Unfit Fitbit

The idea of me having a Fitbit still generally amuses me. If I'm exercising then I'm usually on the bike, but most other activity is limited to the repetitive walking too and from my car, the bathroom, or bed.

Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash
I'm terrible at being fit.

But it was the unforeseen effects of having the Fitbit that really got me. I've mooted it before when talking about my sleep, and recently I've noticed other people picking up on it.

Let's just say it straight... Fitbits piss you off.

Originally I got mine so that I could gauge my sleeping patterns. Basically I wanted to confirm what I thought I knew to be fact.

For months, a horrible and unnecessary amount of months, I wasn't sleep properly. (I'll put links to my posts about that at the bottom.) But no one would believe me. I was going to bed anywhere from 8pm to midnight and I was getting up between 4 and 6. That's plenty of sleep people would say. But you know it's not, there's that dragging, heavy feeling inside you of exhaustion.

In the beginning, the Fitbit gave me some joy. After all, it was confirming what I thought. I was tossing and turning so much, and waking up in the process, that I was barely getting half of a normal night's sleep. And now I'd got some evidence I could rub in people's faces... I would like to say that I was above such behaviour... but I really wasn't.

There would be days when I was out walking round Bristol or London and feeling the bracelet buzz to tell me I'd reached 10,000 steps would bring a smile to my face. But those moments were few and far between because I spend most of my time sitting at a desk or commuting in a vehicle.

Here's the real kicker for me though... once I'd discovered and remedied some issues about my sleep I finally found that I was feeling a little better. I wasn't quite as tired anymore. (I'm still tired, but it was no longer making me want to cry at the thought of leaving the house.) But where the Fitbit has been proving me right, it was now insisting on trying to prove me wrong.

My sleep had changed in one major way, I wasn't waking up when I was restless. Often when I'd wake up I'd just lay there, not moving, staring aimlessly at the ceiling. When I was doing that my arm with the Fitbit on wasn't moving so I'd be showing up as asleep or restless... but now that I wasn't waking up it was doing precisely the same thing.

I'd gone from loving the fact I wasn't imagining that sleep was an issue to hating that daily readout with every fibre of my being. The inaccuracy I'd been able to deal with before was now actually making me annoyed.

Sometimes technology isn't the answer. And after a few months of umming and erring, I ditched my Fitbit. It's currently sat on my bedside table gathering dust.

Honestly, it's the best thing I could have done. No more waking up in the morning and thinking "Well, I feel okay, but let's see what the Fitbit says." No more feeling that hard sigh when I see I had under three hours sleep. Without my Fitbit I'm waking up and not even thinking about it. My first reaction is either "it's early, I can sleep for another 30 minutes" or "let's do this thing" (that last one isn't the statement with the exclamation mark, it is very much a struggle).

I'm now not starting my day being annoyed, at least no more than the usual amount of annoyed that I am on a weekday before work.

All of this isn't even taking into consideration the anxiety and annoyance of using the Fitbit as a pedometer.

Generally I don't have an addictive personality, You may be wondering what that has to do with this... I have friends who get to 9,600 steps and they realise that they're not going to hit 10,000 in the natural course of their evening... so they go walk round the garden or round the block. Which is fine, everyone is different, but for those that suffer from anxiety how is this impacting their lives? Is the stress of not reaching that arbitrary target doing more harm than good?

For me, being just shy of targets wasn't a big deal, annoying yes, but I'd get over it as soon as I got into bed. But in this competitive time where you can link with friends and win for the most steps in a day in your group we're left with these decisions to make, decisions to fret over.

We might be helping our bodies, but are we helping our minds?



If you want to take a look at my posts on sleeping issue here are the links:

8 Things For A Better Night's Sleep

The Simplest Solution To Sleep

Sleep tight.

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