Ode to Fitbit

When I first purchased my Fitbit, I had to explain to people why I was wearing an unattractive piece of plastic jewelry with every outfit I owned, but I think by now everyone has heard of it or one of its competitors. For those who are not as fanatical about exercising as I am, however, the Fitbit is a brand of tracking device that helps people monitor their activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep to achieve healthier lifestyles. And as we have just struck a New Year, it is the perfect time to pretend like exercise and health will be our priorities for the next 12 months. Here is a glimpse into my experience with the Fitbit Flex.

The Flex is one of the simpler models of the Fitbit (I’m thrifty!), so it does not include a heart rate monitor, which — if you want the most accurate assessment calories burned — is something you should pop for. But it has a pedometer and a sleep monitor, and it can sync with other devices to let you know how many calories you’ve burned. It’s waterproof and comes in many colors. I, of course, have pink.

Last Christmas the Fitbit was a gift unto myself, and I wore it religiously for four months. The only time I took it off was to charge it. And then, one day in May as I was preparing to go to sleep, I realized it was missing.

The irony was that I had just confessed my love for Fitbit, and it was a confession I had been withholding for quite some time.
You see, with Fitbit and me, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. I had mixed feelings. I even considered returning it and purchasing a different model because I believed I could do better. Maybe one with a heart rate monitor or a device that offered a more detailed sleep report.

But a few days before I went to the mall to make the return, something changed. I discovered MyFitnessPal, a smartphone app that lets one keep track of how many calories she is consuming and expending. I learned that I could sync MyFitnessPal with my Fitbit, and suddenly life was AWESOME. I’d open the app, and boom! Automatic deduction for my daily exercise. I actually had an idea of how much I was earning (calorically) versus how much I was spending.

I walked 18,534 steps today. How many calories is that? How many granola bars can I eat because of it? These questions: answered.

The second reason I fell for the Fitbit was the accuracy of its step-counter. I doubted its accuracy early on because of consumer reviews, but over time the Fitbit proved itself. In fact, two days before Fitbit went missing, I performed the greatest experiment ever.**

Along the bike path in Lincoln, there are numbered posts at each half-mile to indicate distance. My Fitbit was supposed to vibrate after five miles, so I gave it a test. As I approached the five-mile mark, I said (aloud), “If you’re accurate, you will buzz when I cross this post. Don’t fail me!” And I kid you not: The moment I stepped by the five-mile marker, my bracelet starting buzzing. It was one of my proudest moments. (5/14/15, RIP Fitbit)

I was so upset about losing my Fitbit, I tweeted about it.

If anyone finds a pink Fitbit lying around (in the greater Providence area), please let me know. @fitbit
— (@fushilou)

Funnily enough, I had JUST admitted to liking the thing, and shortly thereafter it took a flying leap off my wrist in rebellion. — (@fushilou)

This just in: Pink Fitbits have a lot in common with men.
— (@fushilou)

I tagged @Fitbit in the posts, and they replied.

@fushilou Oh no! Sorry to hear that your tracker is missing. Please email us through so we could have a look at this.
— (@FitbitSupport)

This was excellent news! But could I write just an ordinary letter? Oh, no. I wrote this:

Hello fine people,

I recently tweeted about losing my Fitbit and someone contacted me saying I should email you about the situation [presumably that my Fitbit is gone, not that I have related it to my dating life].

I am getting in touch to let you know that I lost my Fitbit, and this has devastated me so much that I petitioned the state of Rhode Island via social media to find it. I’ve had the Fitbit for four months; it was synched to MyFitnessPal and we were making great strides.

I didn’t realize you handled lost Fitbit emails, but thank you for taking the time to read this and share my pain. I appreciate your representative getting in touch with me about it.

Somehow, my less-than-ordinary e-mail did not deter them, and the team replaced my Fitbit at no cost! We’re reunited and it feels so good. Therefore, I am forever indebted to their products. And maybe you should be, too.

**based on my ideas of excellence and not those of actual scientists

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