Fitbit Charge 2 Review

Let’s get the fine print out of the way. I’m not being paid by fitbit to endorse their product, I’m simply providing my experience and how I’m using the tracker to try and help my body better heal from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (MECFS). I have not discussed using the fitbit with my doctors, but I plan to at my next appointments. Okay now that that’s all out of the way, let’s get to it!

If you spend any time at all in the chronic illness areas of social media you are sure to see a myriad of ideas online to help heal your illness(es). As we all know, what helps one person certainly doesn’t necessarily help another, but still we try some of these things out because many of us are thinking, ‘what if this is the thing that makes me feel 5% better? I must at least try it out.’ And that’s how I ended up with a fitbit.

The device comes in small and large, no medium, and even though my wrist is small I got the large because I’d rather it be loose, but it fits perfectly. I did buy an aftermarket pink wristband on Amazon for like $7.00 and I love it. I was initially worried that I would struggle to figure how to use the device. At one point in my life I was a bit of a wiz at electronic devices but these days, well brain fog. Thankfully, it initially walks you through a setup, whether online or on your phone, so it’s pretty much ready to go once you walk through the steps.

If you’re wondering what it monitors and tracks (list not complete) here are some of the more handy features I’ve found helpful:

  • Calendar notices on wrist device – uses my iphone calendar
  • Food (daily calories consumed and burned) – requires food input on app/online
  • Heart Rate – automatically through wrist (Below is an average day for me. I’m not doing anything but maybe sitting up in bed or going down to make tea or grab food to warm up. Just to explain, anytime above 98 it’s time to lie flat.)IMG_1961
  • Monthly Cycle (females only) – requires initial input then it tracks automatically
  • Sleep – automatically through wrist (The below is a better night for length of time asleep but I still woke up exhausted. Anyone have any deep sleep they don’t want?)IMG_1960
  • Stepcounter – automatically through wrist
  • Text and phone calls – Notifications on wrist
  • Water – requires your input on app/online
  • Weight – requires your input on app/online

Pros

  • Sleep– I was shocked to find that how I feel when I wake up directly correlates to how much deep sleep I’ve had. I’ve learned that a decrease in deep sleep leaves me feeling worse than normal in morning. Some nights I have close to normal deep sleep, other nights I have none, no rhyme or reason, but it explains a portion of the way I feel when I wake up. When you have an illness with little to no answers, it’s nice to be able to see correlations.
  • Water – It’s helped me to drink more water to meet my daily requirement, which was a number I selected.
  • Diet – Once you put in your food consumed throughout the day it tallies up calories (most foods auto populate so this is pretty easy) burned and also breaks down carbs/fat/protein by percentage so you can see where you’re at and decide if you need more balancing.
  • Rest– With the heart rate tracker I am finding that my heart rate increases when it’s time to lie flat to rest and I’m starting heed that call. I’ll let you know if it helps long term but fingers are crossed!
  • Anaerobic threshold (AT)– Although I’ve not formally had a doctor tell me what my AT is, although I do intend on doing that, I’ve used an online calculator and can monitor my heart rate to stop when I reach my AT. As I understand it via online information I’ve read the goal with CFS is stay below your AT to avoid PEM, flares and just generally feeling worse. On a good day I can reach my AT simply by making tea so it doesn’t take much to get there. The goal over time is with better pacing to be able to do a bit more before reaching AT.
  • Symptoms vs. heart rates– It’s become very clear to me which symptoms come with a higher heart rate. Now I’m immediately lying down flat until my heart rate returns to my normal resting heart rate and can feel some of these symptoms slip away at the same time. This can take the rest of the day, but now I know when it’s time. I also know if I wake up with a high resting heart rate I need to stay flat or I’m speeding into a flare.
  • Pacing – It automatically sets daily goals for a variety of things, but as I mentioned before you can go in and customize them to meet your energy envelope. Once I’ve met my daily goal I’ve found it’s time to stop so I don’t push myself into post exertion malaise (PEM). So far, this is helping. It’s so hard not to want to do that little bit more on my better days, but this is a great device to hold me accountable on when enough is enough.
  • Reminders to move– It reminds you to move once an hour. I don’t do this yet, but it does make me giggle when the little messages pop up with things like – take me for a walk to reach your steps. Have I personified the fitbit? No! Yes! Well, maybe a little. It’s nice to have company. 😉
  • Settings are customizable– As I mentioned above you can set the dailys goals to your abilities. My daily step goal is much lower than a healthy person, that’s okay, I just do what I can safely without spiking my heart rate into AT. Somedays that’s possible, someday’s it’s not, and I’m hoping in time I can increase the goals.
  • Calendar reminders– This is good for doctor’s appointments, medications, and any other reminder you have set in your calendar. It’ll come across your wrist device with a gentle buzz to get your attention.

