a peek inside the fishbowl

18 Feb, 2014

I am FitBitten!

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!

I am FitBittin. Blog post coming soon.

I decided to introduce a new feature in the March issue of Capital Parent Newspaper, an “editor’s picks” column in which I list three items I love enough to recommend to parents across Ottawa. For March I chose Stash peppermint tea, Bare English chapstick, and the FitBit One. It’s the latter that I want to talk about today.

I bought the FitBit in January after seeing some friends post about it online. I thought it would be a good thing to try in regards to that “Treadmill before Facebook” promise I made to myself.

In my column I called the FitBit One a pedometer on steroids. Like other pedometers it tracks steps and distance but this one also tracks sleep quality, flights of stairs taken (among other things), and wirelessly uploads it to my online account in real time.

My goal is to take a minimum of 10,000 steps per day, and if I look back at my fitness history since January there’ve only been two days I didn’t reach that goal.

Here’s why the FitBit has worked for me: it’s a social pedometer. I’ve linked accounts with friends who also have FitBits (Friends with Benefitbits™) and am really enjoying the friendly competition between us all. I have an iPhone app which shows me who’s walked the most number of steps and automatically determines a ranking. (Let it be known I’m usually fourth out of the ten friends I have listed!) The competitive side may not appeal to everyone, but it is a real motivator for me. Plus, I can’t stand the thought of underdelivering. I need to reach that 10,000! As a result the FitBit has caused me to do a number of crazily uncharacteristic things. For example, one evening I was watching TV when I suddenly realized that someone was beating me by a few hundred steps. So I did what many gals would do in my shoes… leap up off the couch and run to the treadmill in order to catch up.

I have a bunch of other tricks that help me squeeze extra steps into each day:

  • As per my Treadmill Before Facebook post, I get changed into my gym clothes as soon as I wake up and walk for a minimum of 20 minutes every morning. At the end of my treadmill time I will often round up. (“I’ve done 2600 steps, might as well make it an even 3000!”)
  • I make phone calls on the treadmill. Next step: teleconference meetings. :)
  • Listening to music while I’m on the treadmill keeps me there longer. Watching a show on my tablet also helps.
  • The dog gets longer walks. And if she’s sniffing, I’m pacing.
  • I park farther away from the grocery store than usual and return the cart when I’m done unloading the groceries.
  • Mini in-house walkabouts – done at a time I’d normally be standing around waiting for something – help me reach my 10,000 steps too. Let’s say my coffee is steeping, which takes five minutes. Instead of catching up with Twitter or staring off into space, I can use that time to walk around the house. Usually I end up walking around the main floor tidying as I go.

(It occurs to me that these are all great ways to get extra steps in your day, regardless of whether you have a FitBit or not.)

Here’s where I have to confess that it drives Mark crazy when I jump up during a commercial break and start pacing around the kitchen. But hey, it’s all in the name of good health, right?

What else do I like about the FitBit? I like the size, the brightness of the screen, and the longevity of the battery. (It comes with a USB charger.)

I don’t like its stair tracking. I don’t think it’s very accurate, but this isn’t a big deal since it’s the mainly the steps I’m concerned about and I’m pretty sure those are being measured accurately. I am worried about losing my FitBit and wonder about potential failure of its pincer grip the more I use it. The FitBit One is not exactly cheap ($99 at places like Chapters and Future Shop) and I’ve already lost it twice: once in the house and once outside when I was getting in the car. It’s a good idea to keep it inside a pocket instead of clipped onto one. It can also be fastened to a bra strap, and given its size it is virtually undetectable.

Overall I’ve been pretty happy with my FitBit so far. It’s kept me engaged, amused, and encourages me to go a little farther each day, one step at a time.

8 Responses to "I am FitBitten!"

1 | Shan

February 18th, 2014 at 11:28 pm


My pacing around the house drives my husband nuts too. I’ve also been known to march in place while making some tea or washing my hands. I take the long way around every chance I get. And having a friends list motivates me to keep going as well. Completely in love with my fitbit.

2 | andrea tomkins

February 19th, 2014 at 2:40 pm


I always take the long way around everything too! p.s. marching around while brushing your teeth also causes others to hate your fitbit. ;)

3 | Lisa from Iroquois

February 20th, 2014 at 6:04 pm


You caught my attention with the mention of it measuring your quality of sleep.

4 | andrea tomkins

February 27th, 2014 at 10:47 am


Yes! It’s been pretty interesting so far. The FitBit One shows you how long you slept and whether there was any activity or disruption during that time. It comes with a little armband, and you slip the FitBit inside it before you nod off. It’s pretty neat.

5 | Shannon

February 27th, 2014 at 5:08 pm


So I first had that little fit bit that clips on your clothes on you put in your pocket. Loved it but sure enough it ended up in the washing machine one day and that was it. I went without for about a year and just got a fitbit flex that is a bracelet and water resistant. I wear it all the time – blends in with my other bracelets and it is great. I find watching my daily movement (or lack of) motivates me just enough to park a bit farther away or take the stairs instead of the elevator. It is great. I have the black band bracelet but just saw that they have all kinds of funky colours now too.

6 | Shannon

February 27th, 2014 at 5:10 pm


Interestingly, I compared my daily steps on workdays (when I am mostly sitting and it is hard to get 10000 steps in) to weekends when I can easily do 12000 steps. THEN last week when we were on holidays in Florida I was doing closer to 15-17,000 steps each day (shopping and Disney are great for that!). So that helped considering I was eating twice as much on vacation! The geek in me finds it fun to track the data.

7 | Shannon

February 27th, 2014 at 5:12 pm


Ok … don’t get me started about my fitbit …. one last thing! The first Fitbit flex I got was not really working properly. I contacted the company by email and they immediately sent me a replacement. Great customer service! Ok, I will stop and go for a walk now :-)

8 | A FitBit update! >> a peek inside the fishbowl

May 8th, 2014 at 12:59 pm


[…] first wrote about the FitBit back in February, and now that some time as gone but I thought it’d be useful to provide an update in regards […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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