One Step At a Time: Why I love my Fitbit

Sometimes, you need a little motivation to get moving.

June 2014 vs. November 2014
June 2014 vs. November 2014,

I moved to Alberta weighing just over 170lbs and made a commitment to myself to lose weight. I had read about Fitbit online and made the decision to purchase the Fitbit One because I didn’t want a product on my wrist. It was easy to set up and took less than two hours to fully charge. All Fitbit products come with preset goals that you can adjust to your needs, but I decided I was up for a challenge. Everyday, I strived to walk 10,000 steps, five miles, 10 sets of stairs, have 30 active minutes and burn a set number of calories. I did not meet my goals everyday, but I seemed to always meet my step goal walking to and from work. My Fitbit pushed me to move and through eating better and walking more, I was losing weight for the first time.

I lost interest in my Fitbit for a while, which was largely associated with changing jobs and no longer meeting my goal everyday because my routines changed. I was frustrated and gave up on the product, and myself. A Fitbit is not a miracle product; it’s simply a tracking tool for your physical activity that’s stored over time. If you’re a goal oriented individual, the Fitbit may be a good choice for you. With the option to sync all day and receive notifications throughout the day (You’re halfway to your goal! Only 1.865 steps until you reach your goal!) it’s easy to stay motivated. Remember, goals can be adjusted to best suit you; maybe starting at 10,000 steps a day is too much and perhaps five miles is a little bit overwhelming. The Fitbit is all about what’s doing what’s best for you.

fitbit challenges
Challenges screen. Via: https://play.google.com/.

There’s some fun, motivating tools that come with your Fitbit – my favourite being the badges you can earn from daily and lifetime achievements. Badges are earned for steps, stairs and weight loss. I still get excited when I see I’ve unlocked a new one!

Fitbit also has features for you to receive encouragement and challenges from friends. The Goal Day Challenge has every individual competing against themselves to reach their step goal that day. The other competitions have users facing one another to collect the most steps over a period of time. The Daily Showdown takes place over the course of a day, Workweek Hustle is a Monday to Friday challenge and the Weekend Warrior is Saturday to Sunday. These challenges show progress for each member of the group and indicate when someone in the group has made a significant gain, earned a badge or has passed another participating challenge member.

Fitbit users also have the opportunity to sync their data with other healthy living apps, like My Fitness Pal. This feature has made my life easier when it comes to trying to balance my diet and exercise because my Fitbit data accurately portrays the amount of calories I’ve burned during a workout, something My Fitness Pal has been criticized for over compensating users who manually enter their data.

There are only a few downsides I’ve experienced since my first Fitbit purchase. The device measures stairs climbed by using an altimeter (or altitude metre). I live in a climate where the weather gets pretty cold and the air pressure changes frequently, so my stair measurements are not always accurate. In addition to this, on occasion, the Fitbit may count time driving as time you have been working out. Users are able to go in and adjust it, but for 200 to 400 steps it didn’t make a big difference to me. 😉

fitbit1
Fitbit models from left: Zip, One, Flex, Charge, Aria Scale, Charge HR, Surge. Via: http://techcrunch.com.

I’m now on my second Fitbit and have switched to the Fitbit Charge HR. I made the choice to change because I wasn’t consistently wearing the One (oops)! I’d forget it on my pants from the night before, or if I was wearing a dress, I wouldn’t want to clip the device to my bra.

The Fitbit Charge HR is also a heart rate monitor, so things like workout intensity and sleep monitoring are more accurate. If you’re thinking of making the purchase, check out the Fitbit website to see which model best suits your needs and activity level.

At this point, I’ve ben wearing my Fitbit Charge HR for over a month, while challenging my friends in Goal Day and Work Week Hustle challenges. If you’re looking for more friends to join in your Fitbit fun, feel free to add me as a friend. If small goals, and being consistent mean something to you, a Fitbit may just be the tool to help you out.  Remember: Getting healthy starts with just one step.

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