Since May 1 (for nearly three weeks), I have been wearing a fitbit flex non-stop. I wear it all day. I wear it in the shower. I wear it to bed. I have taken it off a few times while I am at my computer to charge the battery - but that's it.
I have gotten a few questions about the fitbit on Instagram and I'd like to answer them here.
What's a fitbit?
It's a pedometer that looks like a bracelet that you wear on your non-dominant hand. It tracks steps, miles walked, active minutes and calories burned throughout the day. While you are sleeping, it tracks the number of times you are awake or restless. (I love this feature!) It connects via bluetooth to your computer or your smartphone. (I am not sure exactly what sort of smartphones, but I have an iPhone 4s and it works with that. My mom has an iPhone 4 and it does NOT connect to hers.) There is a free app you can download that syncs with the bracelet and gives you an INSANE amount of data about how you are moving. You can also enter how much water you are drinking (I do this) and what you are eating (I do not do this) onto the computer or the app.
Still have questions? Here is the amazon listing for the flex that I have or you can check out the fitbit website.
Why am I wearing one?
I recently stopped pumping breastmilk for Ellerie. If you've followed for awhile, you've heard me mention that I pumped and bottlefed exclusively from about six weeks on. This was a choice I made for a few reasons and not something I have too much to say about because I am not looking to provide advice or receive feedback. It was a tremendous hassle, but on the whole it worked for us. I am thrilled that I was able to provide Ellerie with breastmilk for 10 months. I am also thrilled that I am done. Because my "attachment" was to the pump not the baby, the only emotion "weaning" resulted in was joy.
The point though (and the reason why I mention all this), is that for the first time in over a year and a half my body belongs to me (and only me!) again. IT'S A GREAT FEELING. I don't have time to go to the gym. I don't want to pay for childcare while I take work-out classes. But I do want to get in better shape. I thought that this might be a great way to be aware of and increase my activity level.
Does it work?
That depends. Yes, I think the fitbit does track steps accurately enough (is it perfect? Probably not, but all that really matters is that it's consistently imperfect). But it's only going to WORK (make you healthier) if you WORK (on making yourself move). If you are motivated by this sort of stuff (goals, data, graphs) then you will flourish with this sort of system. If you are not, you will not.
Example scenario: it's 8:30 PM and according to the app, you've only moved 8,000 steps today and your goal is 10,000. Do you feel discouraged and angry at yourself so you continue watching TV? Or do you feel encouraged and motivated to get up walk around? If you picked the first option, don't get a fitbit; it will bum you out. If you picked the second option, get a fitbit; it will inspire you.
THAT SAID : if you get the fitbit and find that on a normal day you are getting about 4,000 steps, I would recommend lowering your daily goal to 6,000 (you can edit all goals from the "factory settings") and then pushing for those 6,000. No sense setting an un-realistic goal for your lifestyle! You can always up it down the line and any progress is great progress. :)
Has it helped?
When I first bought the fitbit, I was SHOCKED to discover how in-active I actually was. (I thought for sure I'd be hitting 10k without issue.) Turns out on a "normal day" I would probably get about 7,000 steps. Now that I "know" my numbers I am pushing myself to MOVE (mostly by taking longer walks but also by adding running with Paul and the stroller into the mix). The first week I hit 10,000 steps only 3 out of 7 days. The second week and so far this week, I have hit it everyday. If you're a numbers person, I have lost 2 pounds since May 1.
But another strange side effect is that my house is the cleanest it's been since Ellerie was born. Instead of spending my last 15 minutes before heading to bed on the couch scrolling Pinterest, I'm darting from room to room putting away toys, wiping down counters, clearing out closets and taking out the trash. Am I crazy? Oh, for sure. Am I getting my steps in? Absolutely.
From past experience I know that when I want to be healthier counting calories or restricting food is a recipe for failure (or in the case of my junior year of college TOO successful). I've basically ate the same way for the past three years (you can read more about the my switch to better, smarter eating here). Because I'm pretty set in the food arena, increasing my activity level and moving more is a great option for me when I want to feel better physically. This will come as a surprise, but I am totally goal-oriented and LOVE that I can see actual progress in bar-graph form. ;) If you feel similarly motivated, I recommend the fitbit or similar step-counting device.
this post is not sponsored but as I am sure you've guessed, the fitbit link is affiliate, which means if you buy one, I make a small commission.