The holidays can be super frustrating if you haven’t had any major changes in your life status. It happens to everyone. Whether you’re single, or you’re dating and haven’t gotten engaged – or you’re engaged and haven’t gotten married, or married or haven’t had a baby, or had a baby but haven’t had another baby … whatever it is, you probably had those well-meaning friends and relatives look at you with a frozen smile and pointedly ask “what’s new with you?” You know what they’re asking, but for me, the most honest and accurate response would be something along the lines of Kelly Kapoor’s answer:
This year, the biggest change in my life status has been a Fitbit. It’s like having a baby. Hear me out. It alters the way you go about your daily business, and you have so much to say about it, but unless you’re talking to someone else who has one, you assume they either can’t really understand or don’t really care. When someone would say “so, what’s new with you?” with that doofy grin, what I really wanted to say was “I have a Fitbit now! And…” And here are all the things that would come after that “and,” if I were being completely honest:
Sleep isn’t just sleep. If you asked me before Fitbit, I’d have told you that I probably got a solid 8 hours of sleep a night. Now I can tell you that I’m restless 16 times a night, like this:
But do you ever forget to tell your Fitbit that you’ve woken up? That’s the worst, because it still tracks your steps, but you’re also forced to confront those broad swaths of cobalt blue that mean you’re so motionless that your Fitbit thinks you’re asleep:
Sometimes the FitBit thinks you’ve tapped it to track sleep, but you’ve actually pushed a shopping cart over bumpy grocery store tile, or played Rondo A Capriccio on the piano – both happened to me just this week. If you don’t notice it right away, you’ll be amazed by how often the Fitbit thinks you’re sleeping when you’re just being lazy.
And those nights when I charge it while I sleep? It’s like a slumber party in fourth grade – all I want to do is stay up late because I can.
It’s always a minor crisis when that sucker’s battery runs out. I now understand, by way of analogy, what depression must be like. I don’t say that to make light of people who have it. I just mean that when it’s charging I find myself thinking “why should I even move? Why get up? If I go for a walk or if I stay in this chair, it’s all the same – what’s the point?”
You know it’s bad when you consider buying a backup Fitbit so you’re never without a battery.
One part of the Fitbit lifestyle I can’t get behind is the calorie tracking. I’m pretty short and lightweight, and the estimated calories per day for me are almost laughably low. Even when I lift weights and walk 20,000 steps, the calories burned never get anywhere near the 2,000 neighborhood. If you’re active, short and thin, please understand that it might make you crazy.
I sort of wish there was a setting where you could tell the FitBit that you’re sick, and it would reward you for doing nothing. Or when it’s really cold out, it automatically would adjust how much it expected you to do. During the fall I was logging 15 – 20,000 steps a day without even thinking about it, but that gets a lot harder to do when your hands turn blue and red within minutes of going outside. I just had a few days of 30 degree (F) weather (what a treat!) and I was like a kid on the first sunny day in spring, so when I say I quit when it’s cold, I mean really cold.
I find myself making unnecessary trips during the day, like walking from my seventh floor office to the second floor bathrooms, or buying my coffee from the farther-away coffee shop. Neither of us here would consider ourselves athletic people. We’re just not very team sports-y. But I look at my daily steps and realize that I’m at least an active person. I’m pretty much always moving. Our most recent blog meeting found Traci pacing around a kitchen table to meet her step goal. This didn’t seem weird to me, and besides, we’ve both been reading about how sitting will kill you and it has us a little nervous.
You start to discover how many things you can do while pacing. For instance, this post you’re reading? I wrote the first draft on my phone while bouncing on the balls of my feet. If someone had passed by my window, I like to think that I could have pointed to the rubbery band on my wrist (something I NEVER would have worn before Fitbit) and they would have nodded knowingly. If you have one, you just get it. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, when you ask what’s new with me I probably won’t tell you all of this.