One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident


Paralyzed by the Minutiae

24 Comments 5201 views

I get a lot of questions, especially when I post about something like the Fitbit, which I LOVE and wear daily — click here to see my initial review. This post is a response to anyone who asked me about it’s accuracy or how I handle “this or that.”

Every day I wear my Fitbit One, well, right here…

Roni Wearing the FitBit

I  transfer it from bra to bra if I get changed and honestly it’s so ingrained in my routine I rarely forget it anymore.

Here’s my step chart so far today…

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 2.32.57 PM

I start almost every morning with CrossFit either at 6 or 8 a.m. depending on the day’s schedule. In any given hourlong class I rarely get a green spike of steps, or calories for that matter, even though I’m working my a$$ off.

Today we practiced snatching for about 20 minutes after a 10-minute warmup. I worked up 83 pounds. After the strength training I did today’s workout of the day: 6 x 65lb snatches followed by 10 Toes-to-bar for 5 rounds. (It took me almost 6 months to be able to do ONE toe-to-bar.) Then I practiced overhead squats and snatch deadlifts. Then, because I knew temps would be dropping throughout he day, I squished in my 1-mile run for #2014RunStreak before heading home to work (the green spike).

My point in telling you this isn’t to gloat about my routine or show off. My point is to show you how little the Fitbit picked up of my workout. Besides the green spike when I ran my mile, I registered about the same amount of steps as I do taking a walk for about an hour. Do I think walking and CrossFit burn the same calories or require the same expenditure of energy?

Umm, no.

Do I get frustrated that the Fitbit isn’t registering the effort I put into my workout?

NO. Not in the least!

Here’s the deal. I sit. A lot. On any given day I’m on my computer for 8 hours. I’ll bet many of you are as well. Despite gong to the gym almost daily AND running a mile, I normally have a hard time hitting my goal of 10,000 steps a day. Just ask the husband who routinely watches me pacing in the bedroom trying to get those last few hundred just so I can see the congrats message on the Fitbit site.

I don’t wear the Fitbit to tell me how hard I’m working or how many extra calories I should be eating. I don’t micromanage the stats or enter in activities I think the Fitbit “gypped” me on. I wear it because it reminds me to move more.

Period. End of story.

Frankly I don’t care how accurate it even is. You can get hung up on things like that or you can go with the flow. I used to be paralyzed by the minutiae of details, using things like the accuracy of a Fitbit or the inability to calculate calories in a dish as an excuse to walk away from my goals. I use a lot of tools too but now, when things like the Nike+ app messes up my pace or the batteries die on my food scale, I shrug my shoulders…


… and just keep going. At least I’m moving more, making good food choices, running and estimating to the best of my ability.

Isn’t that the point anyway?

Listen, if counting every calorie in and calorie out perfectly is working for you, great! But for those who get frustrated, overwhelmed and distracted by the details, try to remind yourself that all those facts and figures are supposed to be helping, not hurting your efforts. Don’t get paralyzed by the minutiae — just keep moving.

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There are 24 comments so far.


    January 27, 2014

    I mostly feel the same way about my Fitbit. I look at it more from a relative standpoint rather than whether it is exactly accurate. I do sometimes name an activity so that I can look back and see what I was doing during that time, but the big thing is to see how I improve over time. I am in weight loss mode so I look a lot at the calorie deficit (I record my food at My Fitness Pal who talks to the Fitbit). I don’t care if it is exactly accurate. I just know that if a have a deficit of 700 calories that that is better than if I have a deficit of 200 calories. It all helps with the motivation (like the other night that I jumped on the treadmill for a few minutes at 11 pm so I would get to 10000 steps for the day).


    January 27, 2014

    When I wear my fitbit on my bra, the bulge it creates bugs me. How do you get around this?


      January 27, 2014

      I just live with it. I find it’s worse with certain style shirts. If it’s really noticeable i’ll just pin it to my pants. Oh! and on sports bras I were in facing it.


      January 27, 2014

      Thank you for letting me know. I’ll just deal with it then and make it work for me. :)


    January 27, 2014

    That’s exactly why I love my fitbit: it makes me walk more. I got mine a year ago, and I’m sure I walk at least 4,000 more steps per day. While I was annoyed by little inaccuracies, etc. at the beginning, I really let go of it…

    Martha Glantz

    January 27, 2014

    I don’t have a fitbit but wear an Omron pedometer that is pretty accurate on the steps but not all on calories burned because it doesn’t measure intentsity or non set activity; e.g., elliptical rarely gets the steps counted. Because I had a heart attack I now wear a HRM when I do my 3 x/week cardio + weights and it does get more accurate because it seems to measure intensity.
    But, at the end of the day, it’s all about moving every day and paying attention to what I eat. I’m not religious about the food although I do track calories as best I can and I do choose healthy foods more times than not.
    But no point in getting crazy about it.
    I use all these tools because they help keep me focused and for me that’s a good thing. And if I’m short a few steps one day, then so what? I get in my 10,000 + most days.

