Biggest Loser contestants have always donned a gadget on their arms, tracking their every move through more than eight hours of exercise each day. This season, the device was seemingly gone. Trust that it’s still there, it’s just discreetly hiding underneath their T-shirts.
The SlimCoach is tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and when clipped under your shirt to a pocket or waist band can barely be noticed. It’s practically weightless, in fact, that smartphone you lug everywhere weighs more.
The SlimCoach offers minimal data from the device, but when synced with your computer and an online dashboard you’ll get a lot of valuable information about your calorie burn and consumption and your progress toward a weight loss goal. On the face of the device is a circle that lights up red at the start of your day. As you progress through the day, whether walking or running, it shows your calorie burn by lighting up green. The goal is to get a solid green circle, which means you’ve met your goal for the day.
I spent some time wearing the SlimCoach and quickly felt I was in a competition with myself. I was going out of my way to move just to make sure that circle turned green. For instance, I stood to fold the laundry instead of sitting, and I was more inclined to hop/run down the stairs. I wasn’t obsessive, but I definitely checked in periodically. With a click to the center of the circle I could see my progress. Barely at half green by noon? Not good enough! I had to keep moving.
I like to think I’m moderately active, but using the SlimCoach was a good wake-up call that I wasn’t as active as I thought I was. When I’d sit down at the end of the day to check my progress, a couple times I had a small spot of red left. The device made me want to work harder, even if for no other reason than that avoiding a perceived sense of failure.
The SlimCoach doesn’t come with any specific fitness guidance, you’re still left to your own devices there. The good news is that it picks up any movement. I wore it to yoga, on walks and jogs, cleaning the house. The green circle lit up pretty fast when I wore it on the Saturday that we packed and moved our office from one second-floor location to another. A lot of stair climbing that day!
The Biggest Loser SlimCoach Diet
Within the dashboard for the SlimCoach you’ll also have access to a diet. What it lacks in fitness guidance it makes up for in meal plans. Each day you can log-in to see that day’s plan; you can even get a shopping list to plan for the week ahead. You can either check the box as you’ve eaten each item, or delete them from the list and add from the system’s database any food that you have eaten.
This keeps track of your calorie consumption and when matched with your calorie burn sets you on a clear path to weight loss. You’ve got all the data at your finger tips, and it’s pretty powerful information that you can’t ignore.
Based on your weight, weight loss goals, and even the rate at which you’d like to lose, the SlimCoach will show you how many calories to eat and what your daily caloric burn should be. On the “slow and steady plan,” it had me losing a pound a week. On the “challenge me” plan, it had me losing four pounds per week, a little higher than the safe and healthy rate of 1-2 pounds per week.
The meal plans are family-friendly or simple enough for a single user. The plans also cater to the needs of vegetarians.
While the convenience of having a meal plan accessible with a simple log-in was nice, I was turned off by the meal plans themselves. These are not resemblant of a Biggest Loser diet, nor my own, which relies on clean eating and whole foods. The meal plans are heavily reliant on processed, packaged foods, and often included Ore-Idea potato products, Lean Cuisines and Healthy Choice, Splenda, veggie dogs, eight different kinds of cheese, pork sausage, two kinds of bacon, deli meat, and more. In my prescribed meal plan, I only saw eight servings of fruit for the entire week; at a minimum you should have five servings of fruit each day. The diet was rich in vegetables.
The SlimCoach retails for $129.99, which includes the cost of the device and a one-year membership to the online dashboard. That’s a serious bargain when you compare it to its competitors.
What I liked most about the SlimCoach is that I enjoyed using it, I enjoyed the competition between it and myself. I also liked how light and discreet it was. To get full use of the data, I had to be diligent about synching it each day, which I wasn’t. What I disliked most was the diet plan, which could definitely use some cleaning up. You can’t go wrong prescribing the actual Biggest Loser diet, which was named one of the best diets for weight loss and the best for diabetes by US News and World Report.
March 28th, 2012