One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

PRODUCT REVIEWS

Product Review: Phillips DirectLife

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It’s very rare a product surprises me. When Phillips asked me to review their Activity Monitor I just assumed it would be like the Gruve. I’d get a little report at the end of the day telling me how many calories I burned. What I didn’t expect was the personal attention I received from my coach.

If you are unfamiliar with these type of products they are pretty interesting. You wear a little device that tracks your movement throughout the day. According to the DirectLife website…

The Activity Monitor measures body acceleration (speed increase) in three different directions. These measurements are combined with your age, gender, height and weight. The measurements are then converted to energy use, which are the calories you burn in different activities.

This isn’t a new concept there are quite a few products on the market that do this but as I said, I was surprised by my interactions with my coach, Jen. I was not aware this would be an aspect of the plan until Jen contacted me via email.

Honestly, I went into my review of this product with the wrong attitude. I wore the device for a few days and figured I’d do a quick post with my thoughts. At the time (prior to finding out I was pregnant) I was training for a marathon, running 3-4 times a week, weight training and being overall active. I simply didn’t think I needed help in the activity department. However, when I expressed this to Jen and asked her what role the coaches take on she urged me to look at it in a different light…

Hi Roni,

Thanks for getting back to me. I hope that you really liked your vacation.

It’s super to hear that you are training for a marathon and that you are happy with your weight as it is. I’m a fellow runner and I’d like to (if you let me) give you a slightly different perspective on what this device is for. Then I’ll answer your question about coaching.

So..the device is for tracking your activity, you are right, but what it tracks is overall activity and thus can point to times of inactivity. Why is that important? Prolonged inactivity is linked to many health problems, even for active people.

So, even for those who work out before work, those 8 hours of sitting at the desk all day are negatively affecting them. The DirectLife program helps people become aware of this and to attack activity on two levels. Set out specific activity times (such as a jog) and also taking every opportunity to be active throughout the day – such as always taking the stairs, going for a lunch walk or parking further away.

Perhaps now knowing its greater use/reach you might consider trying it again? It was actually tough to find lots of sedentary times in your days, however Thursday August 12th from 1 – 4pm is an example (for your reference)

Do let me know if you are interested in trying it out again with a different take (view) on it.

Now, coaching. I’m a DirectLife coach and work full time here in a Philips office with other coaches and the DirectLife team. The coaches have a variety of backgrounds, from behavioral psychology to human kinetics to NLP training and counseling. Every participant is assigned a coach and we each work one to one with our participants (as I do with you). However we do help each other if we have questions and cover for each other if we are sick or go on holidays. Therefore if I was sick for a few days, for instance, and you wrote to me, you would be given the option to be put in touch with another coach to answer your question. Every coaches role is to support their participants in the program. This is different for each participant, depending on their readiness to change, their goals, and even their desire to connect with a coach. Some people I am in touch with weekly, others just a few times in a Plan.

Does that answer your question?

Jen

After the email exchange I decided to embrace the device. I started wearing it all the time and I found it completely motivating. Especially when I was working full time. I loved seeing the differences in the days I took a walk with co-workers verses the ones I had meetings all day. I could easily see how my after dinner walks and play time with little guy affected my calories burned and the spikes from my run made me smile. Overall it justified the concept of every little bit helps.

The reports you get are super detailed. Here’s a a few samples from my account drilling down from week, to day, to hour. You can seriously see a bump up if you take a flight of stairs or play with the kids. It’s amazing.

Product Review: Phillips DirectLife - char week

Product Review: Phillips DirectLife - chart day

Product Review: Phillips DirectLife - chart hour

You can carry the device in your pocket, on your belt, around your neck or even, and this is my personal favorite, in your bra. Although after I lost the monitor (they send you a new one if you do) I opted for the necklace. :)

Overall, I can’t think of anything negative to say about the device. Even the price is fairly reasonable. For $99 you get the Activity Monitor, necklace, pouch and USB-adapter plus a 4 month membership which includes access to a personal coach via email and the charts on the website. That’s $25 a month to peer into your daily habits and learn how to incorporate more activity. I think it’s a good amount of time to start adopting some healthy habits for those that are trying to increase their daily activity.

Fellow bloggers who reviewed the product..

Have any of you used the product? Or any activity monitors. What are your thoughts on these type of devices?

Full Disclosure: Phillips did NOT pay me for this review. They did however, provide me the device and membership free of charge to review the product.



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Discussion

There are 19 comments so far.

    Teagan

    November 2, 2010

    I’ve been kicking around the idea of a heart rate monitor for Christmas. It seems like this little device would be even better. What do you think? have you ever used a heart rate monitor?

    roni

    November 2, 2010

    Sorry Teagan, I haven’t used a heart-rate monitor so I can’t give you my opinion or compare the two. Others may have though.

    Anyone?

    suzanne

    November 2, 2010

    Sounds like a very interesting product! Hope it’s available in Canada!!

