by Ange B
A few weeks or so back I was wondering whether an activity tracker would be a worthwhile purchase. I am generally wary or gadgets and so, when I first heard about these new super-charged pedometers my initial thoughts were that they appeared to be yet another way for people to compete, compare and generally feel they’re not doing ‘enough’.
That was a year ago and at the time I was struggling with both anxiety & fatigue as a result of a mistreated thyroid disorder. Not wanting to set myself up for another failure, I stayed well clear of the gadgets and the hype. A year on (and thankfully, chronic anxiety and fatigue free) I have come around to another line of thinking. Or perhaps, I believe I now possess the tools I need to prevent this little tool taking over my life. These being, an appreciation for my health, love for my strong resilient body, recognition of the (awesome) things I have already achieved, and the acknowledgement that, after years of inactivity due to illness, slowly slowly is the best way (for me) to get “fit” again.
So why a Fitbit? The purchase decision came down to comfort. I really don’t like wearing anything on my wrists, so it had to be light and comfortable and the one I chose is barely noticeable. I really hadn’t thought much beyond the pedometer function of these devices when doing my initial research, though I thought the sleep tracker could be an interesting function.
I have subsequently discovered that the sleep tracker is a fabulous tool. I am still terrified of tired days – days where I wake up with a (seemingly) inexplicable fatigue and the fear that I’ve regressed. I had one of those days recently, and when I consulted my sleep tracker of the 8 hours I had thought I was asleep my ‘Bit registered 2 hours of restlessness throughout the night. Easily accounting for the fatigue the next day and giving me great peace of mind – and the motivation to continue to work on my sleep hygiene to achieve 8 hours= of proper rest.
The other bonus feature is the vibrating alarm. Having to take medication twice daily at specific times I had relied on my phone alarm, but I much prefer the silent reminder buzzing away on my arm. It’s handy too as I’d often miss the phone alarm when it was on silent in my bag or in another room.
Now that I’ve had the ‘Bit for a little while I can say that we’ll be good friends lil ‘Bit and I. What I have realised is that I easily average 12,000 steps per day. This movement, combined with a consistent routine of strength work, swimming and cycling throughout each week will get me to my first set of fitness goals. Most importantly, I’ve realised that the ‘Bit doesn’t care, non-judgemental little machine that it is. It doesn’t care that one set of 2000 steps was to go and get hot chips (because Saturday is hot chips with dinner day), or that, at 9 pm the other night I wandered down to the pub for a drink with a friend (because it was 34 degrees at 9pm and there was no sleeping to be had in that kind of crazy hot weather) it just cares that I walked.
Ange is a health sciences student, public servant, cat owner, avid reader of other people’s blogs, HAES advocate with a 5 year plan to finish a half ironman! She lives in Adelaide in South Australia.
14 thoughts on “To ‘Bit’ or not to ‘Bit’? (Guest Post)”
I love that you shared how the data helps you reframe fatigue. I’ve been leery, at times, of data tracking because I can sometimes obsess about it. Lately data has really helped me reframe experiences. I’ll get a defeatist thought like “nothing’s really changed” then I go to my data and remind myself a great deal has changed.
Yay for data as our friend!
I have been very wary of the data tracking/logging experience too, having had the numbers become an obsession in a past life when I was concurrently dieting and training for Olympic distance triathlons. I guess for me moving beyond need to have a body at an optimum ‘racing weight’ in order to feel I deserved to even be worthy of standing at the start line (I loved Sam & Tracy’s recent posts on this btw) I feel more confident of being able to view the data as a positive representation of my achievements, not a report card of my shortcomings.
Yes!! I have been very wary of the data tracking/logging experience too, having had the numbers become an obsession in a past life when I was concurrently dieting and training for Olympic distance triathlons. I guess for me moving beyond need to have a body at an optimum ‘racing weight’ in order to feel I deserved to even be worthy of standing at the start line (I loved Sam & Tracy’s recent posts on this btw) I feel more confident of being able to view the data as a positive representation of my achievements, not a report card of my shortcomings.
Reblogged this on A Girl, Her Bike, and Their Journey.
I only recently upgraded to a FitBit with the sleep function. I also found out why I felt so fatigued was restless sleep. It’s actually helping me cut myself slack when I don’t feel up for a workout. I may still aim for my step goal for the day, but I don’t beat myself up if I don’t do a focused workout. This girl NEEDS sleep!
Great post! I’ve been wondering what all the hoopla is about and this has almost convinced me of its worth
Interesting, I didn’t realise these things could ‘track’ sleep. Would it work for an infant? We have lots of sleep issues with our lil one and it would be interesting to track her sleep patterns over time to see what’s happening.
Hi Liz, I’m not sure, as I don’t have kids and am not familiar with sleep issues in children either. Also depending of how close you are to the end of your tether, they’re not cheap (though would be cheaper in US than in Aus) so wouldn’t want to say ‘sure give it a try’. Perhaps some other parents have tried this on their little ones?? Might be some info out in the etherweb.
I meant to add – good luck!
Thanks so much for this great post about the Fitbit. I’ve never been drawn to there sorts if devises but I found your post about its merits really Interesting. I hope you move past your hesitation and make it to the starting line at some point soon. And please blog about it! Meanwhile, here’s to moderate weather! We are suffering the cold, you the heat. Why can’t it just always be temperate? 😊
Thanks for sharing. If you are sitting for too long (say at a computer), will Fitbit prompt you to get up and move? I’m looking for something that will remind me to take breaks during the day. I have an app on my computer, but it would be better if I had something on my wrist that knows if I’ve stood up and walked around in the last hour.
Other than setting your alarm for regular intervals mine doesn’t but there may be some out there that do? I’m not sure sorry. But that would be a great tool!
I’ve had a Fitbit One for the past two years or so, and I give a lot of credit to being more active because of it. I set timers on my computer every half hour to get up and do a loop around my floor of the building, and I try to incorporate at least 30 solid minutes of walking each day, more if I can. By the end of the day, I usually hit the 10k mark. Weekends are harder, but if I don’t have social plans (or a long hike that day), you’ll likely find me walking the track at the gym on a Saturday or Sunday evening.
Try the Challenges with your Fitbit friends — they’ve motivated me to push myself when lazy was a more appealing option.
I just got the FitBit One for Christmas and I love it! It really encourages me to keep moving through out the day and I never notice that it is even there! My biggest issue is tyring to not obsess over the numbers! I was always just a little shy of my weight goal and this device helped me acheive my goal finally after years for trying! Love it and highly recommend!
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