, to wear on the body; and
- no heart rate monitor (or does it, I mean it does calculate the calories you burn)
I can’t wait to start using the fitbit, especially tonight.
Design: 4*, Value: ?, Performance: ?, Quality:?
As part of my New Year’s resolution, I’ve (re)committed to a more healthy lifestyle. For those of you hardcore, cold turkey, rock ‘em, sock ‘em fitness people…I’m not quite there yet. One of things I can change is my sleep. It’s been frigid here, getting as low as the upper 40s (I know, I know…I live in California) and the heater tends sap ambient moisture so I’ve been using the Shield Life TheraMat Mattress Pad (TheraMat) for the past month to see if this would: 1) improve my sleep and 2) help with the aches and pains. So far I’ve got to say that I’m impressed. The TheraMat uses a patented technology to shield me from electromagnetic fields, which apparently are bad for me, while using far infrared heat to keep me warm. My restless nights have been reduced significantly (so much to the point that I don’t want to get out of my cocoon in the morning) and recovery from longer runs have been shortened.
My first impression was that the TheraMat was too big (we have a King-size bed). It comes in a rather large box and a very sturdy bag and it can appear intimidating because it weighs about 20 lbs. Other heated pads have usually come, squeezed into in a small clear plastic bags with the seams nearly busting. The user’s manual caught me off guard as the first couple of sections are written in Chinese and the English version is somewhere in the middle. There’s also a Spanish and Korean translation. The instructions are very easy to follow, but what was most interesting were the pages near the end that explained EMF and its dangers. I did a bit research on my own and it appears that there are scientists on either side of the argument. The TheraMat is supposed to be placed on top of your existing mattress and you can place a fitted sheet over it to prevent it from getting dirty. The instructions say that you can’t wash the TheraMat, which is a drawback especially if you have little kids or simply perspire at night, but I’ve been assured by Customer Support that a fitted sheet should help to keep it clean. The TheraMat is about an 1″ thick and gives plenty of support, but I’ve been told that it is NOT recommended for use with memory foam beds (it has something to do with the heat softening the memory foam). There are a total of nine heat settings, but in reality you’ll only need to use Low to (maybe as high as) 4. Anything higher you’ll have an in-bed sauna. The temperature control units look a bit out of place relative to the technology and price point for the TheraMat (King size was almost $500). Imagine a maple bar (donut reference), with an on/off button and a dial to control the temperature, again given the price point I would have expected a digital version.
I started using the TheraMat in December and, although the weather was unseasonably warm, there was immediate effect after the first night’s use. I definitely felt as though I had had a better nights sleep than in previous months! Without considering if this was attributable to a “placebo” effect, I kept using it with better and better results. One area where I noticed definite improvement was my lower back pain and knees. On those days that I do a long run, my back and knees always seemed to get the worst of it and the standard regimen of ice and hot packs was somewhat limiting. That all changed with the TheraMat. After a long run, I would immediately take a shower and hop into bed fro 30/40 minutes with the TheraMat turned on to 3 or 4 very warm and toasty. While sitting up, I took normal ice packs and applied them in 10 minute intervals onto my knees (eg 10 mins with ice packs with knees bent, 10 minutes no ice packs with legs straight to get heat) and I did a similar regimen with my back. After the rest period, I would go about the day/evening and when I went to bed I set the TheraMat to 1 and would go to sleep. The next morning, if felt as though my back and knees had been fully rested. It did not feel as though I was creaking out of bed.
The Shield Life TheraMat definitely comes across as the Mercedes of heated mattress pads. With a price point almost 2x or 3x competitors (I came across a similar product at Costco for $50!) it’s definitely a purchase that you might wince at. The packaging and temperature controller are somethings the Shield Life should put some more time and investment into. However, I am a believer. The company doesn’t make any significant claims for therapeutic purposes but it works. It wasn’t just my sleep that improved, it helped with my aching knees and back. I’d recommend purchasing a smaller version if you’re still apprehensive about committing to a King-size version to try and test it out. The company’s website sells the product for $100 more than the dealers and there is a 30 day return policy so you should be pretty safe with the purchase.
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