A little while ago I wrote about what has been keeping me motivated these days. When I looked back at the blog post recently, I realized that I left out something that is probably the most motivating factor in my daily life – my Fitbit.
Many moons ago when the Fitbit first hit the scene I was not really into it. I had done wellness challenges at work before and used a pedometer and did not feel that it motivated me anymore than not having one. A lot of people around me were jumping on the Fitbit train – still I did not take the bait. Then, I wanted to get serious about trying to lose weight for the 1000th time – I also received a gift card for my Amazon for my birthday. I took the Fitbit plunge and bought myself a Fitbit One. It was so tiny and discrete on most days I did not even remember that I had it on. I actually wore it in my bra so that it wouldn’t annoy me on my pants.
In the beginning of wearing it religiously, I started to understand why people were in love with their Fitbit. That little contraption kept me honest with myself and helped to push me a little bit here and there when I needed it. When I started the program to receive bariatric surgery, the Fitbit became more important to my daily activity. I wanted to make sure that I was getting my steps in and that I was moving as much as possible. My goal was to make that cute little flower grow on the Fitbit One. I have to say it was a fun challenge. On the day of my surgery – when I finally got into my room and could get up and walk around…I clipped that sucker to my hospital gown and wore it while I was doing my laps.
I was really into having it on and referring to it throughout the day. All of that came to an end when after I had run a 4 miler race in town – I realized it had fallen off. This was like a terrible feeling. I was so bummed…I felt that I had lost my motivation to keep moving. The logical (but very small) part of my brain knew that it wouldn’t make much a difference not to have one. I could just keep doing what I was doing – running and exercising. I would still be doing it even if my Fitbit was not recording my every move. However…. I quickly realized that this would NOT work for me. I needed the device to keep me on track and help me to be accountable. After a brief breakdown – I ordered myself a new Fitbit and even upgraded to a Charge HR
At first I wasn’t sure about the upgrade. I was not used to wearing something on my wrist that wasn’t a bracelet. It took a little bit to get used to but after about a week I really began to enjoy having it. The upgrade included a lot more information on my Fitbit dash board. I was able to keep track of my daily exercise and the added bonus of knowing my heart rate!! Another new feature that I got right on board with was participating in challenges. Competing with other friends connected through the Fitbit keeps me on my toes. I love the competitions – it’s fun to try to keep up with everyone and it really keeps me on my toes. One particular feature that I really like is that is tracks your steps per hour. The Fitbit offers a challenge to more 250 steps per hour between 9am and 6pm – basically when your at work. This really keeps me moving throughout the day. I hardly ever sit during the day at school – just for lunch!! I love it though, I just keeps moving!! I find it especially challenging on the weekends – when I tend to want to be extremely lazy and not move at all. I actually find it more rewarding to hit the 9 to 5 challenge on the weekends than during the week.
I loved having the newer Fitbit while I was running this spring and summer. It really helped me to keep track of how many miles I had gone. I also thought it was super helpful in keeping me on track in my training to run in races. I could push myself and set some goals for where I wanted to be in terms of running. Since I had no idea what I was actually doing – it sort of gave me a starting point. I still don’t really know what I’m doing when it comes to running – but I feel like having the Fitbit is keeping track of my progress.
Now, I have read the articles and seen the news reports about how some of these devices are inaccurate and in some cases even cause people to gain weight. I, however, do not really pay too much attention to them. I mean, obviously, I do not want to use a device that might harm or hurt me – but I don’t think the Fitbit is capable of that. The inaccuracies come in the heart rate and the distance. I am not really worried if either of these are off (in or out of my favor). If I want to get an accurate heart rate – I’ll pop into the school nurse or my doctors office. As far as distance is concerned – I always figured that it was plus or minus a few anyway. Technology is what it is. Somedays it is right on the mark other days it isn’t. I take it all with a grain of sand.
The part about people using these devices and gaining weight – did interest me a bit. You can see/read the article here. Essentially the gist of it is – that some people who use the Fitbit actually gain wait because the calorie counter is telling them to eat too many calories. I’ve read other articles where people who wear a step counting device feel like since they have reached their step goal they can indulge in something – typically food. Now me personally, I don’t use the calorie or even weight feature on my Fitbit. I keep track of my calories and what I eat on my own. I also don’t think that just because I reached my step goal that I should be able to eat a hot fudge sundae with no consequences. Moderation on your indulgences is key. Any amount of moving is good for you – it feels good to have confirmation that you are doing something. If you are hitting the 5,000 step mark – make it is a goal to keep increasing.
I am a firm believer in different strokes for different folks! The Fitbit or other brands of high tech pedometers out there are not for everyone – but they are for me! I was just noticing on the Fitbit website that they are not offering the Charge HR – they have the Charge 2. This product looks bigger than mine and offers some new fancy features. Perhaps when the time comes I will make another upgrade – for now I am satisfied with my old Fitbit Charge HR. I find that it has been helping me on my journey and I’m glad that I invested in one. Here is a picture of what an average week for me…I’m pretty proud of everyone of those steps…even if they aren’t 100% legit!! Keep on walking in the free world, folks!!