Fitbit May Not Help You Lose Weight. So What?

There was a new study out recently that said wearable devices like the fitbit may not help you lose weight.

The results for “the idea trial” were released and showed that adults who were tracked for a year and a half lost more weight with diet changes alone than did those who also wore a Fitbit.  In addition, those with the fitbits were no more active, nor were they fitter than the others.

Yikes. That doesn’t sound good.

To this I say, who cares? I still love my fitbit.

Why?  Well probably cognitive dissonance to be honest.

But, I also think it may be a few other factors.

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Growing Awareness

The results of the study serve as a reminder that the Fitbit is just a starting point for my fitness and not an end.

I am more aware now that I may delude myself into thinking I am doing enough to stay fit simply due to exercise.  Or, I may think I have earned an extra dessert or some french fries.

With the added awareness I can continue to focus on my diet and continue to set new and harder goals for myself.


The Fitbit gives me valuable information right in the middle of my workout. I don’t just use it to see how many steps I’m taking each day. Or each week. Though I do like to know when I’ve taken 100,000 steps in any given week.

I primarily like its features when I’m doing a workout. How often I am getting my heart rate up to 70% plus of my max? That’s what I want to know.  Or, if I am burning fat. The quality of my workouts are better.

I do pay attention to number of steps daily and weekly and keep trying to increase my totals and not plateau.


fitbit may not help you lose weight

Diet is the Key

If weight loss is the goal than diet  is the key. Exercise certainly helps too, but don’t mix apples and oranges and think that a wearable device is the only answer.

Eat healthy. Include more vegetables every meal. Eat smaller servings. Drink more water.

Do these things and you will probably lose weight.   It won’t matter that you are wearing a Fitbit.

Does No Harm

I like the watch itself.

And, I enjoy the monitoring and competition with my self that the Fitbit adds to my life.  So if the watch does not actually harm me I’m going to continue to use it.

Over time I can continue to determine if it actually helps me. So far, I’d say yes to this if for no other reasons than I enjoy using it on my runs and hikes. I think I have done more workouts this winter than in the past years because of the watch.

Time will tell if this remains true.

I am glad to have seen the study. I hope they continue to look at the role wearable devices have on our fitness. Like much of the information we have on diet and fitness it is important to understand that each new study gives us another piece of the picture, but we are a long way off from the definitive answer.

Update: Wired has an article suggesting that the studies were done on older versions of the Fitbit. The newer devices are more sophisticated; more likely to encourage workouts. Either way the article validates the idea that we really just don’t know yet.

If you like your Fitbit, wear it. I know I will.


Wearable devices don’t seem to make us fitter

Weight loss on your wrist fitness trackers may not work

Effect of Wearable Technology Combined with a Lifestyle Intervention on Long Term Weight Loss

Science Says Fitness Trackers Don’t Work. Wear One Anyway.

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