I’ve had my Fitbit Flex for about six weeks now, including some time off while I waited for a replacement to be sent to me. The replacement has been working great, no worries, and I have about a month of continuous data to look at. The Fitbit app has a way to monitor sleep and water intake, in addition to steps. (It also does other things but I ignore those.) It’s been interesting to see where my perceptions of my activity match reality as recorded by the Fitbit, and where it doesn’t.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Start early:   I have found that if I wait until noon to finish my first 24 oz. tumbler of water, I’m probably not going to get there. If I get to 1 p.m. and I’m only at 3,000 steps, I’m not going to have time to take a walk and I’m definitely going to miss my goal of 10,000 steps. The lesson here is to attack my goals early.
  • Intentionality is key:  If I don’t take a walk, on purpose, of at least 3,000-4,000 steps, I absolutely will not make my goal. Cooking, doing laundry, and straightening up around the house, even combined with a ton of errands, just doesn’t get me to 10,000 steps. Blog-writing definitely doesn’t get me there, either.
  • Outside, not inside:  So I’m back to walking outside, which I used to do religiously, and I’m not going to the gym like I planned and I’m also not walking on the treadmill. The fresh air is wonderful! I’ve missed it and I think the Fitbit drove me to it. I used to sit and do needlework while I listened to Daily Audio Bible in the morning. Now I just grab the headphones and listen to Brian on the paths.
  • Less:  water. I don’t drink as much water AT ALL now that the weather is turning the slightest bit cooler. The app is making me very conscious of low water intake. I think I would only drink about 8-10 oz on the coolest days if I didn’t have this app bugging me.
  • Less: sleep. I found that I feel pretty great on about 6-1/2 hours of sleep consistently. That is less than I thought I would need! Sadly, I often don’t even get that much. I average somewhere around 5 hours and 50 minutes, and that isn’t enough. I can tell a huge difference between 5-3/4 hours and 6-1/2.
  • Exercise for my brain, but eat for my body: I was already pretty active, riding 3-4 days per week and doing Pilates twice a week. During the last five weeks while I’ve had shingles issues that has slowed down, but I’m getting back to normal. I had thought that adding the walking would have made some small shift in my weight or how I feel around my middle. Nothing. Zip. A couple of years ago I had fantastic success when I cut most carbs out of my diet. It was an incredibly boring way to eat, though, and I slowly reverted back to a normal diet and a more normal (soft) body. For me, it’s all about the food. Losing the 5-8 pounds I’d like to shed will mean going back to a boring diet, and I just have to decide which I want more.

I think my Fitbit has been a pretty interesting tool, and I’m glad I’m using it. I’m not going to draw any sweeping conclusions yet, since I’ve been sick for so much of the last few weeks (NOT normal for me). But I also think I’m seeing some interesting trends.

What about you? Do you have a Fitbit, or another tool like this? Has anything surprised you?