Jennifer Wilber is a teacher and writer. She is also a fitness enthusiast who enjoys yoga, and has an interest in health and wellness.
How is the Leaf Different from Other Fitness Trackers?
The Leaf by BellaBeat is a health and fitness tracker designed especially for women, and it is my favorite fitness tracker among those I have tried. It is stylishly designed to look more like jewelry than like a fitness tracker. There is no screen and it syncs to an app on your smartphone. It is simple to use and stylish enough to blend into your everyday work wardrobe, so you can track your activity throughout the day.
Not only does it track your activity levels, it can also predict your stress levels, track meditation progress, and track your menstrual cycle via the accompanying BellaBeat Health app, which is available on iPhone and Android. The Leaf is designed especially for busy women and helps you to live a healthier life.
While there are some aspects of the BellaBeat Health app that could be improved in future updates, the Leaf, with its accompanying mobile app, is a solid fitness tracker that seamlessly fits the lifestyle of busy women.
How to Use the Leaf
The Leaf is a very simple to use fitness tracker. When you first get it, simply open the app and pull the plastic activation tab from the Leaf device. Sign up for a BellaBeat account in the BellaBeat health app if you have not already done so, then follow the instructions on the screen to sync your Leaf to the app.
It will tell you to double tap on the Leaf device to sync, which may be confusing, since there is no button on the device. Simply use one or two fingers to tap on the front of the device, on top of the metal clip. The accelerometer inside of the device will detect your taps and connect the device to your phone. You are now ready to wear your Leaf and set up your personal goals in the app. You can customize your activity, sleep, and meditation goals, set up the period tracking feature, choose how you want to wear your Leaf, set personalized alarms, and customize the inactivity alert to better fit your lifestyle.
You can also change the name of your Leaf in the settings. By default, it will be randomly named after a flower. Mine was called “Leaf Daffodil” when I got it, but I changed it to “Leaf Rose,” as I prefer roses and have the rose gold version of the device.
Three Different Ways to Wear the Leaf
Unlike other fitness trackers than can only be worn on the wrist, or old school pedometers than could only be clipped onto your clothing, the leaf can be worn several different ways. Whenever you change the placement of your Leaf, it is important to also change the placement in settings in the app to keep your Leaf’s tracking data accurate.
The Leaf can be worn as a bracelet and comes with a double-wrap bracelet. If you don’t like the included bracelet, or if you want more choices, there are other option available online from BellaBeat, as well as from other sellers on Etsy, Amazon, and eBay. You can opt for dressier bracelet styles to match different outfits for special occasions, or sportier styles to give it a more traditional fitness band look.
The Leaf can also be clipped onto your shirt or to the waistband of your pants. This option makes it easy to wear your Leaf, even if your work dress code doesn’t allow for accessories. By clipping it to your pants, you can wear it discreetly, and no one has to know you are wearing a fitness tracker.
You can also clip it to your shirt, which makes it look like a fashionable brooch or pin.
The Leaf can also be worn as a necklace. A necklace matching the Leaf hardware (rose gold or silver) is included with the Leaf. As with the bracelet, there are other necklace options available to purchase separately online, including mala bead necklaces. The necklace option seems to be the least accurate in terms of tracking your steps and activity.
The BellaBeat Health App
The Leaf syncs with the BellaBeat Health app, which also connects to the Apple Health app. It tracks your daily activity, sleep, water intake, meditation, stress levels, and your period. From the settings, you can set personalized goals for daily activity, sleep, and meditation. You can also set personalized alarms and inactivity alerts from the device settings.
The Leaf tracks your steps and daily activity, including providing an estimate of how many calories you burned during each activity. You can also manually add the particular exercises you participated in, such as yoga or cycling, for a more accurate calorie count.
It is important to go into the app and change the placement settings if you decide to change how you are wearing your Leaf, otherwise the activity tracking feature won’t be as accurate. To do this, you have to go into the settings on the app and click on the device settings. Changing the settings can be a little cumbersome since you have to click through several menus. I hope future updates for the app move this feature to the home screen in the app.
The most accurate placement during most types of exercise seems to be clipped to your pants or belt.
The BellaBeat Leaf will track your sleep habits if it is worn while you sleep. It can monitor how long it takes you to fall asleep, how long you spend in light and deep sleep, and when you wake up. From the app, you can set a personalized sleep goal.
This tracker encourages you to reach your sleep goal, but it doesn’t seem to take oversleeping into account. For example, if you sleep for 9-10 hours, it says you got enough rest, which reduces your predicted stress levels, but says nothing about oversleeping. I feel that oversleeping too much could indicate that you are overstressed, or that depression symptoms are getting worse, which should be taken into account when calculating the stress resistance data.
