About a year ago I made the switch from a Nike Fuelband to the much hyped fitness tracker called the Fitbit charge.The Fitbit as you may already know tracks your steps, floors climbed, calories burned and sleep – just to name a few. I made this life altering change when my son decided he needed an upgrade and bought himself a Garmin. Yaay!
Little did I know that this hand-me down Fitbit would transform my life. Not necessarily in a good way – but that is still up for debate. My days quickly moved from peaceful to panic and frenzied when I developed a constant habit to tap my band and check my steps. I’m walking from the car park to the school gate, I bet I can get 300 steps. Or wait, maybe 350 if I pump my arms. I nervously tap my band, and what … I just have a 100! Mental note to self – park the car even further next time!
The first few days went by and I would eye people who would also be supporting the Fitbit on their wrists. I started seeing them everywhere – coffee shops, super markets, even doctors offices.I instantly wanted to ‘friend’ them and I gave them a smile that would mean we are in some sort of ‘Fitbit cult’. Apparently randomly smiling to strangers isn’t all that its made out to be.
Things were going well. I was reaching my modest goal of 10K steps per day. Life was good. Then I got invited to a Fitbit challenge on the app. The Fitbit app lets you add your friends (who also have a Fitbit) and take part in daily or weekly challenges. I’m fairly competitive when it comes to things like this -almost in a Monica Geller type of way. I cannot not win. That is never an option. And so it began. 10k was no longer enough. I was trying to get steps in any which way I could. This now meant that the morning gym sessions were clearly not enough to win these challenges. I would be pacing in the bedroom at 11:30 at night – trying to get in some more steps before the Fitbit reset to zero at midnight. My husband who supports me in all my craziness, would reassuringly tell me from his half sleep state ‘don’t worry, you will win the challenge’. Me – ‘you bet I will! Just need to get in 1000 more steps for a comfortable lead’.
Obsession continued. I started asking my kids how many steps they got when I picked them up from school. If they had more than me, they would nervously tell me they had PE and we really must drive back home and not walk. I found myself doing high-knees in the bathroom, marching in place while watching Grey’s Anatomy (that by the way can you get you 2K steps – pretty cool!), and pacing around the dining table while everyone enjoyed dinner. And at last when a friend asked me how my day was going? My response had permanently changed to the Fitbit lingo, ‘Great. I got in 6K steps today before lunch’. And my friend managed a weak smile in response.
I have come a long way now from my crazy, obsessed Fitbit days. I can almost say I am no longer pacing around the house, or walking around aimlessly to get my steps. I do my morning fitness routine and occasional evening walks but that’s about it. And I still participate in the Fitbit challenges and look forward to the ‘trophies’ and ‘badges’ on the app. And of course bragging rights.
Can’t wait to get my hands on my son’s Garmin. Maybe that will get me running around town!