Ditching the Data

When I got home from LA two weeks ago, I ripped off my FitBit.


See ya!

I’d been wearing it nearly nonstop since just before Christmas when I got it as a company gift at work.

That’s 2.5 months longer than I ever thought I’d wear it. I’d seen lots of people tweeting about theirs, and I’d really wanted one and got really lucky that my job gave them out. I thought I’d wear it for a few weeks and move on.

I was great those first few weeks, until the Polar Effing Vortex hit.

With it went my motivation to walk one step further than necessary. Most of my workouts this winter were at Uplift. Amazing workouts, but not much in the way of steps.

I found myself looking at the FitBit app and comparing myself to my friends (and all of you out there who added me!) and focusing on that and the steps I hadn’t taken, rather than the hard class or training session I’d just killed.

I was making myself feel bad for something I didn’t want to do—walk a step further than necessary in the cold. In these five years of blogging, I’d like to think I’ve kept a pretty good perspective on doing what’s right for me rather than doing something because someone else was. Yes, this is just walking, but I was already doing exactly what I wanted to do, and I had zero idea to do anything more.

So, when I came back from LA and knew that I would get very few steps in that day, I peeled it off and it sits in one of my jewelry bowls, for now. Now that it’s starting to get warmer, I may pull it back out, to remind me to walk Bailey a little further, maybe take a quick walk around the block once in a while at work instead of going for that afternoon snack.

I should also note that I used a heart rate monitor for quite a few workouts last year to get a general sense of calorie burn. I think they’re great, and can be great tools to help you towards your goals, but I’m goal-less right now until I’m in the throes of tri training. And since I’m doing it because I need a new challenge that’s not time-based, I’m going to try to use it as just a general guideline, rather than numbers that run my training. And my life. This is also why I have strapped a running watch to my wrist…maybe, twice? since the marathon and have logged very few workouts in DailyMile. It’s kind of liberating! 

Heartbreak Hill Half Update

I got my discount codes for you for the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half and Festival.

If you want to come play, too, here are your codes:

5&10k: blogpreppyrunner5&10

Half: blogpreppyrunnerHalf

Hat Trick: blogpreppyrunnerHat

Tell me your feelings on fitness data. Do you use it all the time, or just when training for things?

Also, a few good reads for you. I read a lot about fitness, obviously, but I usually save the good reads for a weekly roundup at work. I’m going to try to be better at sharing the ones that might not make that cut here:

Fitness Trackers Get Stylish (WSJ) I cannot freaking wait until the Tory Burch collaboration. 

How to Earn/Save Money with FitBit (With a Side of Magic): Of note, if you’re in NYC, you can sync your Duane Reade card w/your FitBit! Elsewhere, you can sync it with Walgreens.

20 Habits that Prove You’re a Group Fitness Weirdo (Rate Your Burn – h/t Kimber): I could easily add, oh, 10 more?

Oil Pulling, Explained (shameless work plug – written by the lovely Christine.)

22 comments on “Ditching the Data

  1. Brandon Bee

    I have not used a fitbit. My wife wants one, and I’ve thought about it, but haven’t done it.
    I do use my phone’s GPS to track my outdoor runs.
    I like logging my runs, just because it appeals to my inner computer geek. I also like using the logs as proof to myself that I really can do this.
    My only real problem with that is that it makes it hard when I run inside. It’s like those runs don’t count, even though I did run them. I’m too lazy to manually track them, so they sort of get forgotten. I do track them on my blog though, so I guess it all works out.

  2. Traci

    I’m right there with you – numbers and data don’t provide much for me in the way of motivation and, consequently, change. Instead, I feel conscientious and inadequate. I think, for some people, it could help and serve as a base guideline, but, for me, I know whether or not
    I’m engaging in activities and ideas that are heatlhy. I don’t need the scale, calorie counts and recorded steps to know whether or not I’m healthy. I’ve got my pants for that.

  3. meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles

    I ditched the Fitbit after reviewing it as well. I lasted maybe two weeks. I think it is great for some people but not for me. I don’t pay attention to calories and really didn’t want to get hung up on steps and feeling the need to constantly move in order to see the numbers go up or feel bad when I wanted to sit down. I kind of felt like using those devices make us like machines – we aren’t.

  4. Katie

    I recently took off my nike fuel band because of the same thing – I started weight training and stopped the many miles I would run – bicep curls don’t count as steps and I stopped reaching my goal. It was a mental thing. Now, I gauge by how much sweat I had going and how many workouts I get in a week. Ditch the data!!!

  5. Becky @ Olives n Wine

    I wore mine non-stop from Black Friday when I purchased it up until my vacation and then it broke, haha. I recently got another one but haven’t really been checking it obsessively like I had been before. I also rarely check out the “friends” tab so I don’t know how others are doing… maybe that’s for the best!

  6. Barb

    The great thing about Chicago is its grid system after the Great Fire. When I take a walk, I just have to count the blocks. 8 blocks = mile.

  7. elizabeth e

    unlike some of the other commenters, i love my fitbit – i’d say i’ve worn it consistently for a little over a year now. it reminds me to be active at work, when it would be so easy to just sit at the computer all day, and to move even on my “rest days.” its definitely a challenge to get in my steps (not so much now that i have a very active dog who goes on lots of walks), but i like it. i’m also still in the “weight loss” process, not maintenance, and that could very well change my opinion of it.

