When Pete Gebhart had three back-to-back seizures early last year, he knew something had to change.
His doctor had said exercise, a healthy diet and consistent sleep would give him a greater sense of control over his epilepsy. But Pete—who, at 345 pounds, had been overweight since childhood and relished throwing back beers as much as he abhorred the gym—couldn’t stick to his plan.
Feeling desperate, he purchased an UP by Jawbone in March of 2013.
He was skeptical, even suspicious, having only known Jawbone for its audio products. But the app became his sidekick. For two months, he exercised daily, recorded every meal and monitored his sleep like a hawk. He abandoned six-packs of beer for a single 76-calorie vodka soda.
Within two months, he lost 50 pounds. Within a year and a half, he lost 150 pounds – 43% of his body weight. Today Pete wears a size 34 pant, something he describes as “pretty crazy”, since the last time he put on a 34 was as a 12-year-old.
“[When] you actually see the calories, it makes you more responsible,” said Pete, a New York-based SaaS software engineer. “In real time, you know when you’re making a shitty decision.”
But for Pete, it’s not all about weight. Both the quantity and quality of his sleep need to monitored closely, as seizures can be triggered by irregular sleep.
The more high quality sleep he gets, the safer Pete feels, he explained. If he gets less than six hours of total sleep with only four hours of Sound Sleep, he avoids strenuous activities, and doesn’t like to hold his two-year-old son in his arms.
While UP is not a medical tool the visualizations support his instincts and help him make mindful decisions.
“UP has really let me know how I need to interact with my body, versus how I might want to interact with my body,” said Pete.
At the end of the day, the data and numbers keep Pete on his toes.
“I really felt that in terms of data and analytics I was getting the best data on myself from this device compared to what’s on the market,” Pete said. “I’ve even learned that I need to complete my workouts in the morning, because if I do them at night, I know I won’t sleep well. I have the data to show that.”
To ensure he doesn’t miss a step, Pete wears UP everywhere. Out with friends “If people ask me how I lose weight, I show this to them,” he said—and to every medical appointment.
At a recent visit to a new doctor, Pete had his own “a-ha” moment. “After taking my stats, the doctor commented that I was a thin, healthy-looking guy” and I’m like, “I am?! It’s definitely an odd thing for me to hear.”
Ultimately, Pete believes UP is adding days and quality to his life. Striving for 100 percent of his daily step and sleep goals motivates him like nothing else could. Most importantly, he said, it has helped him become a better father.
Swapping time on the couch for adventures in Central park, a beach trip or the occasional museum visit has already strengthened that bond. But Pete knows there is still so much ahead of him.
“I will be able to spend more time with my kid,” he said. “This is going to positively affect my health moving forward so we can have a better, deeper relationship.”