2 Years with a FitBit and I’m still Fat

by Nicole on February 7, 2019

Over the last 6 months the guys are Mobile Geeks have been getting fit. Casi got a Samsung Gear Fit, Umit a Nokia watch and Mark loves his Apple watch. Slowly and healthily they slowly dropped the pounds (maybe not as much as they would like, and each gaining a few back along the way) however, I have remained the same or even a little heavier with my FitBit.

I’ve had various fitness trackers for years, I’ve found them useful to gauge my activity level. Or as a bad sleeper knowing when I need to prioritize napping to make sure my brain is working properly. Also, I work from home so if I don’t have meetings then it’s possible I take 300 steps in a day around my small Asian apartment. Being able to figure out going on with my body using data is the benefit of wearing a tracker.

But this awareness has not lead to my healthy weight or fitness level. So to be fair, I don’t think I’m fat, I think it’s a good headline. The truth is that I’m medically considered “overweight” and I know that at a high normal weight I feel better and perform better when dealing with life.

I’ve used a Xiaomi, MisFit and an array or random Kickstarter trackers. I found Fitbit to be the most interesting because of the community. My real world friends all over the globe were there.

Somehow I get the feeling I’m not alone…

I could keep in touch and do challenges! My competitive nature would kick in some weeks which made me love the sense of community FitBit brought me.

Let’s take a look at this community. Half of the people in my community were soccer moms. Sure I have other friends, but none of them were on Fitbit.

The way challenges work, the person with the most steps at the end of the week or weekend wins. Someone starts the challenge and you can add up to 10 people. It’s often the same group week after week.

After a few months, I asked my friend who started the challenge what, is one of the people in the group had no legs because their daily step count was shockingly low. My friend works for a division of the Red Cross that helps amputees the perfect prosthesis and jobs. I think you can see where I’m going with this…

When I looked inside FitBit to join a community that would be more in line with my fitness and motivational level, I wasn’t impressed. I found these groups to be a lot of inspirational quotes and not a lot of actual support in keeping me on track.

I noticed when I got serious competing in the FitBit challenges that I had to change the way I worked out. You compete on steps, but what if the activity that you do doesn’t give you any steps. Cycling, rowing, swimming all fitness things I love to do that I stopped doing to become a runner.

I like running, but it’s not my favorite. I do it because of the steps. If you were able to have Fitbit competitions over calories burned then maybe I might a more diverse collection of activities might have kept my interest. I joined a kickboxing class, guess what it didn’t do? Add to my step count but my whole body hurt and felt great!

Did my FitBit care? No! It didn’t validate my exercise choice!

I turn to my tracker for validation on my fitness journey. Removing competition from the equation personal benchmarks aren’t as easy to monitor because the all mighty step remains the benchmark for activity.

The hard truth is that fitness trackers don’t work miracles, they are simply tools to help you benchmark your progress. I can look to lay blame on my FitBit but when the people around me show me how technology has helped them achieve their goals my gaze turns back to FitBit and how I’m still fat.

I haven’t even looked at the food tracking and how every person is different in the number of calories they should consume to lose weight. Guidelines are one thing, but 2019 is the year of personalized healthcare and generic solution hopefully will start to seem outdated.

Sure, I get that looking to the next technology as holding the key while blaming my FitBit shifts the responsibility away from my self. I did call this article “2 Years with a FitBit and I’m still Fat”, clearly I have issues, but I want this article to start a pattern of accountability and I want to find the right technology for me.

Buying a phone today isn’t about picking the best one, it’s about picking the phone that’s right for your needs. Technology has evolved to the point where it isn’t about the tech working, it’s about how it integrates with our individual lifestyle.

For now, I’ve removed my tracker and am just using Google Fit to track my work out activities. Jaime Rivera from PockerNow and I are motivating each other to get 100 heart points a workout and I’m enjoying varying my workouts to get there. Running is still a big part of it, but it’s definitely not the whole picture anymore.

In the month I’ve been tracker free, I do miss the gamification of tracking sleep and the notification that come with period tracking. The hope was not being aware of how bad a sleeper I am would help with my sleep anxiety about not getting enough sleep. However, I think that the shame of being such a bad sleeper by seeing how little sleep I’m getting in black and while means I’m not prioritizing sleep over everything else. To address sleep, I think I’m going to have to start specifically looking at sleep tech. One device doesn’t fit all, and you need to get the right device that fits with your problem or goal. Expecting a fitness tracker to fix that now seems unrealistic.

Fitness trackers paired with proper motivation can lead to success. The rest of the team has proven this. However, I am someone who looks to blame the technology instead of looking inward at personal shortcomings.

I’ve decided to start to document my fitness journey, the Geeks are getting fit and I need to be a part of it.

If you’d like to follow or join our journey check out or use the #GeeksGetFit hashtag.