In January 2015 I started to take my fitness much more seriously. As I mentioned in a previous post, I began with running and soon became a Fitness Blender fan, investing in Power Block dumbbells to add weight. Part of my motivation in the early days was my Fitbit Charge. They say it takes 3 weeks to make something a habit, and having a piece of technology permanently glued to my wrist certainly helped.
My Fitbit counted my steps, recorded my active minutes and measured my sleep. Via the Fitbit app and website, I was able to monitor how many calories I burnt alongside the steps I took. It was quite interesting to see just how far I had walked whilst shopping!
Soon, I began adding what I had eaten, in order to see how many calories I was consuming alongside how many I was burning. It was incredibly satisfying to hit 10,000 steps and it encouraged me to walk and run more. Handily, it also analysed the food I was eating, telling me how many grams of fat, carbs and protein I was eating each day – this was especially useful when I was experimenting with Ketosis, IIFYM and Lean Gains.
Once I had found a set of macros that I felt worked for me, my Fitbit was essential for making sure I hit them.As I had abandoned the running in favour of HIIT cardio and strength training, I wasn’t always hitting the right number of steps, but by logging my active minutes and exercise I was still able to monitor the calories I was burning alongside the food I was eating. Everyday, I would log in to Fitbit and enter the food I was planning to eat, this would ensure that I would hit my macros. I would then not deviate from the plan for love, nor money. I would not want to eat anything unless I could log it and check it.
After a few months, exercise and healthy eating were more than a habit, they were a compulsion. As far as I was concerned, I was doing everything I was supposed to do to look after my body. I looked good, I felt good. I hovered over people who were cooking for me, counting how many mushrooms they had chopped and then rushed off to log it into my Fitbit app. I felt calm as long as my macros were on point and my calories burned were higher than the ones I had eaten. Fitbit kept me on track and in control
Then I hurt my back, and my Fitbit just didn’t understand. I couldn’t exercise, I could barely even walk when I first did it and seeing the calories burned and steps counted permanently in the red was beyond depressing. I felt miserable, fat and out of control. I took it off.
Taking a break from my Fitbit made me realise just how dangerously obsessed I had become with logging my food and exercise. I had always intended to put it back on, but recognising that my healthy habits had become unhealthy, meant that I avoided it. At this point, I had been wearing it for 6 months solid and the wear and tear was showing. The rubber had started to peel away from the face, and the battery which used to last a week, now barely lasted a day. I realised that after 6 months of wear, it had served its purpose. I was now far more aware of what I was eating and had made exercise a key part of my routine. Now I needed to strike a balance with working and having a relationship.
When my back healed, I got back into an exercise regime and tried to eat healthily without weighing and counting and panicking over control. My Fitbit gathered dust beside my bed. When I moved house in order to start a new job and live with my partner, I found it and without giving it a second thought, threw it away.
I would still recommend the Fitbit, or something similar for anyone who needs something to motivate them to move more, or to help them monitor their exercise and reach their goals. However, I have learned that it should be something that helps you rather than something that controls you. If you know that you struggle with body image or disordered eating, I would think carefully before wearing something like this.