The BellaBeat Health app can help you track your daily water intake in a couple of ways. You can manually enter in how much water you drink, or you can pair the BellaBeat Spring smart water bottle to the app in addition to the Leaf. The Spring smart water bottle automatically tracks how much water you drink each day and sends you reminders if it notices that you haven’t been drinking enough. I’m not sure how useful the Spring water bottle really is, but it is an option if you need extra reminders to stay hydrated.
There are several guided meditations that you can access directly from the BellaBeat Health app. The first one I tried was the “Deep Ocean Ambient Journey” meditation. This meditation started with the horrible squawking of seagulls, so I quickly exited that meditation and tried the “Calming Anxiety” meditation instead. This one was much better.
The app also allows you to manually enter meditation if you want to meditate on your own without using one of the included guided meditations. For accurate meditation tracking, BellaBeat recommends that you clip your Leaf to your pants so that it can more accurately monitor your breathing.
The stress tracking feature is a little bit confusing to interpret. It uses data from the sleep, activity, meditation, and period tracking to predict the stress levels you might be experiencing. These data points are displayed on a graph when you click “Stress tracking” in the app. The graph displays red when the app thinks you are experiencing high levels of stress, orange if you might be experiencing some stress, and green when your stress is under control. It takes a few days of gathering data for the stress tracker to work properly.
One of the biggest differences between the Leaf and other fitness trackers is that the Leaf can be used to track your period. Many women are already using a separate app to record this data, but the BellaBeat app makes it easy to track it from the same app. It also uses period data to predict stress levels to help you to manage your stress.
The BellaBeat Health app allows you to set up to four alarms for your Leaf Nature or Leaf Urban, which make your Leaf gently vibrate at the specified times. The alarms can be set from the settings menu. The default labels for the alarms are “Wake-up,” “Vitamins,” “Alarm,” and “Oral Contraceptive Pill,” though you can change them to suit your own needs. The first three alarms are “general alarms,” which can be set to repeat just on specific days of the week, and the last one is a “Special Alarm” that repeats every day at the same time.
I find the alarm to be too gentle to work as a wake-up alarm. I only notice the vibrations from the alarm when I am already awake at the set time anyway, which defeats the purpose of using the alarm. Perhaps it is more effective for light sleepers, or those using it for medication and vitamin reminders.
I chose this fitness tracker, in part, because of the design. I have the Leaf Nature in rose gold. Each model of the Leaf is designed to look like, well, a leaf. I chose the Leaf Nature because its design looks more like a real leaf, and the body of the tracker is made from real wood.
The metal clip does get fingerprint smudges on it very easily, so you will need to wipe it off frequently if this bothers you. The metal is hypoallergenic, so people with allergies don’t have to worry.
I’m also not a huge fan of the double-wrap bracelet that comes with the device, so I ordered a different one from the Etsy shop BellaLeafBoutique.
Overall, the design of the Leaf looks nicer and more sophisticated than the designs of most other fitness trackers.
What Are the Differences Between the Leaf Nature and the Leaf Urban?
Both versions of the Leaf offer the same functionality. The main difference between the Nature and the Urban is the design.
The body of the Leaf Nature is made from natural wood. The Silver Leaf Nature is made from American White Ash wood, and the Rose Gold Leaf Nature is made from African Blackwood.
The body of the Leaf Urban is made from wood composite, which gives it a stone-like appearance. The Silver and Rose Gold versions are each available in gray or black wood composite.
The dimensions of each version of the BellaBeat Leaf are also slightly different.
The Leaf Nature’s dimensions are:
Height: 1.89 inches (48 mm)
Width: 1.18 inches (30 mm)
Depth: 0.51 inches (13 mm)
Weight: 0.635 ounces (18 g)
While the Leaf Urban is slightly smaller overall:
Height: 1.85 inches (48 mm)
Width: 1.1 inches (28 mm)
Depth: 0.43 inches (11.5 mm)
Weight: 0.59 ounces (16.5 g)
So far, I love my Leaf Nature. It tracks my exercise and sleeping, which were the main things I was looking for in a fitness tracker. I also like that it can predict stress levels and that it can track my menstrual cycle in the same app. Because it doesn’t look like a typical fitness tracker, I can wear it anywhere and with any outfit, which is an improvement over other fitness trackers, in my opinion.
My only complaint so far is that it cannot connect to the MyFitnessPal app. I had a Jawbone UP band before switching to the Leaf, which did connect to the MyFitnessPal app. Overall, I prefer the BellaBeat Leaf to the Jawbone UP because it is more versatile and seems more durable so far. I just wish that the Leaf supported more fitness apps.
Overall, the BellaBeat Leaf is an excellent fitness and health tracker for women who want to track their health, but don’t want to sacrifice style.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber