Confessions of a Fitbit failure
By Prudence Wade. Published 2020-08-10
Hi, I’m Prudence, and I’m a Fitbit failure.
It feels remarkably freeing to say that. Living in London you feel constantly surrounded by people who manage to go for a 10km jog, down a green smoothie and style their hair all before heading to their high-powered jobs, so for once I’d like to claim my status as a failure amongst this army of perfection.
I’m by no means slamming Fitbits, I can totally understand why people love them, as they can be a great motivation to get active. But for me, I felt slowly strangled by technology and increasingly stressed out as the week wore on.
That’s right – I lasted a mere week with the new Fitbit strapped to my wrist. Here’s what I discovered during my seven days in hell.
It didn’t change my behaviour in any way
Confession time: I didn’t go into my Fitbit experience with any set goals in mind. I imagine most people buy a Fitbit knowing exactly what they want to get out of it, whereas I was naively jumping into the world of fitness wearables without a set plan.
The main bits of information I gleaned from my Fitbit were the amount of steps I’d taken that day, how far I’d travelled, how many calories I’d burned and how I was sleeping.
Not to turn this article into one long #humblebrag, but I had no problem meeting the 10,000 step goal. For me, a Fitbit’s main purpose is to encourage you to walk more and get a bit more active, but if I was already meeting the goal, I had no real reason to go out of my way to get a few more steps in.
As such, my week didn’t really change, other than seeing me sporting clunky new accessory on my wrist.
It threw me into an existential crisis
This got me thinking – what am I actually gaining from wearing this device?
Sure, I now know how far I’ve walked. But what am I going to do with this information? Where does it really mean I am? I’ve logged all these steps – but am I going anywhere important that’s not Tesco?
This sent me down a bit of an existential wormhole – trust a small piece of tech to start making me consider my place in this world.
I actually lost sleep
I’ve never forayed into the world of sleep tracking before, and now I know why – what kind of animal actually wants to know how little they’re sleeping?
To give the Fitbit full credit, it is pretty clever how it tracks how much time you’ve spent in light sleep, deep sleep and REM. This is all very well and good, but all it did was freak me out.
I used to think I went to bed at a totally acceptable time and got enough sleep, yet how was I surviving as a functioning member of society on an average of five hours sleep a night?
I got increasingly obsessed with checking how much I’d slept as soon as I woke up in the morning. It definitely plagued me as I tried to fall asleep at night, eager to get my numbers up. Safe to say my neurosis was not helped by a Fitbit.
I felt judged by a piece of technology
Regardless of how active I may be, this is by no means constant throughout the day. Like lots of other people, my activity is limited to the gym and my commute, with the rest of the day spent sitting down bashing away at a keyboard.
So when I’m in the middle of an assignment and have really got into my groove, the last thing I want is for my wrist to start vibrating like a crazy thing only to judgily tell me that I’ve been sitting on my rear end for too long. Unsurprisingly, I don’t find being instructed by a gadget to go for a walk very motivational at all.
If wearing a Fitbit has encouraged people out there to get fit, more power to them. Unfortunately, this week has taught me that I’m never going to be one of those people.
Now excuse me while I go find a suitably dramatic point from which to hurl the device.