I’ve been using my Fitbit (this year’s birthday present, Yay!) for close to a month now. When I got started I felt like I’d nail the 10,000 steps every single day. After all, it’s just a matter of being more active, right? You just need to walk around every hour, take the long way to the restroom, take the stairs instead of the lift, and just generally be a superior (and annoying) person. Right? As it turns out, the goal is not that straight forward.
Here’s the arithmetic:
10,000 steps a day basically commits you to a walk (or a run) every single day.
That’s the problem, isn’t it? If I was walking or running every single day to start with, I wouldn’t need a Fitbit. I would have perfect abs and a smug look on my face while I watched you eat samosas. I would wear net or chiffon saris every single day. I would not have to will my creaking joints to rise off the floor after feeding my son dinner. You would be caught unaware by my awesomeness which would travel through this screen, over the internet, lie patiently and bedazzle you just as you groggily and browse your daily feed. The bedazzling would be done by my “look how hot I look” selfies.
Alas, and perhaps it’s better for the world that it is so, I do not exercise every day. I simply can’t find the time. I work long hours, I have a young kid, and I’m lazy. Those are the things I’ve hidden behind. Lately, I’ve had to stop making these excuses because the evidence stares me right in the face. Obesity and/or heart disease will find me sooner than they did my parents. So I’ve finally started to haul myself off for a walk when I stay late in office to take calls or wait for someone else to finish their work. I haven’t reached smugness-worthy levels of activity yet but I can see the difference.
The other thing my Fitbit tracks is sleep. It measures, quite accurately, how long I sleep and how restful or restless the sleep is. The good thing is I again have the evidence of terrible sleep habits. I do not sleep as early or as long as I like to believe I do (timestamp of this post is also evidence). Not just that, I also don’t sleep as well in an air conditioned room as I do sleeping on a thin mattress on the floor under a fan. The bad news is, instead of waking up and taking a moment to just be happy about the day ahead, I rush to sync my Fitbit.
What I love about the Fitbit is the data. I can’t make excuses when there’s hard evidence telling me to exercise more and sleep more. What I hate about the Fitbit is the data. I have different levels of energy each day. So while 10,000 steps is a breeze on some days it’s agonizing to even get to 6k on others (There you are, end of cycle energy slump!). Too much data shifts the focus from how I feel to how well I did. It’s like having a daily report card. Here’s what it looks like on a good day:
My goal this year was to be healthy and given that I’m not highly self-motivated, I’m going to stick with using my Fitbit for another 11 months. After that, I’m going to trust my newer, sharper instincts.
Month 1: Learned to be more conscious of how much I’m moving.
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