Do You Fitbit?

Last year, Steve and I began counting steps on our iPhones. Since I don’t carry my phone around with me all the time, it missed a whole bunch steps, and I felt gypped. If I clean the house, it’s easily 10,000 steps. I want those steps. They are mine. If I spend an afternoon cleaning showers and tubs, then I want something for it. I want bragging rights. So, I got a fitbit last spring before a vacation to Puerto Rico. I knew I was going to walk a lot. and I wanted to record all that goodness in one place.

We did walk around a lot during that vacation. I got some nice numbers and charts and graphs. (Yay, data!) But then the thing got put in a drawer for several months. I forgot to charge it. It looks kinda dorky. I see old people in the mall wearing them. It’s a huge fashion faux pas.

And then my friend, Susan, got one and started obsessively managing her steps and bragging about her steps. City Girl easily beat my old numbers, and I didn’t like City Girl to win. So, I started wearing it again in June, which was about when the kids finished school. Rather than go to the gym and leave Ian home alone for an hour and a half, I started running for forty minutes. Running three miles every morning meant that I sometimes beat City Girl’s numbers, which made me very happy.  I even ran a 31 minute 5K a few weeks ago, which put me on the same pace as the basically-in-shape-octoginarians.

Three months later after all that fitbitting and running, I really should see a difference on the scale. I don’t. All those studies say that fitbits give you the halo of health, meaning you think you’re healthier, but if you don’t change what you eat, you won’t lose weight. I eat okay, but it’s hard to avoid pizza in a house with teenagers.

I haven’t lost much weight, but 40 minutes of outdoor exercise is a major, MAJOR life changer. I am fitting into jeans more smoothly. I’m happier. I’m more productive. I’ve gotten hooked on new music on Spotify.

I’m working a lot right now. I’m working on three articles simultaneously this week. But I’m determined to hold onto my halo of health.

26 thoughts on “Do You Fitbit?

  1. I don’t get motivated by tracking and I read “the circle” and decided not to get one. But without my 4-6x per week power walk (only 30 min) sometimes at 5:45 am, I’d be a crazy person…psychological health is important too. I long ago figured out I’m a morning exerciser. Also I like to bike and swim.

  2. Glad you’re finding the Fitbit motivational. I thought they were silly until I got one. My wife and I have had them for a couple years now and do indeed find they keep us moving. They’re waterproof, too, in our experience, and help us maintain our lap swimming regimen. We haven’t lost much weight, but we are more toned–clothes fit better, as you point out–and I can get through my classes (we both teach at a community college) much more energetically. We are closer to the “octogenarians” you mention–we’re both 65–so fashion statement is not an issue. Unless, of course, we really want to look like all the other old people. I guess we do.

  3. I love my Fitbit Alta. It’s small and sleek enough that I tell myself that nobody notices or, if they do, it’s nice. And since I always wore a truly unfashionable watch on that wrist before, how is this any worse?

    I’m pleased to see that my active teaching time (i.e. not leading seminars, but working in big undergraduate classes), will easily give me forty active minutes in an eighty-minute class. I get around a lot!

  4. The buses were stupid crowded and it was a nice day, so I walked most of the way home. I’m at 17,708 steps, plus I caught a Lapras. I’m thinking of marching around the house until I hit 18,000 steps.

  5. Anything that gets people moving is a good thing but for me? I’m not into fitbits. It feels too “monitor-y”.

    We’ve set up our lives to have as much “vicarious” activity as possible. We live 20 minutes from our daughter’s school so there’s 40 minutes a day of walking. Plus the standard poodle who needs a third walk each day. And we live within a few blocks of a grocer, etc. More walking.

    I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, I’m not immune to that blasted slowing down of the metabolism. I have to work out more and with a higher intensity to maintain the same level of fitness. To that end I have the luxury of a personal trainer who I see twice a week. Forget baubles and gadgets – that trainer is luxury enough! She’s 29, a semi pro soccer player and a physiotherapist. In other words, super fit and a great motivator with high expectations.

    I also try to spin once a week. Twice a week would be wonderful but finding the time is a challenge. I haven’t found any cardio to match the intensity of a good 45 minute spin class.

    We also outrigger canoe when time permits (fantasy of taking part in a race in Maui some year). You can canoe all year round here in Vancouver as long as you have adequate rain gear.

    And the companion to this is avoiding processed food as much as possible. I’ll never follow a detailed regimen nor track/count calories. Instead, I have a few things that I “do” – eat a big salad every day, stay hydrated, avoid processed foods. I’m not THAT virtuous as I do love a bit of chocolate every day with my coffee!

      1. You’re right, they’re not steps, they’re roads. But still. If I am pulling 50 kilos of trailer for 30-40km, then I want it in the monthly and annual averages somehow.

  6. I used mine for about a year. I eventually stopped using it, because I concluded it was not telling me anything I did not already know: many more steps taken during nice-weather seasons. My weight did not drop.

  7. If your jeans fit better and you are happier and more productive; why do you care about the number on the scale? Isn’t feeling better the point?

  8. I did great with a simple pedometer postpartum, but have had to give up that style of exercise because the podiatrist says to be more moderate. It’s been a chore finding exercise that I like, that is convenient, and that doesn’t wind up hurting me.

    My current thing is the join-Weight-Watchers-but-don’t-go diet. I got a good deal on WW and joined about two months ago. I’ve since realized that I’m not ready for the commitment of WW, but since I joined, I’ve been to two (2.0) meetings, haven’t learned the program, have counted (but not really limited) calories. The only positive is that I have actually had a moderate uptick in physical activity. And we’re entering into the can-actually-go-outside portion of the year, so yay! Also, I have a recumbent stationary bike that I like and have just started watching Season 2 of Fixer Upper on HGTV. And it turns out that I can do a little Wii yoga with Baby Girl at home with me (I really like the Wii feedback). When she’s home, I’ve also hired Big Girl to be my yoga buddy ($2 per 15 min. session).

    I finally checked my weight this past week (after nearly two months of not checking it) and expected something horrible, but it turned out that I’m about 7 pounds down from when I first weighed in at WW. A couple pounds of that is probably due to different weighing circumstances, but 5 pounds of it has got to be real, genuine weight loss.

    Husband, meanwhile, has gotten fantastic results from indoor rock climbing.

    I think actually liking your exercise is really important.

    1. The very most effective exercise is The Pushaway. As in, you push your plate away… on the other hand, it is NOT an exercise I actually like!

  9. For various reasons, I’ve been walking a great deal this month. My average for September is 14,500 steps a day. I don’t even own jeans, but I have noticed my right hip hurts.

      1. MH said:

        “Anyway, I’ve decided that being past 45 means that “no pain” isn’t really an option while “no Type II diabetes” is.”


        My husband’s solution is to have several different activities he likes, and every time he gets one kind of injury, he rotates to the next activity and hurts a different part of his body.

        We go through a lot of aspirin at our house, but that has some side benefits.

      2. I have finally admitted that my ankle problems are never going to improve enough for me to run seriously again. So, I have started swimming. Now I have sore shoulders instead of extreme ankle pain. I’ll take it.

    1. When I walk a lot I also get hip pain. I am feel I am far to young for hip arthritis, but unfortunately genetics are not on my side.

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