Let me start this out by saying this is not a post bashing fitbits or other various fitness trackers but what I learned about myself about my treacherous relationship with my pretty magenta fitbit.
It all started by senior year of college, I dusted off my fitbit that had been in the bottom of one of my drawers for probably 6 months. I had taken a hiatus from the exercise scene for awhile (that story will be to be continued) and was just wanting something to give me a competitive edge. My favorite part of fitbitting was being able to stalk my friends and family to see how many steps they have. I was a waitress at the time so I had a guarantee of more steps based on my work life. When the weather got warm enough I would walk to work which was maybe a mile or so away from my house. This way I knew I could beat my friends and not by just 1,000 steps but by 8,000 a day! I was getting close to 20,000 steps a day, give or take 5,000 if I cycled and walked to work that day or a combination.
Eventually I found myself obsessing over it. Always having to get more steps and wanting to get a higher number than the day before. Around this time I bought my dog, Ryder, so she built more steps in. Having to take her for walks multiple times a day gave me the excuse to keep walking and reaching ridiculous amounts of steps for the day. I would find myself getting angry when I had to drive to work because it was down pouring rain or running around my house at the end of the night to make sure I beat my steps from the day before.
I started to develop a rash from wearing my fitbit, which is relatively common, so I got a replacement one and the obsession continued. Soon after I developed a rash again and that was the end of my time with the fitbit, or so I thought. I then started doing a lot of hiit and interval training, as I was learning more and more about my heart rate I wanted to get a tracker that allowed me to monitor my heart rate. I did my research and purchased a Garmin Vivofit – based on price, accuracy, app capabilities, and my general needs. I started wearing it and only really tracking it for when I was actually working out. Then I started becoming more and more aware of my steps again.
Then I found myself in the same situation I was in before. Constantly checking my steps and trying to get more than I did the day before. None of my friends had a Garmin so I couldn’t compete with anyone but myself. It was a normal “I should walk the dog for an extra 10 minutes today to catch up” thoughts. Until it wasn’t just the “I need more steps”, it was “I can’t believe I didn’t get enough steps, I am so lazy” or “Ugh, what did I do yesterday to not make it. I suck”. Soon it developed into a lot of negative self talk. It wasn’t a fun competition anymore but something I would genuinely become distraught over.
One day I finally took it off and took it off for good and I haven’t looked back. I didn’t need negativity in my life, especially if it was self-driven. Some days you have good days and some days you don’t, but condemning yourself on those bad days doesn’t make it easier to feel any better. You can be your worst enemy and my Fitbit/Garmin was the vehicle to induce that. So for me I needed to free myself and not be controlled by my thoughts that came from a stupid step tracker I wore on my wrist during the day, so I decided to focus on me and how I felt. So take that as you will, but for now I am still team anti-fitbit/garmin/jawbone etc for myself!!