When I got a Fitbit four years ago, I started using the food-tracking feature in the app. I didn’t have any interest in counting calories precisely, but just thought it might be informative to see how much I was eating, on average. Even after the original device was replaced with a newer model, I kept using that feature.

Photo of Fitbit.

Because my preferred exercise is rowing, which does not have motions that Fitbit can recognize, the calories in vs. out calculation was never accurate. Fitbit sometimes would record my rowing as some other exercise, such as swimming or an elliptical machine, but more often it was left out of the calculation. As a result, the food tracker usually showed that I was eating more calories than the amount needed.

The incorrect calculation was somewhat annoying, but I kept using the food tracker anyway because I had gotten used to it. The small graph was not intrusive, and I wanted to track my water intake anyway, so entering calorie amounts (quickly estimated and rounded off) didn’t seem to take much more time.

Last week, I decided I’d had enough of it when an update changed the food-tracking display to show, in all caps, “OVER BUDGET” or “UNDER BUDGET” whenever the total calories consumed so far that day was not within 100 calories of the amount Fitbit’s calculation showed—which, of course, it almost never was. I asked myself, why was I still using that feature when, by now, I had a good idea of my usual calorie intake? The only answer was that it had become a mindless habit.

So, I removed food tracking from the features on the app, and I don’t miss it. In fact, my subconscious mind seems to have cheered on that decision, because twice this week I put down the Fitbit somewhere in the house and forgot to put it back on for several hours. I suspect that my subconscious is telling me I’ve let my life get too regimented, what with rowing schedules and everything. To some extent, schedules and tracking are useful, but it’s high time to start unwinding whatever unnecessary complexity I’ve added.

2 Comments

  1. Good for you! I don’t think I would like that either. Yes, schedules can be good, but too much regiment is definitely not my style!

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