Because I am nothing if not motivated by hard data and the dread of wasting money, I just purchased a Fitbit band and hope to receive it within the next 5-7 days. I’ve been toying with the idea of a device like this for a few months now. On one hand, my working class Midwestern Catholic upbringing told me that if I couldn’t get off my ass like a normal person, then I didn’t deserve any fancy gadgetry. On the other hand, I realized that one of the things I liked about having a treadmill was that I could track distance run and calories burned (even only in estimate form). I mean, I hated the actual getting up and running if I already had my fat pants on, but once I was doing it and could see that information, it made the ordeal into a workable process and, when completed, a thing I had done rather than “this goddamn fucking bullshit I hate everything I am throwing this away.”
I chose the Fitbit because the wristband device is more discreet than BodyBugg and seems more durable than Jawbone (even though Jawbone is by far the coolest name and I am only a little bit sad that I don’t think it would work out for me). Also, it doesn’t require a subscription even though one is an option, so if at some point I decide that I’m not enjoying the hell out of my regular dashboard, then I can upgrade to the premium version which is like $50 a year. That makes it the most affordable plan I’ve seen, and the reviews of both the free and premium versions are pretty good. I most definitely did not want a Nike Fuel Band because a) ew, Nike and b) $150 for a band?! Are you shitting me?!
Ultimately, I purchased a thing because I need to get up off my ass, and I need to prove to myself that I’m doing it well enough. The bottom line is that I’m fat as hell, but also, I’ve noticed that as I’ve aged, I’m not as strong or flexible as I once was, and yes, while I do have some bitchin’ hamstrings and an ass (not a great one, but for my body type, an ass is an accomplishment) thanks to Seattle’s hills, the rest of me is not as impressive, and I’d rather spend my time being stoked about the goals I’ve reached rather than thinking about how fucking gross I feel.
The Fitbit device I chose logs activity and, based on goals you enter to your dashboard, how close you are to achieving them. You also use your dashboard to log the calories you’ve consumed, and although I’m not a calorie counter and don’t even own a scale, I’m interested in using the data to move my lazy ass more.
(Please don’t lecture me on how calories are actually units of energy and that’s why I should count them blah blah blah. Yeah, I know, I passed high school science. It’s just that I eat pretty well as it is (there’s currently half a buttercup squash stuffed with apples, cabbage, onions, cranberries, and triticale berries in my oven, whaaaat) and while I will continue to eat like I do/want, I mostly just want to use that stuff wisely.)
I never would have known that systems like Fitbit, BodyBugg, or Jawbone existed had it not been for Stephanie, who got BodyBugg a few years ago and used it to get ridiculously hot for her wedding. She also started doing this thing called GymPact, and I’m a bit hazy on it for reasons I’ll go into in a minute, but apparently you commit to a certain number of workouts or something, and you get charged actual money if you don’t complete them? I understand the concept – like I said, I am highly motivated by the dread of wasting money – but this kind of thing would never work for me, primarily because I don’t like the gym.
At all. I really, really, really hate going to the gym, possibly because I spent years working at them. While I know they work for a lot of people, I have sold enough memberships in my times and watched enough people just quit (I also have the quitter gene) that it seems like a total waste for a schlub like me. Just, the people, and all the stuff, and the paying for it when I loathe everything about it…misery. I’d rather just run in a park or something where the trail feels like a proper Pacific Northwest rainforest. And now that I’ve convinced Courtney and Mike and Josh to go running with me (sometimes), I estimate that at least two runs a week can be done with at least one of my friends, and the other ones can be me catching up on podcasts once I get one of those things that straps onto my arm and holds my phone.
I am only mildly concerned that the Fitbit will turn me into a sort of plugged-in robot person, which, okay, it won’t really, but when I think about it charting how I move and sleep and syncing to a system that knows how I eat and basically that’s my energy usage altogether which is really my entire biological electrical system and then I think about all of the sci-fi I’ve read, it’s sort of weird. A little bit. But not enough to keep me from trying.
But this will not become a fitness blog! Because those are terrible! It will remain a blog about food, cats, and cursing! Mostly because I am demonstrably incapable of changing certain social handicaps and no amount of exercise will change that.