My Fitbit is the judgmental friend I never knew I needed

‘Nicely done! 250/250’

I had only had my Fitbit for a month, but after this cheery praise for hitting my 250 steps per hour target, I realised I had already come to depend on it. 

It took me a while to get the allure of smart watch technology.

For the last 15 years I’ve worn a lovely watch that my grandfather gave me before he died. I had no interest in replacing it with a plastic bit of tech, regardless of the reported health benefits, or the hoopla around it.  

Then Covid happened.  

Our world shrunk fast and our waistbands expanded even faster.

I got too comfy working from home in leggings. I became a home office centaur – presentable on the top and sloppy on the bottom.  

It’s easy to ignore a few extra pounds, but when a cholesterol test came back high, I decided I needed to take things seriously.  

Accountability and encouragement are strong motivators for me, so a Fitbit felt like it might be the thing that fitted the bill. 

Late to the party, but determined to be best dressed, I opted for a pink Inspire 2 model.  

Not the priciest, (in case it didn’t stick) but with enough features and insights to make it worth my while.  

I must confess, those insights are impressive. 

louise slyth

My Fitbit is a tiny tyrant – but that’s not a bad thing (Picture: Louise Slyth)

Whether it’s weekly reports on my resting heart rate, or my level of cardio fitness for my age, to the number of calories I burn each day, or letting me know if I should be planning a big workout or a moderate one, my Fitbit knows all. 

And I love it. 

For the previous two years I had been diligently doing YouTube workouts before breakfast and was baffled that I was unable to lose weight. 

My Fitbit showed me that they weren’t even spiking my heartrate into the active zone.  

I’m now back at my spin class and I’m making a concerted effort to hit my 10,000 steps a day.  

In the past, my skills in the kitchen were renowned, but only in terms of how fast I could get a bottle of wine from the fridge. 

Now, aided by the recipes in the nutrition section of the app, I’m cooking stir fries and embracing chia and avocados.  

These are all good things.  

However, there is a flip side.  

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My Fitbit is a tiny tyrant – but that’s not a bad thing. We all have that wonderful honest friend who can be relied on to tell us the brutal truth and inspires us to do better, but now that I have that buddy strapped to my wrist, it makes it so much harder to let it down. 

While I might be a maverick in some areas of my life, at my core I’m a goody two shoes.

I was never happier than when my teacher placed a gold star on my homework, so when I don’t hit my daily active minute targets, I feel like I’m being judged for falling short.  

I may be in my forties, but ‘could do better’ still isn’t the report card I want to see.  

And I’m overjoyed when it tells me I’m hitting my peak calorie burning rate in spin class.

louise slyth

Out with the sparkly heels and on with the pink Jimmy Choo trainers that just happen to match my Fitbit (Picture: Louise Slyth)

‘You go girl!’ it beeps at me. I could never pull off that iconic phrase without cringing, but my Fitbit can.

Going for a run without it is like the proverbial tree falling in the woods – if it’s not tracked, did it really happen?  

The guilt is palpable when I’ve had a busy day working from home and have forgotten to take breaks and the furthest I’ve gone is the 10 steps from my desk chair to the fridge and back.  

Now with the constant encouragement of my little pink friend, I move as much as I can. 

Sometimes I turn off my video on Teams calls and quietly step from side to side. Every step counts when you’re chasing that 250 target – I want my ‘nicely done’!

Louise Slyth posing by a frozen lake

Even my outfits are informed by whether they match my Fitbit

The impacts of wearing a smartwatch for fitness have even begun to creep into my social life. When I have a night out, it’s a tough choice between sartorial elegance and step logging.  

Step logging often wins. Out with the sparkly heels and on with the pink Jimmy Choo trainers that just happen to match my Fitbit. 

My friends were sceptical at first, but they know that once I put my mind to something, there is no stopping me.  

Plus it doesn’t impact my nights out, it just allows me to ‘budget’ for my fun with extra workouts or healthy breakfasts.

Every day I get a score for how well I’ve slept.  

80 or above is considered good. Sometimes I feel like a bold child realising that my sub-70 score may have been the result of a bottle of prosecco. 

I’m eating better, drinking more water, moving more, and have a healthy resting heart rate. 

Plus, at the end of the day, I love the validation – any time I consider throwing my Fitbit away, that trill of ‘nicely done’ brings me back.

The Tech I Can’t Live Without

Welcome to The Tech I Can’t Live Without,’s new weekly series where readers share the bit of kit that has proved indispensable for them.

From gadgets to software, apps to websites,  you’ll read about all manner of innovations that people truly rely on.If you have a bit of tech you can’t live without, email [email protected] to take part in the series

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