Dr, Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #290

Last week I promised to tell you about the one feature that makes the Apple Watch indispensable to me.

I won’t keep you in suspense—the feature is Activity and its three colorful rings.

Backstory (for Context)

Before I explain how Activity works and why I think it’s so great, allow me to provide some context. I have struggled with weight since time immemorial. Since college I’ve fluctuated between 185 and 270 pounds — closer to 270 than 185 more often than not.

In January of this year, I weighed 230 pounds and finally decided it was time to do something about it once and for all.

I know several Apple Watch users who are noticeably more fit since they started using the Watch’s and it’s Activity features, so my New Year’s resolution was to obey the Activity rings every day until I reach my target weight of 185 pounds.

It Works!

I’m not there quite yet, but after seven months of slavish obedience to my rings, I’ve logged over 1.6 million steps over the course of nearly 800 miles. And, as a result, I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds since January (I weighed 198 this morning).

The Rings Lord Over Me

The concept of the Activity rings is simple. The three rings are Movement (red), Exercise (yellow-green), and Standing (blue). In the morning, the rings are mere dots at the 12 o’clock position. As you move, exercise, and stand, the rings grow into circles. When a ring completes its circle and touches itself at 12 o’clock on your watch face, you’ve closed the ring by meeting or exceeding that goal.

I use the Activity watch face (center in the image below), so I’m mindful of my rings all day and night.

The rings and encouragement definitely keep me motivated.

Between the rings and the encouragement, I’ve remained motivated for seven months so far.

That’s motivating by itself, but the Apple Watch encourages me every day. In the morning, I receive a progress update encouraging me with messages like“Perfect Week! Close all three rings for the next three days, and you ‘ll earn a Perfect Week award. You’ve got this.”

When I don’t fill my rings as quickly, as usual, my watch alerts me that one or more rings are usually farther along by this time of day, gently encouraging me to find some time to get up and be active. Finally, when I sit at my desk for longer than 50 minutes straight without standing, the watch gently chides me to stand up for a minute or two.

I started the year with my Movement goal at 400 calories a day, then upped it to 450, and am about to increase it again to 500 (or maybe 600). The Exercise and Standing goals are preset to 30 minutes (minimum) per day for Exercise, and one-minute of standing for every hour you spend sitting.

The Bottom Line

And that, gentle reader, is why the Apple Watch has become absolutely indispensable to me, and why I’ll probably never wear an analog watch again.

Apple Watch Series 3 from $329; Series 1 from $249.

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