Tagged: goals

Addicted to Fitbit Flex

The other day I had mentioned to RunningWife that I was contemplating the purchase of a Fitbit tracker to keep tabs on my daily activity – after all, I’m kind of a technology nerd so having the online tracking really appeals to me. Being the amazing and supportive wife that she is, by the time I got home that night there was a gift waiting for me on the table.

I’ve had my Fitbit Flex for a little more than two weeks now and I absolutely, positively LOVE it!

The setup was a breeze and the integration with the app on my iPhone was a snap. But Fitbit may have created a monster!

Syncing On The Minute

When I first started wearing my Flex, I was syncing with the iPhone app all the time. And I mean all the time.

Walk from my desk to the printer at work – gotta check my steps!

Go to the bathroom – gotta check my steps!

Get out of bed and go downstairs – gotta check my steps!

I think you get the idea. It was like when you buy a stock for the first time and you’re constantly checking the market to see if you’ve made money or lost money. Or for anyone that has operated a blog before, it is akin to the constant check of Google Analytics to see how many visitors you’ve had on your site.

As time goes by, I imagine this will subside to some degree but it is so easy to quickly check how many steps you have in at any time. The nice thing about having that instant ability to check your steps, miles and minutes of activity is that you can quickly tell whether you need to kick it up a notch or two.

You’re Not Passing Me!

While checking your steps can be addicting, I have found that the real addiction has been how the natural competition with others has motivated me to be more active. As you connect with people on the Fitbit community, they will be displayed in your Friend Rankings.

The Friend Rankings are, as you can likely guess, a listing of the step totals for all of your Fitbit friends. The total is a rolling 7-day total, so as each day ends you might find yourself rising or dropping on the list. Now the really beautiful – and fun – part of this is that you can cheer your friends for the progress they are making and the goals they are achieving.

But the evil genius part is that you can taunt your friends too!

There have been more than a few nights where I am settled in for the night, pleased with the progress that I made that day, enjoying a little TV and then it happens – someone passes me by in the step count and sends me a taunt.

Oh no you didn’t! (Wag your finger and shake your head while saying that for the full effect.)

Seeing that taunt will get you up off the couch so you can do some more walking to add more steps to your daily total and pass the person that just passed you, so you can then throw their taunt right back in their face! Juvenile, perhaps – but it really can motivate you to keep as active as possible.

Long Term Benefits

Ultimately, the important this is to be up off of your butt, leading an active and healthy lifestyle. As time goes by, the appeal of the Fitbit Flex may wane (although being a little geeky I love having the stats to track over time – ask RunningWife about all of the spreadsheets I create, ha!) but before that happens you will have created a habit.

A habit of exercising.

A habit of eating healthy food choices.

A habit that will last you a lifetime, and will very likely extend your lifetime.

Since introducing the changes that I have been making to lead a healthier lifestyle, I have lost 19.5 pounds and am excited to exercise each and every day. I’m looking for ways to get up from my desk at work and be a little more active. Sitting on the couch all night after work is no longer the desirable choice.

Coming downstairs and realizing that I forgot something actually makes me smile now, as I get to run back up the stairs and add a handful of steps to my daily total.

Ultimately, the change to a healthier lifestyle has to come from within and you have to conquer the person in the mirror. But for me, I have found that the Fitbit Flex has been a huge catalyst to making those changes easier and a lot more fun!

Keep Your Eye On The Prize

Light at the End of the Tunnel

When I began this couch to 5k journey, there was an unspoken history of past attempts to get in better shape, lose weight, and lead a healthier lifestyle. Unspoken because obviously those attempts resulted in failure, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am now.

But is it really failure?

Yes and no. In the sense that those attempts did not result in the ultimate goal, yes it was a failure. However, there were many lessons learned during those times and that has contributed to my shift in mindset that has me in a better place now.

A Long Road

As the picture above represents, the journey to where I am going is definitely a long road with plenty of detours and alternate paths along the way.

Putting myself into that picture, over the last week I have found that I stopped along that long road and was distracted by the happenings taking place down one of the many corridors leading away from my end goal.

There have been changes at work, helping family clean up after flooding, and of course the events surrounding the tragedy at the Boston Marathon.

Keep Your Eye On The Prize

There is no question that all of these things are mere excuses for the fact that I only exercised once this past week. However, there is one key difference between now and all of those other attempts to improve my lifestyle; those attempts that resulted in failure.

I’ve accepted that I don’t have to be perfect.

It sounds silly, but in the past when I would find myself straying from the path I had defined, I would mentally view that as a complete failure and throw up my arms in defeat. I would revert to all of my old habits – lounging on the couch, eating far too many snacks, and generally not doing much of anything.

At least I gave it a try“, I would think.

Now, I have accepted that this long road I am traveling is going to have detours and there will be times that I don’t stick to the plan.

There will be times where I don’t exercise according to schedule.

There will be times where I eat things I shouldn’t eat.

And it is okay!

