Friday, August 18, 2017

I Got Bit by the FitBit

Yes, I'm overweight. Yes, my wife got me a FitBit. Yes, she worried that by getting me a FitBit it would look like she was saying, "Hey, tubby, get off of your butt and start exercising!" Yes, she got it for me anyway, because she knows me well enough to know that that's not what I would think. (I actually want to exercise and get in better shape.)

When I opened the present that contained the FitBit, the idea that my wife got it for me because she thought I was fat didn't even cross my mind. Instead, my first thoughts were, "Does it actually work?" and "Do I have to wear it all the time?" And, after about two months of use, I've found the answer to both of those questions is, "Pretty much."

I git a FitBit!

At first I wondered if the FitBit was a ploy by my wife to make me get rid of my old calculator nerd watch. I'd been wearing the same model of Casio calculator watch for over 20 years. It was big, bulky, and most definitely nerdy.

Super cool! (And if you turn it upside down it says, "hellooo!")
Meanwhile, the FitBit is sleek, small, and normal looking. When compared side by side, the FitBit is much more attractive. And, despite so many fewer buttons, much more functional.

Side by side comparison.
Initially I worried if I would miss all of the functions of my watch, but it turns out that among its many features, the FitBit is a pretty good watch. Like my old bulky thing, it has time, date, alarm, and stopwatch features. It also has a light, so I can read the time in the dark (which was the one big disadvantage of the Casio.) The only thing the old watch had that the FitBit doesn't is the calculator. But, in the two months since I switched to the FitBit, I've only reached down to my wrist to use my old calculator three times. I think the trade-offs are worth it. (Plus, I've got a calculator function on my phone if I really need it.)

So, what does the FitBit do? It does a lot! Including:
     *Keeps track of how many steps you take a day. (Goal: 10,000)
     *Keeps track of how many miles you walk a day. (Goal: 5 miles)
     *Keeps track of how many flights of stairs you climb a day. (Goal: 10)
     *Keeps track of how many calories you burn each day. (Goal: 3,333)
     *Keeps track of how many minutes you exercise each day. (Goal: 30 minutes)
     *Keeps track of how many hours during the day you take at least 250 steps.
     *Shows you your current heart rate. (Beats per minute.)
     *Keeps track of how much you sleep each night.
     *It knows when I am sleeping.
     *It knows when I'm awake.
     *It knows if I've been bad or good.
(I just realized that I might be wearing Santa Claus on my wrist!)

On a good day when I met all of my goals!

That's an amazing amount of stuff for a watch on your wrist to tell you! Is it 100% accurate? No. Because it's on your wrist, it can sometimes be fooled into thinking you are or aren't taking steps. I've found that separating and folding laundry makes my FitBit think I am walking. (I've gotten several hundred steps just sitting on the couch putting away kids' clothes.) On the other extreme, I took a quarter-mile walk while pushing a stroller and my FitBit thought I was able to traverse that distance in only 73 steps. (Since my arm was mostly motionless on the stroller handle, the FitBit didn't think I was walking.)

But, those minor inconveniences are rare and usually tend to even out. Since I started using the FitBit, I've found that I'm much more likely to get off of my butt and walk. I'll take an extra trip or two upstairs so I can get stair-climbing points. And, it gives me a little buzz at fifty minutes past the hour if I haven't taken 250 steps yet as a reminder that I should get up and get moving. (250 steps per hour isn't much, but it's easy to miss when you sit around on your butt as much as I do.) So, if you see me suddenly stand up and start walking in place for two minutes, don't think I'm weird--I'm just trying to get my 250 steps for the hour. (There are plenty of other reasons why you can think I'm weird.)

Have I lost a lot of weight since I've been using the FitBit? Not really. I've only lost about five pounds in two months. But that's mostly because I've just been paying attention to one prong of the two-prong weight-loss program. I've been doing good with the exercise prong, but I haven't done much with the watch-what-you-eat prong. (If I really want to lose weight I'll have to cut back on my donut, brownie, and apple fritter intake.)

All in all I'm very glad my wife got me the FitBit. With it I look a little less like a nerd. And, it's helping me get a bit more fit.

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