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Fitbit : Why I love Fitbit my nagging, bossy new digital frenemy

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01/14/2018 | 10:43 am

FOR Christmas this year I decided to treat myself to a nagging, judgmental, strict, relentless new piece of technology as a treat. Instead of a nice new pair of cosy winter pyjamas and one of those mega-size Christmas chocolate bar tower things that are taller than most people, I decided to get a Fitbit.

It is not a toyboy, as some speculated on social media (yes, I'm talking to you pal), it's a small watch that thinks it's a hybrid of your parents and your old PE teacher.

This is one of a range of gadgets that monitors how many steps you take in a day, your heart rate, your sleeping patterns, your food intake and more. It is the kind of thing that you dread anyone you know getting. I know what I'm about to become but I've made my peace with it, and my social media followers will need to be prepared.

Now that I've gained this fascinating insight into how my body works, in real time, I've decided that everyone else needs to know, too. Welcome to my new social media feed.

From now on, I'll be posting updates like "BOOM! Smashed my step goal for today", or "Wow, check out my heart rate during that workout. Intense. No pain no gain", or "Omg look at ME! I'm doing lots of steps in a day and doing cardio exercise AND strength training. LOOK AT ME!".

The only time I don't wear it is when I'm in the shower. Other than that my Fitbit is always on my wrist, measuring all my bodily signals constantly and sending the data to an app on my phone which stores it all and works out how healthy I am - and occasionally tells me to get off my backside and go for a walk.

I have gone from being very sceptical about apps and tech companies having access to my personal data to wanting my Fitbit to take more from me. I want information, I want to know exactly what's happening inside my body, I need to know how every decision I make affects my health.

It has already become obsessive, frantic and all-consuming. It's brilliant. And it really does help. As an active person, I had no idea that my diet was potentially putting me in a danger zone. On my most active days I was severely under-eating, which left my body tired and unable to repair itself properly. Now, my energy levels have transformed because I've got fuel when I need it.

Yes, these things are often a bit of a fad at this time of year. Everyone's making New Year's resolutions about health, giving up booze, going on diets, and investing in gadgets and sports gear that they'll probably have ditched by mid-February. But it is possible to stick to things if we channel our energy and expectations properly.

A number of years ago, I made a New Year's resolution to start exercising. That year, I'd become concerned about my health after a family member suddenly took ill. Only a few years older than me, he was a non-drinker and a healthy weight, yet he was struck down by a potentially fatal bout of illness usually associated with alcoholism and obesity.

I asked one of his nurses how this could possibly have happened, and she told me it was becoming more common in younger people - even of a healthy weight - who didn't look after their nutrition and make an effort to exercise.

So I knuckled down and pushed past the inevitable struggle that comes with beginning an active lifestyle. I overcame that psychological barrier that tries to convince you not to bother with all of this, it would be so much more comfortable to sit on the couch. I endured tremendous pain as my muscles awoke from a deep slumber, and I stopped making excuses.

Finally, I got to the point where I started to enjoy a good workout. I started to crave it, felt lethargic without it and was amazed to find exercise made me more energetic, not more tired.

My new gadget is just an extension of that decision, a new way to keep things interesting and have a better understanding of my health. And it's also a good way to really annoy people on social media with my constant updates, which is a bonus.

So I'm sorry, folks, if I already have you banging your head off your computer screen. But hey, look on the bright side - no pain, no gain! #BOOM

Credit: Susan Flockhart

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