If you don't know what a FitBit is by now, it's time to learn. The bright, wearable fitness trackers are among the most popular on the market. The company, founded in 2007, recently went public and and is valued in the billions. And if you think it's just a fad, you might want to change your 'tude. Research is proving that the product actually works.
None of this is a surprise to me; I'll be the first to admit that tracking your steps on a FitBit can be addictive. I received my FitBit Zip (the small one that clips onto your belt loop) as part of a corporate challenge at a former job. Things got competitive — fast. Executives were firing off snarky, company-wide emails about whose team had the most steps and which (loser) team was in last place.
As a captain of team "Happy Feet" (lame, I know), I organized afternoon walks up and down the 16 flights to our office. Sounds fun, right? Despite the fact that we were hitting at least 15,000 steps a day, Happy Feet came in third place (out of six). And, yeah, I'm still annoyed, but the team spirit just wasn't there at the end.
Before you pull the trigger on your own FitBit, prepare yourself for the 11 phases of owning a FitBit. Don't say I didn't warn you.
1. You're obsessed.
Yay! You got a FitBit. You’re so excited to set it up and start counting your steps. You wear it every day and love it when someone asks, “Hey, what is that thing?” It’s only the best thing that ever happened to you. Obviously.
2. You walk in place while you watch TV.
What happens if you don’t meet your 10,000 steps per day goal? You wouldn’t know. You’ve been walking during lunch, taking hourly laps around the office and stepping in place while watching Orange Is The New Black — all so you can hit your daily goal.
3. You get competitive.
You make your friends open the Health app on their iPhones so you can compare your steps — even though you know you’re going to beat them. They’re just not taking this health thing as seriously as you are.
4. You can't have a conversation without referencing your step count.
When friends, family or your significant other ask how your day was, you immediately respond, “Well, I hit 15,000 steps today! Cool, right?”
5. You have a near panic attack when you think your FitBit went through the wash.
Your body got shaky and your thoughts became disoriented when you realized you forgot to take your FitBit off of your jeans, right before starting laundry. When you find it on the floor a few minutes later all is right with the world again. Whew.
6. Your Facebook and Instagram friends are all aware of your step goal.
20,000 steps in one day? Who wouldn’t want to hear about that? You’re on fire.
7. People start to avoid conversations with you … because they don't want to hear about your step count.
Your co-worker not-so-subtly put in headphones when you were about to recount how many steps you racked up on your lunchtime stroll. Your roommate hid your FitBit from you — just to see your reaction. You think to yourself — what’s with these people?
8. You're only wearing your FitBit three days a week.
And you feel so bad about it, but it was a crazy week! You had that huge presentation and it slipped your mind to put it on. Then, you forgot it the next day, too…
9. It happened. You missed your daily goal.
You blame it on your boss for asking you to stay late. You blame it on your significant other for not wanting to go for a stroll when you got home late. You vow to get back on track next week.
10. The battery died and so did your motivation.
When you’re ready to get back on track, you find your FitBit — and it greets you with a black screen. Where do you even get a new battery for this thing? You'll deal with it later.
11. Though you may not wear your FitBit every day, you're walking more.
You and your FitBit broke up. Whether the battery died, it went through the wash, or your kid decided to throw it down the garbage disposal, it's officially o-v-e-r. But like any relationship, you learned something. You still remember how many steps your commute is and how many extra steps you could log if you just took the damn stairs or walked for 30 minutes at lunch. Someday, you'll get another one, but in the meantime, you just keep stepping.