    Valerie Hoose

    January 27, 2014

    I totally get your obsession with CrossFit. We started a CrossFit program at work (with a certified trainer). We’ve done it twice and I totally love it!!! If I had the money, I’d join a box so I could go every day.


    January 28, 2014

    Love your attitude about it! I agree completely – I figure the Fitbit is giving me a day to day trend, and I think more about trying to consistently get better about moving and eating well than hitting a particular number (steps or calories) each day…

    Katie Meier

    January 28, 2014

    Amen! I just got a fitbit as a Christmas gift and LOVE it! I work out every day and have two dogs but because I “only” run 3-4 days a week and the rest of my workouts are things like p90x or insanity, fitibit doesn’t recognize the effort of those workouts. So guess what? On those days my fitbit encourages me to walk just a little further on a walk with the dogs or vacuum or take a few extra trips down the hall during work.


    January 28, 2014

    Hooray! I LOVE my FORCE for the same reason. It does make me move. I feel joy when I hit my 10K. The party on my wrist is the highlight of my day! I am moving more for sure – Why else would I be walking in 0 degree weather at 7:30 on a Sunday night? All the details used to provide many many excuses for not reaching my goals. Letting go of minutiae and embracing my body’s REAL needs allowed me to succeed!


    January 28, 2014

    This is actually why I don’t weigh myself OR my food anymore. When I realized I was stressing over 1 extra gram (literally), I realized that that wasn’t MENTALLY healthy. And I’m loving the Fitbit for making me realize how much I’m sitting around when I could be up and moving between sitting projects.

    Beth Mason

    January 28, 2014

    Love this post! This is how I feel about my FitBit!

    Maria B

    January 28, 2014

    Thank you for this post! I was wearing a fit bit for the last two months of 2013 but quit because I began “obsessing” about the inacuracies. I will start wearing it again, because it was a great little daily reminder to keep moving! It was not my daily “grade” or evaluation.


    January 28, 2014

    You’re supposed to tell it you are having active time by keeping your finger on the button until it starts the fast counter, keep your finger pressed down till it stops when you have finished. Much like it is set for sleep tracking. Love the fitbit. It is the one thing that has kept me really active.


    January 28, 2014

    Love this post – I totally agree! It’s just motivating to make you move more, and it helps to compare calories in vs. out, but in the end, you have to listen to your body!


    January 29, 2014

    I love my fitbiit zip, I wear it every day. It’s really for walking/running as it’s step based so isn’t 100% accurate for other exercises. I love seeing the numbers increasing throughout the day.


    January 29, 2014

    It is funny you should post this. I had a friend ask me the same thing… my response was similar, I told her to wear a heart rate monitor when doing her crossfit, that would help her figure out the calorie burn / exerted during her work outs. I also asked her what the purpose of wearing the fitbit would be… is it to increase your steps? to move more? then the fitbit helps you do this. If it is to accurately measure how many calories you are buring doing specific exercise… I dont know if they make something like that yet


    January 30, 2014

    THANK YOU for posting this! I’ve been fixating for months on whether to get a FitBit because I wasn’t sure how “accurate” it was. DUH! I should have know better! I need to aid to help me move more. I’ve been in a rut and now I’m giggling at how silly I’ve been. Again Thank you! :)


    January 31, 2014

    I wear a FitBit Ultra (on my underwear) every day, all day. I love it for the same reason of encouraging me to move more and giving me a general idea of calorie burn during cardio. I know during my strength classes like TRX it isn’t anywhere near accurate and that doesn’t bother me. The one thing that really gets me though is it does NOT track my mileage properly at all. I am not sure if yours lets you do “activity records” where you start and stop it to track specific activity but mine does and I use this to track workouts. When I run say 4.5 miles on a treadmill it tracks it MAYBE at 2.5. This isn’t a problem indoors but running outdoors it really throws me off! When we travel and I run somewhere I am not familiar with I have no idea how far I’m actually running and that part does frustrate me a bit. Does yours (the One right?) do any better on accurate mileage?


      January 31, 2014

      I don’t know, I never tested it. I’ll try today when I run and report back. :)


    January 31, 2014

    I can totally relate to pacing around my house at night to get those last steps in for the day. I make myself walk back and forth, around and through the house while I scan Instagram in the evenings just so I can hit my 10K steps. I don’t use the FitBit to count calories either – it’s just a way to make myself move more than I usually would.

    Becky F

    January 31, 2014

    “Just keep moving” – I agree!

    Fitbit has 3-way accelerometers in it, very similar to what a Wii controller has (the original, remote-looking one). If you take a look under “calories” instead of “steps” I wonder that your activity should show up there. Also, logging your activity in your dashboard might make a difference, too – telling it that you were lifting weights should help the activity register more accurately. Bottom line, though, you’re spot on. The moves make the (wo)man, so keep on keeping on. :)


    March 3, 2014

    I think your title in the negative really sums it up. DON’T get paralyzed by the minutiae. Just keep moving forward and pressing on. And walking. haha


    May 1, 2015