Fitbit – the saviour of the Office Dweller?

The Office Dweller – not an age-specific creature, nor one of a particular lifestyle – rather the Office Dweller is an individual who has ‘always been active’ (right?) and a specimen of non-descript age and function who (although they have a sedentary career) keeps themself ‘active’. So where did that extra weight come from?

As an Office Dweller myself I changed careers from one that encouraged, nay required physical fitness and activity to one of a Consultant who drives to clients and works hard sitting down amongst them. Maintaining the same ‘healthy’ diet as I transitioned to comfort, I am one of many who ‘suddenly’ realises that the belt hook is on an outer hole – and seemingly within a blink of an eye the reading on the scales is no longer so kind.

Still, as an Office Dweller I remained sure that this was just ‘the body getting used to the change in surroundings’. Fast-forward two years and welcome to status quo.

Recently a family member acquired a Fitbit –which as a gregarious Office Dweller I rapidly dismissed as a pointless gadget and a fad.

What’s that…? It tracks your sleep…? Cool – let me see…?

This Office Dweller was intrigued. So it’s a watch that counts your steps – 10,000 steps a day is the ‘recommended’ minimum you say? Is that all? Everyone walks 10,000 steps a day – what’s the point in counting them?!

…measuring your heart rate and calories burnt looks good though.

Hang on, hang on! There must be an App for that! And of course there is – ‘Health’ on the iPhone offers some of these features for free…and so the Yorkshireman in me awoke from its light slumber. After a couple of days however, it was clear that the gyros and sensors in the iPhone (yes, yes – other ‘phones and apps are available); combined with the position on the body where the ‘phone is carried, don’t offer the same exacting measurements. Besides which, in order to measure your heart rate and sleep further purchases are required for both an external monitor and another App.

So – to persevere with the free App (plus purchases), or to try one of these infernal devices whose appeal is starting to drive me insane?

The thought of running with my iPhone trendily strapped to my upper arm is not appealing, dear reader – I may as well employ a small human who is prepared to be carried and count my steps (such is the impact of that ‘extra screen area’ – it’s not exactly an iPod Nano is it?!)

Decision made. I purchased two ‘Fitbit Flex’ models; one for my long-suffering wife, who despite her abject loathing of gadgets (a defence mechanism against my utter passion for them) was as intrigued as I was. Surely she does more than 10,000 steps a day chasing round after 3 children every day (we have two sons)?

The Fitbit flexes (flexs? flecks? flexi?) arrived and were duly charged and we started the measuring process. What is staggering is how active you are NOT. Many dwellers will have convinced themselves of the same myth, and no matter how many times I paraded from room to room; counting steps to prove this infernal device as an inaccurate charlatan – the truth stared back at me with every futile Sync.

Dear dwellers, we are not as active as we have convinced ourselves and a gadget like the Fitbit is a life-changer. Us dwellers do not take the recommended number of steps we genuinely believe we do.

No other devices have been road tested for this article; so only the Fitbit’s prowess is mentioned – yet its impact is staggering. GONE are the car journeys to the shops – whatever the weather! GONE is the 9-5 with lunch at the desk! GONE is the desire for someone to ‘just pass the…’!

Counting my water intake on its easy-to-use monitor is IN (you don’t drink as much water as you’d convinced yourself either). Lunchtime walks are IN. Evening walks are IN. Walking to everywhere possible is IN. Taking an extra walk at the end of the day is IN.


There is absolutely no way on this green and pleasant land that I am going to be beaten by ANY of my friends and family on the leader board…apart from my retired mother-in-law who enjoys 20,000 steps a day and wipes the floor with every single one of us.

Did I mention it tracks your sleep? It does – it really does! Every morning is a graphical delight of sleep, restlessness and ‘awakeness’. Each day brings a new story – I have absolutely no idea whether I should ‘aim’ for restful sleep all night or periods of restlessness as I enter and emerge from REM sleep. But do you know what? I don’t care (yet).

There are no quantitative results to offer you; but qualitatively I FEEL better – more alert, and I KNOW I’m more active, and I am definitely between belt holes. This is the end of week 2 and my addiction is clearly growing, as it seemed as if a part of me was missing when I had to charge my battery overnight. No graphical delight for me that morning.

What’s next? I see that Fitbit do other models, and they do even more ‘stuff’.

Does that one work in a swimming pool…?

What are your top tips for banishing the bulge as an Office Dweller? Let us know in the comments box below.

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Adam Davey June 20, 2015

You’ll be like a racing snake in the blink of an eye!! A few sessions of high-intensity workout each week, with a balanced diet leaves room for a few beers at the weekend I find!!

Matt Osborne June 20, 2015

I like the sound of the beers as a reward! All about getting ‘calorie credits’ in then?!


We love our Fitbits! just replaced the first ones that dies with a “flex” each….. yes…like you we move more just becuase that darned thing says we don’t do it enough…..and as we have lost over two stones each since the end of January moving is getting easier too!

Nice to have the blog back!

Matt Osborne June 21, 2015

They’re addictive aren’t they, Marion! 2 stones! Wow! Well done – that is awesome!


Great read pal, but as one of those trendy runners with an I phone strapped to my arm I find the git bit neither here or there. It’s alright just a bit of a bit really.

Matt Osborne September 5, 2015

Thanks, Paul. I can actually picture you with an iPad 1 strapped to your arm!


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