    Foodie McBody

    November 2, 2010

    I LOVE my DirectLife. I am now into my 5th month with it and I think it is truly yet subtly very lifechanging. It makes a huge difference! And those hour-to-hour, day to day graphs are illuminating aren’t they? PLUS, I love love love coach Jen. She is so thoughtful and RIGHT ON in her coaching, it blows me away! SO glad you are liking it, too!

    Foodie McBody

    November 2, 2010

    PS. Jack Sh*t uses one too, and has quite the banter going with Coach Jen! It is a hoot!

    Reinaldo

    November 2, 2010

    I had been thinking about getting one of this gizmos.$99 is a very good price, but how much for the membership after the 4 months trial expires?
    And yeah, JackSh*t uses one too, but he developed a.. err.. rather unhealthy relationship with coach Jen if you ask me LMAO

    Nadine

    November 3, 2010

    Let me preface by saying I wear a HRM when I exercise – I like to know how many calories I burn during a workout — or how one workout compares to another. I wear a Garmin when I run to monitor my pace and distance. I am a numbers girl in a lot of ways. As much as I like the ‘idea’ of tracking activity all.day.long, I find myself kind of put off by the idea that a 3 hour period of inactivity on a given day would be of concern for a person who is otherwise healthy and very active. I understand that the idea is to look for overall trends, but even still…what kind of standards are we setting for ourselves to be in *constant* motion? The notion that running a household, a business, chasing after a child and training for a marathon would still not be *enough* is distressing to me. I also think there is a *huge* risk of getting sucked in to a numbers obsession using products like these.

    roni

    November 3, 2010

    Nadine – I totally hear you but if you were doing all the things you listed you wouldn’t be showing up as inactive. That’s the point. The only time my charts were inactive were when I was literally sitting at my desk for hours or watching TV. Everything else registered. And it was “enough.” You set your personal goals along with your coach.

    I don’t think the intent of the program is to wear it forever. I wouldn’t wanted to pay for it forever. Actually I’m not even wearing mine anymore. The point (for me was) to identify times I could benefit from taking a break and walking at lunch or using the stairs instead of the elevator. Once you make the realizations the device has served it’s purpose. I wouldn’t want to pay a monthly fee forever just for some device to tell me how much I’m moving. I should know that.

    Anyone can get obsessed with anything, we know this. Points, calories, miles run, calories burned it’s all how you approach it. This device is no different.

    roni

    November 3, 2010

    Reinaldo – Not sure how much it costs after the first 4 months. I will check with the company.

    Jan

    November 3, 2010

    I use a Fitbit which is very similar. It charts my activity levels and calories burned per day (actually breaks it down to every 5 minutes). The only difference I can see is Fitbit doesn’t offer the personal coaches. It has been very motivating to me. If I haven’t moved enough during the day I will start marching in front of the tv to get my step count/calories burned numbers up.

    jessica

    November 3, 2010

    I was so excited to see this review pop up in my feed reader! My brother works for PHilips as the product manager of the DirectLife and I LOVE mine! Jen is my coach too and she’s great!

    Tabitha @ Just Weighing In

    November 3, 2010

    I’ve used a pedometer which isn’t quite the same thing, but the concept is similar. And it’s very motivating too – there’s something about being able to see how many steps you’ve walked throughout the day that can be very motivating.

    workout mommy

    November 3, 2010

    oh, I love fitness gadgets! This one is going on my christmas list!! :)

    Kate

    November 3, 2010

    This looks really cool. I have a desk job and am in the office 10+ hrs a day. I think it would be fun to get some data to help with how to work more activity into my day (outside of dedicated “work out” time).

    Tracey

    November 3, 2010

    Hi Roni – Thanks for reviewing this little device. I bought the Gruve for my husband and it was really motivating for him. However, the Gruve kept falling off and eventually he lost it.

    The Phillips device looks like something that would be great for him to try since he can justs slip it in his pocket.

    Kathy

    November 3, 2010

    I work for Philips and I have had a directlife for close to a year now. I have not really used the coaching. But it does make me more apt to work out. Although in the past month I lost it and they are going to send me a new one, I went through some surgery and just haven’t gotten back on the “horse” again with working out. really need to!

    Kathleen @LIveStartled

    November 8, 2010

    I previewed the DirectLife for my website (do stop over) and also found it helpful. With being a writing teacher and online tutor, I sit a lot at the computer. I have taken the dog for a walk, gone up and down the stairs, and emptied the dishwasher, all in the name of getting green dots!

    Drbarbie

    November 16, 2010

    I was chosen to part of a spotlight group to use the Directlife through Peer Trainer. I have been using it more more than 3 months and really enjoy the type of data it provides. I am a competative person and was very motivated to be rank #1 on my team. I even kept up with it while on a cruise. I am very active but work in an office and sit behind a desk. I would recommend the device to anyone who is interested in increasing their activity level.

    teachpamela

    April 15, 2014

    I tried to buy one online for my son and it says out of stock. Any ideas on how long it will take to get them in? I would hate to buy another device and then have this one come in.