What I quickly learned after wearing the device only a few short weeks was that there was NO WAY I was coming close to reaching the 10,000 steps/day that my doctor recommended. Absolutely, no way! Instead I was averaging closer to 2000 steps/day.
In isolation, that information didn’t motivate me to walk more. But then I realized that if I used the device regularly, I could use the information to improve and develop new habits. This may be one of the greater benefits of using tracking devices. In a recent JAMA article, authors state that the power of a wearable technology may not lie in driving health behavioral change, but in facilitating the development of new habits (Patel 2015).
At the end of the 3-week study, participants were allowed to keep the device and I continued to use it. But honestly I didn’t take advantage of all of the accompanying website and mobile application features until after I upgraded my smartphone in the fall. So on Halloween, I weighed myself, began recording everything I ate, documented exercise sessions, and established a weight loss goal in the application.
After some time, I could begin to see patterns in the data collected. I saw the effect of water retention following Rituxan infusions and Thanksgiving in November. I could visualize the impact of traveling on my exercise schedule. After two months, I could also see that weight loss was not as simple as exercising more, eating less, and creating a calorie deficit according to the FitBit data.
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Motivation, Wearable Technology, and Living with MS