  8. Danielle

    Honestly, I loved my fitbit. Until it broke. It just won’t hold a charge. I got it on Christmas, wore it every day from about the 27th on, and it broke at the beginning of March. I think, just like any newish device, they just haven’t fully worked out the kinks. I keep meaning to ask my mom for the receipt because fitbit offered to replace it, which is great. But once I took it off, I just haven’t felt motivated to get a new one. Technology. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes I’m just ok with getting out and moving and not knowing how many steps I took.

  9. Katie @ Talk Less, Say More

    GOOD FOR YOU! Good for you for doing something you needed to do. I’ve been debating getting a FitBit but you bring up a really good point…I have “friends” on DailyMile & Nike+…maybe that’s enough for my competitive side to stay in check without going overboard.

  10. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats

    I’m such a numbers freak and often fall into the comparison trap so I loved my fitbit but at the same time knew in the back of my mind it wasn’t the best thing for me right now. Luckily God knew better than I: my fitbit accidentally went into the wash and died, then my friend sent me hers because she wasn’t using it and I lost it the first day I wore it… I think it’s a sign.

  11. Liz

    It is interesting that you posted this now because just this weekend I had the urge to completely “unplug” from workout data-tracking apps, or at the very least, make them private. As long as *I* know that I am getting my workouts/training in, why do I need to feel badly when someone else runs further or goes faster? It used to be motivation for me to see that but now it has turned into a burden because all I do is compare myself to my friends. It doesn’t matter that the people who are faster than me are tall, skinny men with different life obligations…I still compare! And I am still afraid that THEY are comparing how much faster they are than me. I know that is totally my own personal issue that I need to get over, but it has made me wonder WHY I feel the need to track all of that data and let others see it, especially now that I find it to be more discouraging than motivating.

  12. Rebecca Jo

    I’m obsessed with my FitBit… & Nike Watch.. & Polar Heart rate monitor…

    to me – it’s just a battle with myself. I never even look at everyone else’s steps on FitBit… its just for me to make me get off my butt & move more. Sitting all day in an office, I’ll leave sometimes after 10 hours with only 1,500 steps … that’s HORRIBLE. At least it makes me want to get up & march in place to a song every now & then 🙂 I’ll take motivation when I can.

  13. Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    Part of me thinks a FitBit (or Jawbone, or whatever) would be really interesting. For a while. Then I’d fall into the comparison trap and that just wouldn’t be healthy for me. I LOVE data, but sometimes fall into the data trap – which is why I stopped counting my calories, it just wasn’t healthy for me.

  14. Ashley

    I want a fitbit CRAZY style but have had a worried little feeling in my head that I would become my own worst nightmare with it . . . everyday becoming a competition with the previous day. Love that you took it off for a bit — all about balance.

  15. Joanna

    I currently use a Garmin watch for running. My sole reason for wearing it is to get an idea of how fast I’m running (which I never knew unless I was in a race situation). I’m not very competitive and I don’t really care about getting faster, so I think it’s been a great tool to see how far I’ve gone and how fast I’ve been going without feeling any pressure surrounding it.

  16. Kristine

    I wear my FitBit but I 1) don’t think it’s accurate – it pisses me off that I can bust my ass in a Pilates or Barre class and it shows like 2 steps. I also don’t think I swing my arms enough when I run because I can run 6 miles and it won’t “buzz” until about 30 minutes later and 2) If you’re clapping (for whatever reason) it thinks you’re putting it to sleep. Then it doesn’t track anything. Anyway, ending rant. I like it because it keeps me aware and reminds me to keep moving, but I dislike it because I don’t think it’s entirely accurate.

  17. Shannon

    I tried out a calorie counting app for a week maybe, until I had a panic attack while cooking turkey meatloaf. Tracking everything I eat is not for me. I did just buy a yoga tracking app, just so I can see how many hours I practice.

  18. joelle @ on a pink typewriter

    I used to think the FitBit was a bit unnecessary (no offense to anyone with one) and didn’t get the popularity, but now I kind of want one… I feel like I’m way less active now that I’ve moved somewhere that I have to drive everywhere, so I could use some more motivation to walk more frequently.

  19. Nicole

    I was in the same boat when I first got the Fitbit. I was obsessive about steps. If I wasn’t going to hit a certain #, I’d walk in place at home or circle around the condo to meet the steps!
    I let it go for about 6 months but now I’m wearing it again. I’m wearing it to compete with the guys at work who all have one and I’m wearing it as a reminder to get up and walk around during the days at work.

  20. Val @ Balancing Val

    Theodora, LOVE this new site!

    I have the same thoughts about fitbit. Its been floating around the interwebs with lots of rave yet obsessive reviews. I was *this* close to buying one and writing it off as market research but something told me to not even go there anymore. Since a garmin and heart rate monitor spun me into my old ways, i did not think this would be any different.

    I also read a lot of research about it emitting electromagnetic radiation through the body! Yep, no.

    PS – Just signed up for a trial at Daily Burn yesterday, so far its great!


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