Tagged: lifestyle

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!

OMG, I’ve Been Kerrigan’d

A couple of short days ago, I took the first small step towards my goal of running a 5k race with Running Wife in two short months.

And when I woke up the next day?

In Pain

Oh, it hurt!

Okay, I admit that it is a little mean to reference the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, but the way I felt the next morning was like someone had beaten my legs senseless – so it kinda fits.

However, the thing that felt the worst was my feet. It is quite common for me to have pain in my feet, particularly my heels, even when I’m not doing anything at all. My guess is that it may be plantar fasciitis or heel spurs; I say guess because I’ve never bothered to have it checked.

I’m going to share a little secret with you – I don’t like going to doctors.

Fortunately, by the time I was up and moving, things started to loosen up a bit and then the sense of accomplishment began to set in. (After the embarrassment of being so sore after walking for a measly 2.5 miles of course.)

Give me more!

After taking a day of rest, which was thoroughly enjoyed, I jumped back on the horse today and logged another 2.6 miles. In these early stages of transitioning from being sedentary to something resembling normal activity, my goal is to walk every other day and then slowly add in alternating periods of jogging / running and walking.

One thing that has been helping my motivation, and transition, is to reserve my favorite shows on the DVR for my time on the elliptical. It is amazing – and a little sad in a way – that losing yourself in a TV show can completely block out the unpleasantness of exercising!

While I know this is extremely premature, but even after only two days of walking I have also found myself subconsciously making healthier choices when it comes to what I am eating as well.

Last night, while burning the midnight oil on a project (better sleep habits on to do list), I began to get hungry. Typically, I’d grab one junky snack, and then another – and maybe another after that.

But not last night.

Nope.

Instead I cut up a cucumber!

Now, it wasn’t completely healthy as I did sprinkle a little of my cajun seasoning on the cucumber slices to give them a little kick. But considering the choices that I typically make when it comes to snacks, this was definitely progress!

After all, if I am going to bust my ass walking – and eventually running – I don’t want to waste all of that effort by eating a ton of crap afterwards.

Progress baby!