Fitbit: One Tracker to Rule Them All

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In November 2013, I embarked upon a magical journey to a previously unexplored area of my personal fitness – step tracking. Having witnessed some really positive results from a friend who lost a bunch of weight combining a Fitbit Tracker integrated with MyFitnessPal, I decided that I should get one of these nifty devices. My friend has the Fitbit One, and when he demonstrated that you “grow a flower” when you’re very active, naturally I was sold. I, too, decided the Fitbit One was the way to go, and ordered one for a bargain $80 on Ebay.

Fitbit Display

While there are a few different Fitbit options, the Fitbit One works for me for a lot of different reasons. First, I am not a jewelry person. I can’t even spell it right I wear it so infrequently (thanks, spellchecker!), and when I do wear it, I tend to fidget it with it a bit like an obsessive nutcase.  A wristband would just make me more mental than I already am, so the Force and the Flex were out. The Zip doesn’t track sleep or flights of stairs, so the One was really the best tracker for me. I’ve yet to use the sleep tracking functionality of the Fitbit, as you have to slip the One into a special wristband and wear it to bed, and although we’ve already covered that things like that drive me nuts, allow me to paint you a clearer visual picture: Oh look, it’s me, probably around the ripe young age of 21, coming home from a drunken fraternity/sorority bender, managing a small win by using the toilet correctly, but the whole time plagued that I can’t get the cuff bracelet off my wrist. This situation devolved into me slumped on the floor of the bathroom stall frantically picking at the clasp and mentally freaking out, all thumbs from too many Busch Lights. Luckily my roommate was always very helpful, not only in opening the kitchen with her set of president’s keys for drunken late night mini corn dog and taquito fests, but also in jewelry removal. Seriously, the thought of having to wear a bracelet to bed – first world horror. That being said, I am curious about my sleep patterns.

But back to the Fitbit – ah, this thing rocks! It counts all my steps, and you know what earns you steps? Mmmhmm, yes, walking, BUT also step-tapping and step-kicking while you’re drying your hair in the bathroom! And walking in place like a weirdo while you’re talking to your co-workers! And making up dance moves while in your underwear in the privacy of your bedroom!

Fit Bit One Tracker

Can’t hit 10K steps lounging on the couch watching The Real Housewives

The Fitbit syncs with your computer and your smartphone (unless you’re like me and you’ve got a very old smartphone), and provides you with a sweet dashboard to track your activity. The Fitbit One tracks steps/total distance, total calories burned and flights of stairs climbed. It also knows when you’re very active (i.e. dancing like a crazy person in your undies), or just lightly active (weirding out your coworkers by marching in place). On the dashboard, you can add friends who also have Fitbits and see where you stand in the step race. Fitbit gives you a goal of 10K steps a day (you can change your settings at any time), and as of February 4, 2014, I’ve hit that goal every single day. Hitting that takes some work – 10K steps for me is roughly 4.5 miles, and you can’t really achieve that lounging on the couch all day. You’ve got to get up and bounce around, circle the conference room table a few times every hour at work, walk a mile and half in negative temperatures with frostbitten thighs, do some Leslie Sansone Youtube walking videos, etc… Basically, my new motto is “I’ll do anything for a step”, which is slightly more fitness-ly empowering than “I’ll do anything for a donut.”

Fitbit Dashboard

Fitbit Dashboard

Along with accurately tracking your steps, you can integrate Fitbit data into other apps, which is very helpful. I did a very scary thing when I got the Fitbit – I went off WeightWatchers, a program/lifestyle I’ve been living since 2007. Don’t worry, I still PAY for Weight Watchers Online because I’m an idiot, but I’ve been using the Fitbit to integrate with MyFitnessPal to count calories and shed some lbs. The Fitbit syncs up and tells MyFitnessPal how many extra calories you’ve earned (i.e. how many extra calories you can EAT!), and that has been super exciting and awesome because it’s science and food, my first two loves in life (except that first one). I have to admit, calorie counting is going a little bit slower than Weight Watchers did, but things are moving in the right direction. I’ve lost 6 pounds since the end of January, and am hoping I can up that when meteorological spring finally catches up with the date on the calendar. I’ve actually only had a chance to run with the Fitbit once outdoors since November. You know, cause I basically looked like this everyday of this polar vortex-y winter:

Commuter in Chicago Winter Weather


So here’s hoping I can continue to hit my 10K step goal everyday, and I’ll hit you back with another post on the logistics of using My Fitness Pal with Fitbit integration. Uh…someday. But, for right now, I can tell you that I LOVE my Fitbit, and can’t really imagine life without it. It is very motivating for increasing your daily activity, aka – “growing your flower.”

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