Retrofit – Data Driven Weight Loss

If you’re a regular reader, you know about my interest in the quantified self and exercise. You also know my struggle with losing that “last 20 pounds” which I’ve finally decided I am going to do once and for all. As part of this, I’m using a new program called Retrofit which was created by Jeff Hyman, a long time friend and entrepreneur, and some of the leading weight loss experts in the country .

Retrofit uses a Fitbit and a Withings scale to make tracking your sleep, activity and weighing yourself easy. Your data is shared with your personal weight loss team: a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist, and behavior coach. Your experts meet with you one on one via Skype videoconference. Not only do they help you lose weight, but also they help you establish the skills to keep weight off for life.

I’ve been doing the program for a month and my experience so far has been great. I’ve learned a lot about what I’m eating wrong and have started to reprogram my bad patterns. I’ve lost a few pounds already, but am taking a long term view toward losing the 20 pounds over the next 12 months and then maintaining my weight at 190 for the balance of my life.

Jeff has created this program for people like me – busy, on the road all the time, constant meals out, and the endless struggle with getting rid of a little extra weight. The goal is not a classical “lose weight right now and then gain it back” diet. Instead, it’s focused on gradual weight loss with long term behavior change.

While it’s not inexpensive, if you look at the overall cost and what you get for it, it’s a great deal. And, even though the program is never discounted through the website, Jeff was willing to give anyone reading this blog a 50% discount if you sign up before 12/31/11. If you are interested, just call 1-800-774-5962 and use the code word “Feld” to receive the special pricing.

If losing some weight is on your upcoming new years resolution list, take a look at Retrofit.

  • Grant Carlile

    Well Brad you continue to amaze me. Giving access to weight loss is a public good. Glad to have your personal account and a discount code for interested personnel.

    All the best to Jeff and his team at Retrofit.

  • Gary Ditsch

    These behavior modification style weight loss programs have been around for a long time and are truly the only way to see long term weight loss success. Some people achieve those behavior modifications through social programs now online, but with fitbit and withings it was only a matter of time before their data was used to support such a program. I hope it proves successful as a company because the programming and methodology is legit.

    Having spent time promoting and advocating the America on the Move program, I wonder if Dr. Hill is now going to get a fitbit as common place as he did the pedometers we used. Same idea, but the data is better and more powerful.

    • Grant Carlile

      It’s true that behavior modification has been around for a while. The great part about Retrofit is that they’re harnessing the latest tools, that people are already using, to do so. If these products are popular then it is easier, not easy, easier, to add on the behavior modification. The idea being to reinforce positive activities, and that’s something I can get behind.

  • Anonymous

    As a former endurance athlete who struggled with weight, I can tell you to consider the program at the below link. Easy to follow, never starving and you can eat these foods anywhere. You will take a performance hit for 2-3 weeks, but then you will get a performance boost. Overall, it is a modified paleo diet and the following blog is written by a former elite marathoner and triathlete:

  • Anonymous

    Wow, money well spent on Fitbit! #notfacetiousorironic I love that you pick projects you’re interested in too! #crossesfingersyoustaywiththatmethodology! Gonna go check out Retrofit now. Thanks for the #FeldDeal

  • In the spirit of encouraging some discourse, is there some thought around making this more scalable through automated analysis of the data? It seems quite labor intense (therefore costly) for the average person.

    • I expect they’ll explore this after a year. For now it’s pretty clear that a big part of this is the interaction with the humans. Given my own struggles to lose the last 20 pounds, I think that unless I have people to be accountable to, it’s not going to happen.

  • And sorry.. that was mean to be a post from me personally, not VHG.

  • Joe

    Data driven decision making is phenomenal, but you have to
    make sure you’re measuring the right things. 
    The problem with “the leading weight loss experts in the country” is
    that they’re the most resistant to new ideas. 
    From the retrofit FAQ:

    “Any program can help you to lose weight. A 3500 calorie
    reduction will cause you to lose 1 pound of weight, whether that is achieved by
    eating nothing but cabbage or grapefruits or by having a donut hole for the day
    doesn’t matter. The simple equation for weight loss is a math equation that
    doesn’t take into account nutritional needs or ability to sustain that eating

    Whether or not you agree with Gary Taubes, I think a
    scientifically minded person should be very skeptical of someone who still
    writes a statement like that in 2011. 
    Yes, it’s a math equation and it’s true, but it tells you nothing.  Are calories in and calories out independent
    variables? And about the arrow of causation, does
    LASTING weight loss occur because you are eating less?  Or does what you eat create a hormonal milieu
    that shifts your body from lipogenesis to lipoysis reducing hunger?  Both of those hypotheses of weight loss
    satisfy the laws of thermodynamics, but you would want to be tracking very
    different metrics depending on which one you believe.

    In the spirit of making sure you are measuring the right
    things, I second the previous comment regarding checking out

  • All the best to the Retrofit team!

  • Anonymous

    Ditton on the change in behavior stuff.

    I will say that I’ve found, after 250+ days of obsessively logging all my food and exercise (50+ lost so far, 15 to go) that I’m finding …. less need to do so.

    Don’t get me wrong, I went for a 6 mile run (went 7 as I got lost, oh well) and had my gps and HRM but i wasn’t using them during the run.  I didn’t have my iphone for a few days and was able to get to my MyFitnessPal and get it updated ex-post pretty well.  And my weight and fitness stayed the same.


    PS – When people ask me how I lost so much weight I look ’em dead in the eye and say: I ate less.

  • Anonymous

    Just curious, why 190? How did you come up with that number? I know there are formulas but do they really personalize your weight goals? What if the right number is 210? Maybe you already can eat more/run less 🙂

    • Some of it visual (I looked in the mirror), some of it is how I felt in the past when I weighed 193 as an adult (awesome), and some of it is my waist size (4″ bigger than I’d like).

  •  I also heard some good thing about this retrofit thingy…

  • Anonymous

    Hi Brad,

    Many years ago (1998~) Peter Lowe International offered a similar program for entrepreneurs and personal development, though the program has since been discontinued.  I can personally attest to the results!  Having a bi-weekly mentoring, weekly/monthly goals and being accountable to those was great.  I still have most of the information, tests, results, etc revolving around that program. 

    With that, I see Retrofit being highly successful for many people that sometimes find it hard to get self motivated or not sure on how to do it.  While I’m at my ideal weight, I would encourage others that need the help to move forward with Retrofit.   If the cost seems a bit much, look at the cost of a contract at a local gym… it’s just as much and not going to provide you with personal counseling, results driven goals and insight on how to reach that 10% weight loss.

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