anxiety · fitness · mental health

Fitness Shenanigans

I’ve been using a LETSCOM fitness watch since about June 2018 to track my daily step count and today I upgraded to a FitBit Alta HR watch. It was a Christmas gift from a family member, which I opened this morning (Christmas Day 🙂 ).

Here’s what my present looked like before I unwrapped it. 😊

I did not unbox the watch and begin the process of setting it up until this evening. Prior to that I was still wearing the LETSCOM watch throughout the day. I didn’t think too much about how I would be moving all my exercise data over to the Alta watch, as I assumed I could easily get it from GoogleFit, an app I use to sync my daily step count from the LETSCOM app (VeryFitPro). Syncing data between apps is basically like an automatic copy and paste of all the data from one app to another, but my understanding is that it only works if both apps have the capacity to connect to each other.

Anyway, the FitBit app did not have a way to get my data from GoogleFit, though oddly, FitBit can connect and sync with the MyFitnessPal app to copy the nutritional and calorie information of foods I ate. It made me very unhappy realizing my exercise records could not be migrated from one device to another. I could have just accepted that I had to start over on the new watch with nothing, but it frustrated me thinking about losing all that precious data. I played around with the FitBit app until I found a page that allows exercise to be logged but everything from the exercise type, the date, and duration of exercise as well as miles traveled during it, had to be inputted manually for each day.

The good news is I did manage to do it (although it was pretty tedious and repetitive…). The details are probably going to be boring for some of you to read. I pulled up the data from the VeryFitPro app and wrote down on a piece of paper three things in separate columns for each day; the date, the miles traveled, and the duration of exercise. After incurring lots of numbers from a whole month, I switched to the FitBit app and manually entered everything in rapid succession one date at a time. Once I finished inputting numbers from a date, I crossed out the written-out entry to prevent myself from typing the wrong numbers for the next date.

There wasn’t a parameter for manually entering the total step count for a designated day and instead it was automatically calculated within the app once the information for the type and duration of exercise plus miles traveled during exercise were entered in. I was surprised at how accurate it was. My total step count for today determined by the FitBit app was only slightly off by about 20 steps from what I had in the VeryFitPro app.

The strangest part was looking at the very first day I wore the LETSCOM watch on May 30. That whole day, I took a total of 169 steps which amounted to only 2 minutes altogether. I could see the humor of it (in a sort of “Wow, I didn’t even try to walk that day”) but also the not-so-humorous and sad side to it. Those numbers were a testament to how much of a super duper sedentary lifestyle I had, where I actively avoided moving around much at home if I could help it. That did not do any favors for my mental health, either, to be sitting around so often and turning to comfort food a lot. It was so bad. Like I had so many days where I came down from my room, ate breakfast, and would literally plop onto the couch and not move from my spot for hours. The only moving I would do was to type or scroll on my phone.

To go through my memories of past years to try to explain to myself of the why and when my life fell into that awful pattern, I really don’t know if there’s a clearcut answer. It’s a muddy and painful thing to examine. I might have just barely scratched the surface on it. I do feel better now, somewhat. I don’t really believe exercise is a cure-all for my anxiety though. I’ll always have anxiety but I am trying to improve in my own way. Being more active with walking and cardio exercises now, it’s made me realize how much of my own body I took for granted. It’s also opened my eyes to how much it can rapidly worsen my mood from sitting down for too long. That makes a lot of sense when I recall the past jobs I’ve tried (desk/office jobs). Often I was there for a day or several days before I would start feeling a negative shift in myself from the stillness and diligence required of me to seated most of the time.

3 thoughts on “Fitness Shenanigans

  1. That is very thoughtful of a family member to gift you FitBit for Christmas! A new toy for you to play with 🙂 Hopefully it wasn’t too awkward opening the presents in front of your family on Christmas morning.

    It did sound repetitive for you to copy and paste manually from the old app to the FitBit one, but I guess you’ve done it and it just puts you more at ease XD I don’t have a Fitness watch but I do track my daily steps with an app called Pedometer and the GoogleFit app. Both aren’t far off in terms of tracking my steps, speed and distance walked. I also have tried a few Sleep Tracker apps on my phone. Don’t ever know how consistent the results I get are since most of them measure your ‘sleep’ through the sounds in your room. I’ve thought about getting a FitBit but I really can’t justify the price lol. How have you found it so far?

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    1. It wasn’t too awkward since I opened the present while no one was around to watch, haha. That was an unexpected perk of being the last person in my family to open my present on actual Christmas morning since everyone else opened theirs earlier whenever they wanted to as well.

      Yes, I am at ease now with all my data on the FitBit app! I used the GoogleFit app too with the Letscom watch app (VeryFitPro). It was very helpful to copy data in that way to GoogleFit so I could also sync the data to MyFitnessPal. Now with the new watch, I can sync between FitBit and MFP so it seems I don’t need GoogleFit anymore. Still, it’s a great alternative to use to track steps even without a fitness watch. The plus I can think of with a watch is it tracks steps, sleep, and heartrate automatically. Kind of like a three in one, though the addition of the sleep records are ones I rarely look at. Funny to think of how I was in a panic over my step count data and was willing to manually input the numbers for each past record but I didn’t care to input the sleep numbers.

      I agree about the sleep tracker apps not really being accurate. The one I tried required me to keep my phone plugged in overnight because of the app consistently using my battery. It was terrible leaving a phone like that repeatedly because it depleted its overall battery power life. Then the app was recording all night but the sounds and movements it was getting from me during “sleep” seemed inaccurate. I tend to move around during sleep and I can bet half the time the app was picking up on sounds outside my room or in other parts of the house.

      The price of the watch is… expensive. Honestly if it weren’t a surprise gift, I would not have bought it myself. So far the watch does all the things my old one did, except it doesn’t track steps while my arm is up (like if I’m holding something while walking). I’ve heard some people bypass this issue by using a FitBit ankle strap. Me, I am lazy so I just link the watch around my bra strap or put it in my pocket to allow the step count to record, though the downside is it doesn’t record heartrate.

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      1. Good to hear you are all settled with the FitBit now! It is always handy to have another app track steps and distance – and you can then make up your mind if the app is accurate or not. I’m guessing this is the case with the FitBit too; some fitness apps I’ve tried monitors walking speed and elevation that you walked in a day, which I find to be so cool. That would generally need your GPS to be turned on.

        So agree with you on the sleep apps. They measure you tossing and turning, and I’ve also encountered them not working if you don’t plug in your phone. I also am baffled how some of these apps measure light and deep sleep – and it’s probably a gimmick.

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