7 weeks with my Fitbit Flex: what I like and don’t like

I heard about the Fitbit for the first time on a blog. Since the blogger and I are very similar with regard to goals, I immediately paid attention and thought that I should get one.

When I investigated further, I figured out that I could use some banking reward points and save nearly 30%. Sold! I went online, bought my one and waited eagerly for it to arrive.

I received my Fitbit on 26 May, immediately registered and sorted it out and so it’s been 7 weeks of use since then.

For those who don’t know what a Fitbit is, you wear it on your wrist like a watch and it tracks the number of steps you walk per day, the distance you’ve walked, how many active minutes you have, calories you’ve burned and the sleep you get. In the iphone app, you can also track your daily weight (if you weigh daily like I do), how much water you’re drinking and the foods you’re eating.

I don’t use all of the functionality – I only track water, weight and sleep, and the app tracks my steps and tells me I’m not active enough!

I thought I’d take the time to share some of the thoughts I’ve had since getting mine.

1. I’m highly motivated to finish all my water every day

There’s a picture of a girl (maybe it’s a boy if you register gender as male) on my app and the girl fills up with water as you log all you’re drinking. I love it! As you get closer to 2 L, the girl turns orange and then green. We’re aiming for green.

I get to my 2L most days but on the days I don’t, I make sure I drink at least 1.5L.


2. 10 000 steps?

I’ve only reached 10 000 steps twice since I’ve had the Fitbit. I’m not sure why it’s proving so difficult. On the first day I reached 10 000 steps, I went to a very intense Zumba class in the morning, organized and cooked up a storm (lots of walking around my house) and then went to two different shopping centres in the afternoon on the hunt for photo albums. I was walking back to the car at the second shopping centre when my wrist vibrated and an email came through congratulating me on the 10 000 steps.

The second day was the day of my kids’ birthday party, but even then I only hit 10 000 just before midnight!

My lifestyle is such that I’m probably not going to ever reach 10 000 in a day unless I start running daily. If I’m out and about, work doesn’t get done, and yet, I go for a walk at least 5 times a week in addition to my 3 exercise classes. I’m still figuring it all out but since I started feeling like a failure (and that’s never good), I reduced my goal to 6666 steps. That was a bad idea because I’d rack up even fewer steps than before per day. Of course when I realized this I switched it back to 10 000. That proves once again that I’m the type of person who HAS to shoot for the stars so that I can reach for more.



3. Increased time management is not good for fitness

This is very interesting.

All the stuff we organising and time experts teach about having zones in the kitchen and batching tasks so you don’t need to walk up and down in the kitchen? Great for efficiency but not for fitness.

It’s actually better walking to the cupboard for flour, and then walking back for the vanilla essence than walking once and getting everything.

It’s obviously a silly example but these days I don’t bother to collect everything in a room like I did before because I need the steps!

Or maybe I’m just obsessive!

4. I love the weekly progress emails

I get a kick out of seeing how many THOUSANDS of steps I’ve walked for the week, and how many kilometres that translates to, etc.

Because the email is sent weekly, it’s easy to compare week-on-week to see how I’m tracking.


5. Sleep stats are confusing

I can’t seem to figure out how to properly work the Fitbit sleep part, so I try and activate the device on my wrist but because I’m a slight control freak, I also use the app.

Apparently I have between a 97 and 100% sleep efficiency rate and the longest it’s taken me to fall asleep is 7 minutes. I may not be looking in the right place but I think I can only get access to detailed sleep stats (more than a week) if I sign up for the premium version which I’m not prepared to do just yet.

The Sleeptime app I used before seems to be better in displaying the light and deep sleep data. I may have to triple check my sleep ?

6. Oh my gosh, the strap

I hated the strap when I first got it. It is really difficult to use at first, so much so that I even showered with it on, which I would never normally do because the device is so expensive.

It’s promoted as shower-safe but after that first time, I just felt too reckless so I preferred to take it on and off before showering.

I’m used to it now but it took a good month to figure out.

7. Charging the batteries

The batteries do indeed need charging every 5 days. The great thing is that when the Fitbit’s running low, I get an email telling me so and then I just plan to sit still and do some computer work while I charge it with the USB.

(I’ve been charging it while writing this very article).

On the whole

While I still have to fine-tune my usage, I love my Fitbit a lot. I’m the type of person who really likes dealing with facts, figures and graphs (that’s why I track my goals success on a spreadsheet) and now knowing all the specifics of my fitness motivates me. If you’re the same, you will love it. Get it!

If you don’t like tracking anything (and you don’t like feeling guilty), maybe this is not for you.

As always, don’t concern yourself with what other people are doing – do what works for you!

If you do want a FitBit, here is the link to Amazon

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  1. Hi Marcia, I think I have an older version. It clips to my pocket or pants. I only use the strap when I sleep. Even with exercise class I find it hard to reach 10,000 steps as I work from home. I’ve been trying to get up every 30 minutes or so to move around. But, you can input your exercise class in the app (at least the one online, I don’t have anything on my phone.)

    • Marcia Francois says

      I know – it’s hard when our work is computer-based! I’ve hit 10 000 only three times!

  2. I have the little Fitbit, can’t remember what it’s called but you clip it on. The problem I noticed is that it adds steps while I am driving. I have too often not remembered to take it on and off every time I’m in the car. Have you found that to be a problem with the wrist version? I haven’t been wearing mine for awhile. I need to get it back on!

    • Marcia Francois says

      oh, I think you have the version before the flex. Mine definitely doesn’t add steps when I’m driving.


  1. […] never been able to get to the 10 000 steps. I wrote about that here, here and here […]

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