How to Outwit the Fitbit

If you all haven’t figured it out by now, I live by the numbers. I have a few theories as to why I am inherently this way, the first of which dates back to my early childhood and an innate love of mathematics.


Yeah, you heard me. I love math. Always have and probably always will. My mom had an uncle who lived up the road from us and that uncle had a daughter who was married to a math teacher. They lived in New Jersery. And they had a son who was quite a number of years younger than me. Still, every summer, they would spend a few weekends with said uncle and I looked forward to their visits.

The math teacher cousin-in-law would always bring me his leftover math workbooks. I loved them! I couldn’t wait to get a bagful at the start of the summer! They were full of the fun kinds of math problems…the ones that involved algebra! At the time, I had no idea what that was, but I loved it. I would dig into them right away asking his help on some of the ones I’d get stuck on. If I remember correctly, he taught middle school and I was still in elementary, so I was working on stuff that should have been way over my head. To this day, I thank Bob for my math skills. I believe he had a lot to do with how far I went with the subject.

But what does this all have to do with outwitting the Fitbit? Well, as I said, I live by the numbers. And I’m always striving to beat whatever goal I have set for myself on a regular day to day basis. The Fitbit is one of them.

I keep my Fitbit clipped on my bra because that is where I notice it the least, and it still does a relatively good job in tracking your steps. For a while I had switched to the Fitbit Force (the Fitbit that fits your wrist) and I found that worked well, too, but I really struggled to sleep with it. And that is the main reason above all that I even have a Fitbit. I love the sleep feature and the silent alarm! Now, I can wake before my husband without waking him. And I love to track my sleep quality, too. I know there are apps for that, but my husband doesn’t like me sleeping with my phone at my bedside so I opted for the Fitbit. The Force bracelet was too rigid for me, and since I’m a belly sleeper and tuck my hands underneath me, I could never find the sweet spot that didn’t have that bracelet digging into me rather uncomfortably in all possible positions. When they offered the voluntary recall on it, I accepted and went back to the One.

Still, though, while I was injured, clipping it to my bra meant that all my bicycle miles and Zero Runner miles were going unnoticed. Here I was averaging between 15-30 exercycle miles a day and my Fitbit claimed I only walked 4000. This is clearly not fair. It must translate to more than just 4000 steps. After all, I’m burning over 700 calories a workout session!

It seemed to me, that the only part of my body making any forward progress while on a stationary bike would be my feet. So, I began to clip my Fitbit One to my sneaker.

Fitbit on my sneaker

Fitbit on my sneaker

Lo and behold, my step count returned to my post injury state! To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. My daily goal of 10,000 steps were again being met. And I could unburden myself from the quirky posts sent by my Fitbit. “Step It Up, Theresa! “…”Faster, Theresa!” …”Move It, Theresa!” …”UCANDOIT, Theresa!” …”Not Good Enough, Theresa!” (It really doesn’t say that last one…I just added that in.)

Helga messages

Fitbit messages

So, with this new found discovery, I was back on the wagon. Yep, hitting my 10,000 step goal daily means a whole lot to a numbers person. As you can see by the following chart, after the Boston Marathon which was nearly 50,000 steps in itself (there I had it clipped to my bra), my numbers declined dramatically. Not because I wasn’t exercising, but because I wasn’t stepping! In mid May, I had the “aha” moment where it hit me…

“…clip it to your sneaker, kid!”


I just outwitted the Fitbit. That is, when I remember to clip it to my sneaker.

Fitbit Numbers

Fitbit Numbers


You can see where my I had the “AHA” moment, because suddenly, I’m hitting my 10,000 steps a day goal daily!

Life is good…once again.


Yeah, I live by the numbers. What can I say?

Is there something in your day to day life that you live by the numbers?

4 Responses to How to Outwit the Fitbit

  1. Emily says:

    I love the numbers too! I had a Fitbit when they first came out. It was huge for me; played a massive role in my weight loss. I was determined to meet my goals each day and the weight began to come off 🙂 The days I cycled at the gym, I did clip it to my sneaker. I wanted the credit for the activity. I was clipping it to my bra as well. I liked how it was safe and pretty accurate in that spot. I just retired my Fitbit from 2010 to upgrade to the Polar Loop. I love it! I like the wrist wearing feature and the fact I can use my HR monitor with it during runs and workouts. ~Emily from Runs with HOPE

  2. @Emily – I also have the Loop, and my wife has the Garmin VivoFit (similar)

    I am totally about the numbers (actually I am a statistician and measurement engineer as my day job), so I tend to hyper-analyze everything. I usually have multiple measurements of my runs (Garmin and HR monitor and Fitness app on phone) to try to figure out where they are weak or strong.

    Last weekend my wife and I had a bunch of shopping to do, and I pushed the cart most of the time … and ended up with half the steps! Yep, holding the cart dampens the signal! There are all kinds of things that positively and negatively impact the tracking of all of these things.

    But it is fun to play around with 🙂

  3. Theresa,
    Here is a running book you may want to take a look at. It’s called. “The Running Injury Recovery Program/workbook.” It helps runners become more hands-on in the treatment of their running injuries. You can find out more at The author Bruce Wilk is a certified physical therapist, running coach and owns a sports specialty store. Feel free to call me at 305.200.9104 for more information. Take care, Ren’ee Rentmeester

  4. Candice says:

    I hate numbers but I love reading your blog! So glad you are back from your injury!

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