A Bumpy Road to the Quantified Self

Fitbit tracking data So for the holidays this year, I received a Fitbit Force as a gift (thanks boss!).

I’d been considering getting an activity tracker for some time now – the main thing stopping me was that all the wrist-based trackers didn’t particularly fit my personal style. Still, once I actually had a Fitbit, I figured I’d give it a try.

A few weeks in, there’s a lot to like about the Fitbit Force. It’s surprisingly accurate in differentiating arm movement from actual motion. Cordless synching with the Android app makes keeping the data updated a breeze. And the most powerful tool by far has been combining my food intake tracking with activity tracking. Being able to see at a glance how many calories a day I have left in my ‘budget’ makes me a lot more mindful about my food choices.

Plus, like many people, I’ve struggled for years with finding the time and motivation to exercise. Now I can see exactly what kind of difference exercising versus not exercising has on my calorie intake. I love it. I’ve finally found something that motivates me to get my butt off the couch, and that’s great.

So what’s the problem? Getting the damn thing onto my wrist each day – there is no way it should be this hard to use! The Force has the worst clasp I’ve ever used, bar none. The fact that Fitbit needs to put a video on their website showing how to use the clasp suggests they were aware that it was an issue but chose to put it out anyway. Not their best decision.

Even after watching the video & a couple of weeks’ practice, getting the two prongs to click in every morning is a frustrating struggle that usually involves multiple tries and some curse words. I don’t know what Fitbit was thinking or who they tested it on, but as much as I like the data I’m getting from the Force, it’s bad enough to make me seriously think about using a different device.