Newly Purchased Fitbit: The Quantified, Lazy Self

On Saturday, while we were out and about… Liz and I stopped and purchased Fitbits for ourselves. She was tempted to go with the slightly larger “Charge” version, as it also counts stair steps… but ultimately decided that it was too large for her wrists.

At the store, there was no way to try one on… so we ended up having to purchase the thing, and opened it right at the counter to discover the fit was bad. And then immediately returned it. Silly, but that’s the way it goes I guess.

We both ended up choosing the Flex model (which is hilarious to me still, as that was once my nickname at a job I had back in 2000). I got one in black, and Liz of course got an extra color band so that hers could be teal.

We’re still learning a lot about what this device can do – but primarily, it helps to track movement. It counts the number of “steps” you take in a given day, lets you know how close you are to your target goal (I think the default number of steps per day is 10,000).

The device is worn on the wrist like a bracelet, and quietly tracks your movement as you go about your day. I believe the device is waterproof, but I still take it off to shower – but have gotten into the habit of keeping it on most of the time.

The Fitbit comes with a small USB adapter that plugs into your computer – and when your device gets near your computer, it automatically updates. Additionally, you can also download the Fitbit app onto your mobile device, and it can update when it’s close to your phone as well.

You can view your stats on your computer, or on your mobile app. And you can also view states on the fitbit website at an computer, at any time.

It can also track your sleep, but it requires a bit more input in that regard. You have to tell the app/website when you went to bed and when you woke up. And using those times, the Fitbit will tell you how long it took you to fall asleep, how restless you were in the night, and how many times you may have woken up throughout the evening.

There’s also a food/water component, but I haven’t yet started to use that just yet. Again, the device can’t really track those things… so it requires more of a manual/dedicated input.

Liz and I plan on resuming our jogging soon (which I am honestly dreading). But we bought these devices to help track our progress, and to better track our eating habits. I also, god help me, bought new workout clothes (as mine are still buried in a box somewhere, which I was unable to find despite several attempts).

So get ready for more couch to 5k complaining from me. I have yet to find the joy and “fun” with running, as I mostly tend to just get annoyed/angry during the process. But perhaps this is the strategy with the Fitbit – to have added in a financial investment that locks me into a healthier lifestyle, whether I want it or not.

As a side note: Fitbit is perhaps the most recognized product for what’s come to be known as the quantified self. There are tons of other products out there now that do similar tracking: running apps, biking apps, food and calorie counters, and so on. And the biggest thing is, is that the more data you provide… the more useful the results.

With more and more devices being connected to us, and more and more of our data becoming available (to ourselves and others)… things are really going to get interesting in the next few years. I wonder what all this technology will say about us: both metaphorically and quite literally.

Privacy and MagicBands: Disney and the Meat Space Data Race
Metromile: Tracking Your Car’s Data, and the Advent of Per-Mile Insurance
The Mathematics of Murder: Autonomous Robots and Choosing Who to Kill
The Quantified Agency: Measuring the Inconsequential, Daily

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I personally love my FitBit, but like you, I doubt the waterproof claim. I target three things with my tracking: steps, miles (5), active minutes (60). It gives me a daily goal, which I love, and has resulted in Josh and I taking more evening walks if I see that my steps are going to be short. It gets us out of the house, unplugged (mostly), and having really great conversations. I like tracking my sleep as well, because I’ve realized that I can live quite well on four solid hours of sleep.

    welcome to the FitBit cult :) We are excited to have you!

    Meg Reply

    • I definitely enjoy the measurement angle. Although I am transitioning slowly into this newer lifestyle, as by just counting steps… it’s led towards me being more aware of what I’m eating (counting calories) and how much water I drink (also starting to track that too).

      I may still be in a denial phase, as I’m finding myself annoyed at having a “limit” on food. But I’m adjusting to it, and finding it’s not… terrible. It’s not great, but it’s also not terrible.

      I do wish the food tracking aspect was better, but I’m sure that’s coming eventually.

      I haven’t really added anyone else yet to my group, beyond Liz. I think I need to get more fully into the whole process, before I’m ready for that aspect of it. As of right now, I think data from others would be more of a deterrent versus a motivator.

      Soon though, once this tracking thing becomes more normal and more of a habit.

      avoision Reply

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