Cons

  • Not waterproof– Showers are one of my biggest challenges and it’s not waterproof so I cannot wear it in the shower. I suspect my heart rate soars in the shower and it’d be nice to be able to track that more efficiently.
  • Expensive– It’s not cheap, but it’s an investment in my health and I’m hopeful that long range it will teach me to better pace.
  • No alarm settings– Ideally, I’d like to be notified when my heart rate goes from aerobic to anaerobic, but at this point this device does not do that. As I understand it other devices do and I think in time this one will too.

In summary, I’m glad I bought it! It’s very customizable and has already helped me be more accountable to my water and food consumption. I’m still under calories every day, but now I know that I’m eating a pretty balanced diet and not eating more calories than my body is using. It’s also helped me to start to shift away from the boom and bust cycle.

‘Boom and bust’ cycles

Cycles of fluctuating activity levels and symptoms, which are a common feature of CFS/ME. Boom and bust cycles can happen when a person with CFS/ME is overactive when they are feeling better, which may lead to an increase in symptoms and a decrease in function.

I’m not expecting miracles but considering the crash/flare I just went through, any improvement is welcome!

Thank you for stopping by. I’ll keep you posted. Please let me know if you have any thoughts in the comments. And a few more of my doodles. 😁

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

19 thoughts on “Fitbit Charge 2 Review

      1. Samantha

        You may already have a good blood pressure machine. If not, invest in one with Bluetooth technology. I bought a ReliOn from WalMart. I downloaded their app. It allows me to share my readings to my iPhone, email myself, print, then take to my doctor. It shows my bp & hr. I wish my cardiologist and neurologist could meet your cardiologist. They need an education.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Apple Watch is too expensive for me😬, but it’s definitely the better option as far as having an anaerobic alarm. I do have a blood pressure machine but it does not have blue tooth. I have to say though the Fitbit when compared to my blood pressure machine is right on. So that’s a relief.😊 But I’ll check into the one you’re talking about as it sounds very thorough and useful. And yes, so many of the health care professionals I’ve seen have been disappointing. I hold faith though that there are oodles of amazing and knowledgeable doctors out there. Thank you for stopping by for a read! 🌸

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Samantha

        You’re very welcome. 😊 I’ve had my share of disappointing neurologists and only recently found a good one. Thankfully, my cardiologist was well-versed in dysautonomia, and I’ve been with him over a decade.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Ugh. I’ve read some interesting journal articles on how a subset of CFS patients have comorbid secondary dysautonomia and could really benefit from treating it. I now know my dysautonomia is comorbid to EDS, but if EDS is probably in the top five unofficial most common causes of secondary dysautonomia, CFS sounds like it’s, if not up there with it, at least also top ten. Treating dysautonomia of any type makes a huge difference in quality of life if it’s comorbid. It’s a pity doctors, unlike research scientists, aren’t required to keep up with the literature. I’m sure at this point I know more about it at this point than most doctors simply because I have that journal access as part of my job and a personal massive incentive to keep up. Good luck – and keep those recordings for the doctor who does believe. My careful records over three months helped me finally get my test and proper diagnosis and treatment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I learn so much from your comments. I will definitely continue to track and then give to Cardiologist. I know POTs is very common in CFS patients, but I didn’t know about EDS. I even took a POTs printout to the last Dr but he wasn’t open to receiving information from me. I know what’s happening is not normal because it didn’t use to happen when I was well and it came on overnight so it was not deconditioning. I plan to keep trying for answers and treatment. 💪 Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I really appreciate it.💙

