My FitBit birthday – What happens when you use a FitBit for a year?

It’s my FitBit birthday – a year to the day since I started using the daily fitness tracker to monitor my every day activity. And here are the scores on the doors:

 

 

fitbit stats

 

Over 5 million steps! Over two thousand miles! If I had done all that in a straight line then I would have been in Russia by now. And if you’re wondering what that massive spike in the middle is, you can pretty much sum that up in two words: Disneyland Paris. Take comfy shoes is my advice.

Here’s the beginner’s guide to FitBit I wrote which has plenty of tips for getting in your daily step total. I’ve only missed the daily 10,000 step goal about 5 times across the year, and since June I’ve been doing 12,000 a day and aiming for 100,000 steps across a 7 day week.

fitbit does it work


I really don’t understand it when I see people whining on social media about how hard it is to hit 10,000 steps in a day. You don’t need to get childcare or leave the house or have a lot of space; all you have to do is move. It’s not that hard at all. Stick on a YouTube video, march on the spot or step side to side and off you go. Your family may judge you as being temporarily insane but sanity is quite overrated anyway. The upside is that you get to watch more movies at the same time – this is why my total number of films watched in 2015 was higher than it’s ever been (103, fact fans).

One interesting thing to note is that the FitBit I’ve got on my wrist today is not the one I started with last year. In fact, I’m on to my third one since the previous two literally fell apart. FitBit customer service were very quick to respond and both times couriered out a replacement to me within a couple of days, but it’s still disappointing that the band itself isn’t more sturdy. 

Partly because of that, I’ve stopped wearing it at night. The sleep tracking function is interesting, especially when you see the hard data confirming that yes, you really did have a crap night’s sleep. However, an update of the FitBit Charge last year means that the clock face lights up when you raise your arm. This is very handy during the day, but terrible at night when it’s like a mini torch lighting up every time you roll over in bed. Between that and the two FitBits falling apart, I figure it’s best not worn all night.

Physically, the main change has been that I lost about 15lbs without dieting and with stepping as my only behaviour change, though I then put a chunk of that back on over the Christmas season. Turns out booze and Christmas cake aren’t part of your five a day. Who knew? Still, I’m now about 8lb down on last year. Better off than on I guess.

So all in all, I would say that a FitBit is great for monitoring your activity levels and giving a virtual boot up the backside to get you moving more. But it won’t do it for you. If you are the sort of person who sees that they’ve only done about 3,000 steps by 6pm and just shrugs and sits on the sofa for the rest of the night, it’s not going to help. If, on the other hand, you then put some music on and start stepping until you get to 10,000 and feel that satisfying buzz on your wrist, then FitBit is right up your street. Just remember to rinse and repeat every day, forever.

 

  • That is really interesting to read about. I have a running watch that tells me off if I sit still too long, which makes a difference, but I like the step counting idea too. We did Disney too this year, blimey we walked miles – you proved it too!

    • Thank you Penny. I was actually pacing round like a loon outside the deserted Hotel Cheyenne at nearly midnight trying to hit 30,000 steps for the day. No way was I going to bed at 29,800 steps, that sort of numerical incompleteness makes my teeth itch. Disney parks should come with a health warning.

  • I’m definitely the wrong kind of fitbit user but I’m going to make a change to that this year!

    • Go for it Alice. Connect up with some people and do some weekly challenges as they are a great way to get motivated.

  • Penny Plain Fit

    Your average a day is about 14000 steps, which is ever better than the recommended. Great job! Very curious now to go and see my stats 😀

    • Good spot Penny – it works out like that since I started aiming to do 100,000 across a week, that works out at 14,000 per day. But then most of the time I do 12,000 most days then make more of an effort to catch up on days 6 and 7 of the week. I don’t think I could manage 14,000 every single day. Like today I’m ill and not going out so I’ll be lucky to get to 12,000 with the help of a lot of marching on the spot.

  • Kate Sutton

    Oooh that’s really interesting. I loved my Fitbit, and then the band broke, and I bought a replacement on eBay which, of course, didn’t fit and so on … I’ve recently found mine again. And then promptly lost it. But well done, that’s some good stepping right there!

    • They just don’t seem to make the bands sturdy enough. Maybe they are counting on a lot of people only using them for a little while. The button fell off one of mine too, and that seems to be a very common problem.

      Do join me in some stepping if you find yours again!

  • I’m obsessed with my Fitbit. It’s only a Flex, which is good enough for me as I don’t really care about all the bells and whistles and I like something that’s so small I forget about it. I’ve only had it for a couple of months, but I really enjoy the gamification aspect it brings to diet and exercise.

    You’re so right that the device won’t do it for you, though – I’ve taken some conscious steps (as it were) to improve my activity levels and diet since the start of the year, and any weight loss or fitness gains are directly attributable to that, not a magical device. But it’s a great way of monitoring that I’m meeting that 10,000 steps/30 active minutes daily goal.

    Lis / last year’s girl x

  • newmummykate

    Really interested to read this – particularly when I saw that your band has broken a couple of times. Mine has broken 5 times and they’ve recently upgraded me to an Alta. So far, so good and the actual straps can be changed, which can only be a good thing as far as I’m concerned! Well done on your loss 🙂

    • I like the sound of that Alta. My third one is lasting slightly longer, mainly because I’ve stopped wearing it at night. I can see it fraying, especially when it gets a bit sweaty but really they should be designed to cope with that.