I resisted, for so very long. Why did I need a fitness tracker? I work out at least five times a week and walk the dog everyday. I eat relatively healthy. I felt like I was on top of my fitness game, so I needed no help in staying on track. My mind seemed made up, you might think, so what happened?
I tell you what happened. My husband is what happened. He started researching fitness trackers in hopes that he would find one to accommodate his active lifestyle, in most particular, his mountain biking. He spends a decent amount of time on his bike and was curious to see his climbing stats, mileage, gps, heart rate, you name it. Pretty much everything a high-end tracker can do. So, what does any sane, rational 35-year old do? Seethe with envy, that’s what. That is how yours truly ended up in the local Target dropping a couple hundred bucks on the Fitbit Charge HR. I had to have one and the bonus, I got it before my husband. Nanny nanny boo boo. Oh yes, I went there.
This envy led me on a very interesting journey over the next month in which I learned a lot about my actual level of physicality along with some startling insecurities I had lurking in my psyche. Come along, let me show you what I learned.
What I learned about my fitness level was a little shocking, but also great information that I had been missing. I began by meticulously logging my food, almost to an obsessive level. It was eye-opening to learn how many calories I was actually ingesting. While I was momentarily bummed to learn I was eating more than I thought, it helped me get creative about my food. I learned how to scale back and still feel satisfied. I re-learned that I needed to burn some more calories if I wanted that extra slice of pizza. And speaking of pizza, do not and I repeat DO NOT, eat a slice of Costco plain cheese pizza and log it into your Fitbit. Seven-hundred calories and seven-hundred tears later, I learned my lesson.
I also learned that my walks with my dog were not as long as I initially thought. This was also a good wake up call, for which my dog is grateful for. I assumed I was getting a couple miles in, but I was way off. It’s not like I didn’t want to go for long walks, I just assumed I was already doing that. My tracker helped me to get in those long walks, which is not only a good healthy habit for you physically, it’s a mental getaway as well.
Now, I know the above two examples seem like negative realizations, but that wasn’t all that I learned. I learned that I kick butt at climbing floors. I live in a two-story house and have a two-year old so I am constantly going up and down the stairs. I seem to have no problem hitting the recommended 10,000 steps per day. I also routinely went over my goal of a workout five times per week. Part of that is my tracker’s ability to log activities after 15 minutes of activity. Who knew that trip to Costco brought my heart rate up enough to burn calories? I now pride myself on being fast enough in there to get my heart rate up!
And now for the psyche…
The unexpected lessons came from my psyche. As mentioned above, I obsessed over logging my food. While it was good to give me a reality check on my diet, I began to see it as a negative for me. I had to stop logging, because I started to feel bad about myself eventually and I knew it would be a slippery slope. I have improved my eating habits, but I’m less hard on myself now that I’m not logging my food and I’m just fine with that.
I also learned I was crazy-competitive and needed to be humble. Once I found out that I had a number of friends with Fitbits as well, I immediately ‘friended’ them and joined a challenge. I wanted to be on top!! And I wasn’t, not by a long-shot. How could this be? I walk so much. I still never came in first. And boy, did I try.
But, I guess that was my biggest takeaway from my first month with a fitness tracker. It’s not to make you the best athlete, or the thinnest, or the fastest, or the best. It’s to remind you to try. To get up. To move. If we’re not moving or not trying to better ourselves, we will always be losing, but if we at least try or attempt, we always win. Whether in first place or last place, the fact that we got up and did something makes us a winner.
I still wear my Fitbit today and am still happy with what it is teaching me about myself. I love my reminder on my wrist to get up and move and score a win for myself each day.
What about you? Do you use a fitness tracker? What have you learned from it? Let us know in the comments below!