The important thing is to minimize these times, refocus myself, and keep my eye on the prize. It isn’t a failure. It is life. It is an opportunity to recognize the triggers that lead to these changes in the plan and learn how to adjust. It is a time to celebrate progress rather than dwell on setbacks.

Speaking of progress, despite the above mentioned stop on my journey, I still managed to lose one pound this past week and am progressing towards my first milestone!

There is light at the end of the tunnel!

One Step At A Time

Making Progress One Step at a Time

Watching the accomplishments that so many achieved today in the Boston Marathon can make the small baby steps that I’ve been making seem so insignificant. And in the eyes of many they may be.

But not for me.

For me personally, the small steps that I’ve made since the beginning of April – which include traveling 14.53 miles and losing 7.5 pounds – are monumental.

Celebrating Progress

As part of this lifestyle transformation, I’ve discovered a number of inspirational people.

One of those people is Roni from Roni’s Weigh who just celebrated her own progress with a yoga pose that quite honestly doesn’t even look possible without special effects. (I’ve looked for a support wire and it isn’t there.)

Congrats Roni!

Seeing this celebration is a reminder that we need to focus on our own goals and accomplishments, and not to minimize them in comparison to others.

One Step At A Time

Just two short weeks ago, I never would have guessed that I would have exercised at all – let alone put 14.53 miles and 7.5 pounds between myself and April 1st!

Sure, I still have many, many more miles and pounds to go but I started.

I took action!

It would be easy to get discouraged when Running Wife heads out for a run and travels farther than I do in a week. Or when she maintains the weight that she worked so hard to lose. But rather than get discouraged, I celebrate her progress with her and she celebrates my progress with me.

Together.

Goals are not accomplished instantly – at least not in most cases. But they are accomplished by taking one step at a time and continuing to push yourself farther with each step. And with each step, it is important to take time and celebrate.

With that perspective, both Running Wife and I have a lot to celebrate!

Let’s celebrate together – what progress have you made?

The Greatest Journeys All Start Somewhere

In case you forgot, I hate running.

However, for some reason I have decided that it would be a good idea to register for my very first 5k run and the time is ticking until race day (a little less than two months away!).

One small step…

Every journey – no matter how grand or how miniscule – begins by taking action. It is impossible to reach your goals if you don’t take action; if you don’t keep pushing yourself onward and upward.

Today I took action.

Now, before you start thinking all crazy I have to admit that I did not run. Not one bit.

But I did take that first small step towards that 5k and I walked (okay, some of you might say I lollygagged) on the elliptical for a total of 35 minutes and covered 2.5 miles Yeah, yeah…I know that a 14 minute per mile pace is laughable for a lot of people but considering that I am accustomed to moving 0.0 (you read that in your Dean Wormer voice, didn’t you?) miles, I am proud of the accomplishment.

And you know what?

I actually liked it!

It’s true. When the “cool down” was over, I felt fantastic – other than the fact that my legs felt a little wobbly – and I had to go admire the sweaty mess that I was in the bathroom mirror.

Am I the only one that looks at a sweat-soaked t-shirt and gives myself the manly head nod?

That sweat is a flashing neon sign to the world that I just did something manly. So what if I am the only one to see it, and it was the result of a measly 35 minute stroll on the elliptical machine.

It might seem like something small and inconsequential, but there is an extremely brave message to be gleaned from that sweaty t-shirt.

I took action!

What Have I Done?

The morning of March 30, 2013 will now and forever be known as the day that I signed up for my very first 5k run.

Zoinks!

That might not seem like such a big deal, but once you’ve read our story you will understand that this is quite a step for me personally.

No more excuses

Blindly throwing oneself to the wolves might not be an approach that works for everyone – heck, it might not even be an approach that works for me – but the time has come to eliminate the excuses and get my ass in gear.

And what better way to do that than the impending doom of race day?!?

Having a date circled on the calendar, one where I have already made a financial commitment to race, will either serve as the motivation I need or will lead me to curl up in the fetal position and whimper for days on end.

You know what’s really scary? I hate running!

No, seriously.

I despise it.

Walking is tolerable, but running is just pure evil. I’ve never enjoyed it, and I am convinced that I never will. However, I am willing to give it a try and see if it will ever come close to becoming the passion that it has for my wife (if you’re the betting type, me curling up in the fetal position and whimpering is laying 2:1 odds).

Extra cheese

Speaking of my wife, her birthday is coming up in about two weeks and one of the things that she asked for as a gift was to be registered for the 5k race that I mentioned earlier.

After scratching my head in bewilderment as to why anyone in their right mind would want to get something like that as a birthday gift, I knew it was something that she wanted to do and therefore, against everything I believe to be right, I registered her for the race as one of her birthday gifts.

Then it hit me…

I had an opportunity to not only get her what she asked for, but also to do something that she is always asking me to do – get out there and run (or walk) with her!

Super cheesy? You betcha!

But I know that she will love it, or at least she better because I hate running!

By the way, I haven’t mentioned this site to her yet – and won’t until her birthday since I just shared one of her gifts – but hopefully both of us will look back at this first post as the beginning of a husband and wife that enjoy running together…running spouses!