What Happened When I Ditched My Fitness Tracker for Two Weeks
  • September 28, 2017
  • We were inseparable. I never left the house without her. She was always checking in with me – and I was always checking in with her. She was the first thing I thought of when I woke up each morning and the last thing I thought of before I went to sleep.

    Yes, my Fitbit and I were very close … until “she” broke. A day communicating with customer service, a day or two deciding which Fitbit to get next and a few days waiting for it to arrive resulted in about a week without my partner in crime.

    fitness tracker

    By the time I received my replacement, though, it had me thinking. After reading many mixed reviews of whether or not fitness trackers are beneficial, I wanted to run a little experiment myself. Would doing without a Fitbit cause my habits and behaviors to change? After leaving my replacement in the box for another week, I concluded, yes. Some changes were for better and some were for worse.

    Here’s what I learned about myself from two weeks without my Fitbit:

    I forgot to break up sitting time with regular walks.

    I really, really missed my reminder to get up and walk every ten minutes to the hour. Sometimes, I would settle in with my laptop and not even realize that three hours had passed without me getting up once. I knew I was no longer getting in my 200 steps each hour and I didn’t like it.

    So, I made up for it in other ways.

    To make up for my missed walks to break up the workday, I walked longer when I had the opportunity. Instead of taking the bus or the train, I would walk, because better safe than sorry! In this instance, not knowing my step count seemed like a blessing and a curse. When I wasn’t thinking about it, I was totally forgetting to walk. When I was thinking about it, I was obsessed with reaching that imaginary goal number.

    Mindless snacking was more frequent.

    Although I’m aware that calorie burn count on fitness trackers isn’t always accurate, I do use it as a frame of reference. On my more active days, I am sure to refuel more often throughout the day. On my less active days, I try to stick to my planned meals and to snack less. My calorie burn counter was one of the references I used when deciding what my food intake should be. Instead of taking note of my calorie burn count and considering that I might not need extra snacks after, for instance, a low impact workout, I found myself more prone to mindless snacking.

    I missed the heart rate monitor feature.

    I really, really, really, missed the heart rate monitor as well as the breakdown of my heart rate zones during my workouts. I strive to have a certain number of workouts in each zone each week. Although I have a pretty good idea of what zone I’m in while I’m working out, it’s nice to have official numbers displayed in a graph for me to interpret.

    My fitness tracker has become part of my routine, and I like that.

    What I missed the most about wearing my trusted Fitbit was not having to consciously think about my steps, calorie burn, heart rate, etc. Just like weekly meal prep removes stress from your daily life, my Fitbit has removed stress from my daily life. Whether or not it is 100% accurate, it keeps me moving, informed and motivated.

     

    My new Fitbit arrived at the beginning of the month, and you will rarely find me without it.

    About Ashley McCullough

    Ashley McCullough has been an active advocate of weight lifting, taco eating, city living and not running for as long as she can remember. A lifelong Notre Dame fan, she graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 2012 with a degree in Elementary Education. By day, you can find her organizing objects by color, singing, chanting, dancing around, and reading with her kindergarten class. After the school bell rings, well, not much changes. She continues to do all that. But she also thoroughly enjoys conversing and interacting with adults at group fitness classes and #Sweatworking events. Ashley was born and raised in the suburbs and moved to the city 4 years ago. She never plans to leave… unless she is able to find a beach house on a mountain in a major industrial city on a private island. Then she just might.