Fitbit & Motivation

Have you bought into the Fitbit craze?  I had admired these little motivators for quite a while, but never took the bait.  However, my husband also noticed me admiring them, and when he got a rewards card at work, he surprised me with one.  I was excited to start using it.    I set my daily goal for 10,000 steps, because that’s what “they” always tell you to aim for.

I soon found that the best thing about it wasn’t any of the data that it gave me on the app, it actually was just a subtle reminder to make better choices for myself.  Drink more water.  Park a little further away.  Go on that evening walk with the family.  Eat more protein, eat less junk. It did help me make better choices.

So I started out one day and by the evening I was {..} this close to making my goal.  So I loaded up the kids and off we went for that walk after dinner.  To my disappointment when I got back it hadn’t registered a single step…why? Because I was pushing a stroller.  Apparently mine only works when you are moving both of your arms.  Most people that know me would be surprised to find out I didn’t throw it out with the trash right then.  But I kept it, and I still use it.  Why?  

I’ve been an EMT for 14 years.  The one thing I can tell you over and over is that you treat your patient and not the machine.  The pulse ox may be telling you that the patient’s O2 saturation is 78%, but if your patient is carrying on a conversation with you, and has good capillary refill and their lips aren’t blue and they are showing absolutely no sign of respiratory distress, I’m not going to base my entire opinion just on that one machine.

Same goes for the fitbit.  Did it register every step I made that day?  No.  Did it motivate me to get out the door with my family?  Yes.  It motivated me to make better choices that day but my Fitbit couldn’t tell you the whole story.  You had to look at me to see that I felt better after the walk, that I slept better that night, that I cherished the time I spent with my family that evening listening to my son tell me we needed to tell our city council person to fix the roads because his bike ride was bumpy.  

Much the same way that if I had treated my patient only on the pulse ox result, I wouldn’t have given good patient care.  If I had based my entire opinion on the Fitbit, but not on the way I felt, I probably would have been disappointed in myself that day. Look at the big picture, and see all of your accomplishments for what they are before you look at one single piece of data.


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