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Samantha

    Thank you SO much for this informative article. I’ve been researching which type of wearable device to buy for a long time. I’ve even started asking the nurses at my specialists what they are wearing. 😂 Their needs are different usually. Most are simply dieting. So far, everyone I’ve asked has told me Apple watched. They are so expensive, and while we are Apple people with the exception of my Kindle fire tablets, I hate spending that much on a watch when my phone does everything for me. One nurse did recommend Garmin, and she felt wearable blood pressure monitors would be in our future. But she told me to never trust a wrist bp monitor.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you’ve found your FitBit useful. Tracking your symptoms + activity can be a really helpful way to find what causes flare-ups and how to structure your day to prevent them. I used to keep an energy diary (this was before HR trackers were really a “thing”) and now just use my BP cuff or smartwatch to check my BP/HR if I’m feeling rotten to see if it’s my POTS acting up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by for a read! I’m hoping to take the results to the doctor for better explanations. I really haven’t a clue what it all means I’m just trying to feel any bit better … I know preaching to the choir because aren’t we all? I’m 100% having to teach myself this stuff because I’ve yet to find a dr who … cares/has CFS knowledge/wants to have CFS knowledge/all of the above. Baby steps! 😊

      Like

      1. It’s hard isn’t it? If you are prone to tachycardia you might benefit from seeing a cardiologist familiar with dysautonomia, though I’m not sure if you’ve already pursued that option

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for the advice. I really appreciate it. 💙 I’ve seen a handful of cardiologists, awaiting a referral to another now. Since I’m not in cardiac arrest they don’t do anything, nor diagnose me with anything. One said, “yes you are having problems with your heart but I don’t think it’s your heart causing the problem. Sorry nothing I can do for you.” Another said “low blood pressure doesn’t kill you so I’m not worried.” When I say I’ve been dismissed at a level of malpractice I’m not kidding. I know health insurance in other countries isn’t perfect but I promise you it’s better than here. Unless you can shell out thousands and you aren’t immediately dying they just turn their backs. Rant over. I’m sorry I should erase this but I’m going to leave it in case anyone else is reading it in the US. I want them to know they aren’t alone. And thank you again. I greatly appreciate hearing advice from people who have had medical care and actually know what’s going on with their bodies because a doctor was kind enough to explain. I know that dr is out there for me.

        Like

  4. Glad you’ve found the FitBit useful. I recently bought a cheap Heart Rate Monitor, and it is interesting to see how little it takes to raise your heart rate, and also monitor sleep. Like you, I don’t have a lot of deep sleep! I need to use my HRM more regularly I think. You never know, the findings may help with visits to the GP! Hope you find it helps a little with managing symptoms.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for stopping by for a read! I do plan on taking the results to the cardiologist…finally proof in hand! 💪 And yes, hoping it helps with pacing overall. It’s been fascinating to see certain symptoms perfectly correlate with lack of deep sleep and high HR. You are so right, it’s almost shocking to see how fast the heart rate soars! My SO got one at the same time so we compare charts. His is always normal while mine is allll over the place. Just validates what I’ve been saying for four years now. I guess the validation alone is worth it. 😁 Wishing you a good week. 🌸

      Like

  5. Pingback: Messages in a Bottle #6: Cool as a Snowball in H#ll – Lavender and Levity

    1. We’re currently experiencing a heat wave. No AC. My heart rate has been soaring all day as my body is fighting to cool me off. It’s miserable in so many different ways. 😕However having the Fitbit on has helped me understand perhaps a bit of why heat is so incredibly uncomfortable now. Hoping all is well as can be with you. Wishing you steadier heart rates.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.