Fitbit obsession is more common than we think. Do we really need 10000 steps a day or should we be prioritizing movement over a number goal? I’m sharing my personal experience and why I decided to break up with my Fitbit.
I broke up with my Fitbit a little less than a year ago. It had been a long time coming.
You see, I come from a family full of addiction.
Addiction is real and doesn’t always look how you’d expect it to. There are the addictions most people think of like alcohol or drugs, but there are other types of addiction too like perfectionism, exercise or work addiction — aka workaholics. Anything can become an addiction if you are thinking about it more than you should or giving it too high of a priority in your life. Addictions are a lot like idols.
I have always been a perfectionist and very competitive, too. When I start something, I have to be the best. When I got my Fitbit, it was no different. It was all fun and games until about 6 months in.
Everything was normal at first. I’d feel accomplished when I felt my wrist vibrate letting me know I hit my goal of 10000 steps for the day,
but then I read somewhere how 10000 steps really wasn’t THAT great of a number
so I’d adjust my goal to 15000 steps a day. Suddenly 15000 wasn’t enough either because you could add your “friends” on the Fitbit app and I’d see people averaging 18000, 20000 and even 30000+ steps a day.
The competitive side of me started coming out and I wanted to be up there, too. If “Sally” and “Tom” could average 25000 steps per day then darn it so could I!
Side note: sally and tom were probably training for a marathon cuz thats just cray.
This is when things started getting weird.
I found myself doing strange things like taking bizarre walking routes to get where I needed to go to get more steps in, or getting worried that my steps weren’t counting while I was shopping because I was pushing a grocery cart and my wrist wasn’t doing the proper movement to let the Fitbit recognize I was walking. Steps were consuming my mind (!!)
Fitbit also has a feature where it vibrates on your wrist when you haven’t gotten your 250 steps for the hour. It will buzz and then say something goofy like “It’s step o’ clock!”
SHUT UP FITBIT.
I’d be completely immersed in a task, making huge strides on a project and then BOOM — It’s step o’ clock! I’d freak out and have to get my 250 steps fast before the hour was up. My focus would disappear and my mind would get stuck on how many steps I hadn’t taken that day.
The weird habits only got worse and I started altering my workouts around this stupid fitness tracker. I knew how many female weight training benefits there were, and the importance of switching up my workout routine, yet everyday I’d sacrifice variety to make sure my workout “counted” that day.
Things were getting ridiculous.
I really loved a circuit class I was taking at Lifetime Fitness. I made a friend at the gym and we’d see each other every Tuesday. This was important because my boyfriend at the time (now husband) was traveling a lot, so meeting up with friends each week was super important!
This circuit class included both weights and getting your heart rate up (cardio) — but that kind of cardio didn’t count in my mind. I would walk out of the class and see I got 2000-3000 steps in the hour and that’s all that mattered to me. I knew if I had stuck to my elliptical or treadmill I would have gotten around 8000-9000 steps so none of the other (MANY) benefits of the fitness class mattered
The thought patterns continued and the Fitbit obsession only worsened. I refused to take my Fitbit off. Heaven forbid when the light would flash “battery low” and my charger wasn’t around!? It was as if the steps I took that day didn’t count unless they were logged properly by this tracker.
I was essentially a slave to a tiny electronic wristband that — NEWS FLASH — wasn’t even accurate!
I averaged around 22000 steps per day for about 9 months and eventually just couldn’t keep up — I didn’t want to!
The affects the Fitbit had on my mental health far outweighed any of the pros it was having on my physical health… and I would also argue that it actually harmed my physical health, too. I mean, I was obsessing over 10000 steps and overworking my body to get over 2x the recommended amount!
I eventually set my Fitbit to private by deleting all of my friends and changing my personal settings. I thought if I didn’t see what my friends were getting, I wouldn’t be as Fitbit obsessed. This didn’t work because I would still compete with myself. I knew I could average 22000 steps per day, so I’d still get bent out of shape when I “only” got 16000 steps a day.
Yes, I realize this sounds crazy — but it was real life!
I woke up one day, about a month after having it on “private mode” and just decided to not wear it to work. I put it in my sock drawer and headed out for the morning.
IT WAS SO FREEING.
No “step o clocks”.
No reminders making me feel lazy or like my health was in harm.
I eventually sold my Fitbit online for $50. I understand the concept of fitness trackers and think they’re GREAT for some people. They’re just not for me. I know I have an addictive, competitive personality type, so I need to stay far, FAR away from them.
I workout regularly, eat healthy and have learned the art of living intuitively.
Living intuitively means listening to my body. Does my body need rest? Does my body want to practice yoga today? Lift weights? Go for a run?
IT WILL TELL YOU!
Our bodies are miraculous things. We really should treat them with more respect, love and care. I talk a lot about this in my post: Practicing Self-Love and Knowing Your Worth. I’ve learned to give myself grace and not push myself to the limit. I’ve learned that some days my body needs to sit and work all day and other days my body is craving fresh air and a long walk.
Working out is just as much mental as it is physical. Find a workout you love and make it something you look forward to.
Prioritize movement instead of working out or hitting 10000 steps in a day.
But go easy on yourself. You’re doing the best you can.
Are you Fitbit obsessed or having trouble living intuitively? Shoot me a DM on instagram and let me help! I love hearing from you all. xx