My Newest Toy….Er, Wellness Tool

“I’ve got to get more exercise….. I’m sitting too much….. I’m not sleeping well….. Why am I suddenly gaining weight?” Lately, I’ve had at least one of these thoughts pretty much every day. The obvious answer to the weight gain question would, at first glance, be the first two thoughts, but even with my lack of activity, my weight has stayed pretty steady for the last year or so. I decided I needed to figure out what was going on, not because I was particularly worried about gaining a little weight, but because I was hoping my thyroid wasn’t going wackadoodle again.

That’s when I decided to get a Fitbit®. I wanted one that would track my steps, my sleep, and my heart rate, so I ordered the Fitbit Charge 2®. Unfortunately, when I got it and read the health warning on it for the PurePulse® heart rate monitoring, I decided I wouldn’t be comfortable with it. Evidently, it acquires your heart rate by sending pulses of light into your wrist. It warned against using it if you were on medications that made you photo-sensitive, if you had epilepsy or problems with flashing lights, and a couple of other things.  I have migraines that are affected by light, so I decided I would return it and get the Fitbit Alta® without the heart rate monitoring instead. It probably would have been fine but I figured I’d just play it safe.

I’ve had my Alta since Saturday, and I’m loving it! It’s helping me see how active (or inactive) I am, how much I’m sleeping, and because I’m using the App to log my food, why I’m gaining weight. I’m eating way more calories than I’m expending right now! Of course, my husband’s birthday dessert didn’t help that calorie count any…. :o)

I haven’t tried to increase my activity level this week; I need to get a baseline of where I am now so when I start setting my goals to increase my activity, I don’t try to do too much too fast. I don’t want to try to do more than my body is prepared for and cause a flare-up, or worse yet, do some kind of actual damage to my muscles, joints, or tendons and then not be able to exercise at all. With fibromyalgia and exercise, consistency really is key. As my doctor has told me, and as I’ve experienced, a little every day is better than a lot one or two times per week.

As I set my goals, I’ll remember to keep them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic, and Timed.

  • Specific – What is it, exactly, that you want to attain with this goal?                           Example: GOAL -Increase the number of steps I take each day by 250 this week is better than GOAL – Increase my steps.
  • Measurable – A goal has to be something you can measure. Otherwise, how will you know if you’ve met it?
  • Action-Oriented – A goal is what is going to get you to where you want to be. Ask yourself what you need to DO to get there.
  • Realistic – Ideally, goals will help you stretch a little to move you forward, but they need to be realistic. For example, at my age, it would not be realistic to set a goal of being a world-class gymnast. Maybe I’ll skip that one….
  • Timed – Goals need to have a timeline, or we can be tempted to just keep pushing them down the road.

I’m hoping this handy little tool will help me in my quest to live well in spite of the limitations of fibromyalgia. I know if nothing else, it’s giving me information about what I’m already doing, and I can use it to inform my actions toward my wellness plan. I was excited to read the post of my fellow blogger at Periwinkle Pursuits shortly after I had ordered my Fitbit® because she said she had used hers to move toward her goals and was having good success. I’m hoping I’ll soon be able to say the same.

Do you have any favorite wellness tricks or tools? Please share!




  1. Terri! So excited for you! Glad to hear you went with the version you did. I want updates. I finally read about smart goals, currently I am smartly driving my hubby nuts as I claim to be the keeper of all goals in our household but see how it makes sense? I’ll show hime your outline:) Currently two dogs that need walking are my only tools, I mean toys, OK big dogs in my arsenal of wellness. I’m liking the fitbit but I don’t want to put ‘pressure’ on myself said the woman I was 40 pounds ago! I better have a talk with her! ~Kim

    1. Thanks Kim! I’ll definitely let you know how it works out…. I’d say your fur babies definitely are a great wellness tool since they force you to get out and walk them. I can’t walk my two monsters anymore; they’re too obnoxious around other dogs and pull on me too much. They only weigh about 30 pounds apiece, but they feel more like Great Danes. I know we probably need to bite the bullet and just hire a professional trainer to work with them (and us!). I know what you mean about not wanting to put pressure on yourself with the Fitbit. I decided before I got it that I was going to use it as a diagnostic tool more than anything, so we’ll see how that goes… :o) Have a great weekend my friend! ~Terri

  2. Hi Terri,

    I asked for, and received, a Charge Hr FitBit for our wedding anniversary last July. It’s one of my favorite health tools. I sometimes enter my food into the food diary, but find that’s not the biggest help. The step counter is my biggest help. I really enjoy the challenges, such as the trips to Yosemite and New York, where you finish by doing a certain step count. If you haven’t tried them, they are really cool. You get to them through the app on your phone.

    Other helps/tools are my dogs because they get me outdoors and moving, and those steps onto my Fitbit, of course. But they are good for my mood, which is even better than counting steps. If I didn’t have my dogs, I wouldn’t always care about my steps. I would be too depressed for them to matter.

    My third, and there is no real order here, isYouTube. I am doing my second round of Yoga Revolution, Yoga With Adriene’s program for the beginning of this year. She has done other programs and I like her different yoga programs for what ails you. Her video on making Yogi Tea is lots of fun. She has a great channel! As a yoga teacher myself, I enjoy the opportunity to be taught. Since having major back surgery last May, she has helped me get back to a regular yoga practice, a profound joy in my own life. I also like the Fitness Blender channel. I just love that I can do a free yoga, pilates, walking/cardio video any time I want.

    I have many health tools, because I believe health is the most important things we can have, but these are my top three favorites. Thanks for this topic, Terri. It’s a great one!

    Many blessings to you and yours,

    1. Hi Julie, thanks for all the great suggestions! Like you, I think the step counter is going to be the biggest help to me. I’m logging my food right now to get a clear idea of what I’m really eating, but I know that’s probably not something I’ll do all the time. I do like to use some kind of food log when I suspect there might be issues with what I’m eating, because as much as I love food, it’s easy to eat things that might not be helping me in my quest to feel better. :o) I’ll definitely be checking out the You Tube channels you talked about. I hope your biopsy went well and that you’re feeling much better. Have a great week! ~Terri

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