Six weeks ago I went to visit my doctor for my yearly physical. Yes, it was a special day for all of us involved. So I go in and the first thing they have you do is step on the scale. Now, like every woman in the world, this is the worst part of the visit but I step on the scale and the nurse goes “hmmm.”
Why on Earth someone would say ‘hmmm’ in a doctors office I’ll never know because ‘hmmm’ is the very worst thing you can say in a doctors office because immediately you assume they’re diagnosed you with a rare, uncurable disease and you have minutes to live.
So I go into the exam room and my doctor meets me and she tells me “your weight is a bit up. And so is your blood pressure. I know you’ve been busy but I’d like you to start exercising more. A good investment to help you do this is to get a Fitbit. You can get a Fitbit flex, it’s waterproof (we both have daughters who are swimmers on the same team and the doc knows I like to swim laps for stress relief), and it will help record how much exercise you do. It can monitor your sleep. Monitor your activity. And it can help you make better choices—just by wearing it on your wrist.
What can I say? I fell for it. Another toy that is actually supposed to help me. So I get myself a Fitbit Flex and I strap it onto my wrist. I go onto the site and I set up an account and I’m all ready to go. I set myself an alarm so I can “silently wake myself without disturbing my parter” and I set my step goal (10,000 steps) and I get ready to get healthy.
Here’s what my first 30 days were like:
Day 1 6:15 am: I begin having dreams about being sent to death row. Old school movie clips play in my mind. I’m being led to the electric chair with a priest in formal robes with the big red hat and he’s walking in front of me reciting parts of the Bible.
My husband shakes me awake and tells me I’ve been screaming in my sleep about how I didn’t kill the guy he was already dead when I showed up.
Turns out it was the alarm.
Day 1 Noon: I’ve been to the gym and gotten my 10,000 steps in. Can I quit now?
Day 5: I realize that I haven’t been getting 20,000 steps a day. Turns out that I talk with my hands. A lot. The Fitbit thinks my talking is steps taken. I now take my Fitbit off if I’m having dinner with my husband, arguing with my kids or on the phone with friends. My daily steps have now dropped to somewhere around 7500 unless I make it to the gym. Which means the gym has now become a priority. Yay?
Day 10: I’ve finally stopped having dreams about my own death via electric chair. Now the stupid buzzy alarm is just freaking annoying.
Day 15: I now find myself tapping my Fitbit Flex to see how many steps I’ve taken before I get myself a snack to debate whether I can “afford” the calories.
Day 20: I gave up on this early morning crap and moved the alarm up to 7:00 a.m. (Now that it’s summer I’ve actually shut the alarm off because I no longer have to landmine my kids out of bed to get them to the bus each morning).
Day 25: My jeans are a little looser. I make healthier food choices when I go to the store. I’ve got more energy. I’ve been conditioned to wait for the little buzzes coming from my wrist like one of Pavlov’s dogs waiting for a dog biscuit.
Day 30: I’ve lost 5 pounds. Most days I get 10,000 steps in. The days I don’t—I don’t sweat them because I know that I can make up those steps the next day. Every day I get excited when I feel that buzzing. Every buzz reminds me that I’m making progress and I make better choices because I don’t want to undo that progress.
So, for me? The Fitbit Flex was a win. Sure, it looks a bit dorky wearing a rubber bracelet around everywhere but the constant positive reinforcement helps me to achieve my fitness goals. And no offense I can deal with looking a bit dorky—especially now that I’ve started craving that little buzzy feeling.