My 1st Week with a new FitBit—Does every Step Count?

February 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

We all know that one of the best ways to feel better is to get moving!  In spite of the fact that I often don’t follow my own advice, I have to admit that the one thing that has always made me feel better is walking.  It’s hard for me to remember that when I’m in the bed or on the couch.  When I’m feeling unmotivated and uninspired.  But as someone who has struggled both with depression and weight loss, I cannot deny that it helps.

Walking is still to this day my favorite form of exercise.  Even if you are significantly obese, you can still do it!  Sure maybe not a lot at first but the more you move the easier it gets.  It’s surprising really how much better you feel if you just move a little bit.  It doesn’t have to be anything drastic either.  You don’t have to spend money on fancy workout clothes.  You don’t even have to leave the house.  In fact, if you’re in your pajamas and barefoot–you can still do it.  And that is why it is still for me the fail proof form of exercise.   Even on a day where you cannot even make yourself get dressed, you can at least stand up for a minute and walk in place.  If you put on some good music, you may even find yourself walking longer!

I recently got a FitBit.

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I have only had it for a week but it has made me a lot more aware of how much I am moving.

OR NOT MOVING.

But one thing I really love about it so far is that it counts every single step I take.  And I do mean EVERY ONE.

It even knows when I’m sleeping.  FOR REAL.  It even tracks my “restless” minutes of sleep.  I mean..wow.  That’s some kind of intimate relationship I’ve never had with a piece of technology before.

It knows when I’m sleeping and it knows when I’m awake.  Kind of like Santa Claus.

And it automatically resets itself every morning.  That means when I wake up and look at my steps for the day— it says zero.

BIG FAT ZERO

And most of the times in life when I want to start making progress with exercise, I have to go through the motions of putting on my clothes first at least and then making it to the door.  If you’ve ever weighed over 400 pounds and experienced the pain involved in being that heavy then you know that just getting out of bed and putting on your shoes IS a workout in and of itself.  And yet the workout doesn’t seem to count until you’ve finished whatever it is you set out to do and then logged it.  Even then it might take you awhile to make it up to 1 mile so all you can log is 5 minutes or 10 minutes.  And sometimes for all the effort you put in it never seems like much.

Enter the FitBit.  This morning I woke up.  I looked at my wrist and checked my steps for the day.  ZERO.  But I knew that of course. I hadn’t even gotten out of the bed yet.  But then I did.  I stood up and walked to the bathroom.  And according to my FitBit, I had logged 21 steps.  When I returned from the bathroom, I had doubled it.  You see before I officially started “exercising”, I had already logged several hundred steps and a flight of stairs.  And all of that before I ever made it to the actual “Workout”.

I like the fact that my Fitbit makes life count.  EVERY PART OF IT.  Because I’ve always known that walking AT ALL was tough.  Especially if you’re overweight.  Especially if you have arthritis in a knee or a weak ankle.  Or you’re just plain tired.  But in the past the only thing that counted was how many miles I worked out during the official exercise portion of the day.  With this FitBit everything counts.  And I do mean everything.  If I get up and head into the kitchen for a cup of coffee, it takes me exactly 15 steps to get there from the main chair in my living room.  So round trip, that’s 30 steps.  I never would have known that had I not checked the FitBit but darn if this little thing doesn’t count for my every move!

So today, I walked to the Keurig for a cup of coffee. 15 steps there and then I wait for my coffee to brew.  Except today I decided to use that time to get in some extra steps.  So while I was stepping and dancing around the kitchen, the FitBit was counting away.  By the time I made it back to my chair with my cup of coffee, I had logged about an additional  200 steps on top of the 30 round trip steps I was already taking to the coffee pot and back.   Now considering I like my coffee and I might drink another 3 cups today–I could easily get in an extra 600 steps JUST by dancing a jig at the coffee pot while I’m waiting!  If you’re trying to hit 10,000 steps a day then an extra 600 steps squeezed in makes a big difference. And that’s just going to get coffee.  Suddenly everything I do seems to be another way to get extra steps.

I’ll admit it.  I’m kind of lazy by nature.  So I really like it if my kids get the mail on their way into the house from school.  But do you know how many steps I can get in just walking to the mailbox and back? 132 steps.  That’s exactly how far it is from my living room chair to the mailbox and back.  If I were to get the mail every single day instead of asking my children to do it, that would be close to 800 steps over the course of 6 days that week.  No mail on Sunday 🙂  And 800 isn’t too far off from 1000.

Since I was able to get an extra 200 steps in just at the coffee pot, I’m pretty sure I could get in an extra 200 steps a week spread out over 6 days to get to an even 1000.  That means I would have a whole extra 1,000 steps a week added to my log just for walking to the mailbox every day instead of asking the kids to do it.  I can also log an additional 600 steps per day just by dancing around my coffee pot every day while waiting for it to brew!  It’s kind of crazy when you think about it.  All of a sudden hauling that laundry upstairs to my kids rooms doesn’t feel like such a chore.  In fact not only do I get all kinds of steps added in to my log for that but it also counts the flight of stairs!

Last night my daughter was upset because she didn’t have enough Valentine’s Cards to give one to the librarian.  We had cards for all the kids in her class plus her teachers but suddenly it occurred to her that it would be nice to give one to the librarian. Of course that touched a special place in my heart because my Mom was a librarian and I’m a major bookworm.  BUT it was 7 pm at night, getting dark, already cold AND we moved to a location where the store isn’t just around the corner.  Not only that I would have to drive to Walmart. And I super hate Walmart!! Especially on holidays.  I mean can you imagine going to Walmart that close to a holiday.  It was just as awful as imagined.  All those last minute procrastinators (like myself) are showing up. Not to mention the serious hiking that is involved with Walmart.  First you have to park far away from the door because the place is packed.  Then you have to walk through half of the entire store just to get to the cards.  And then you get to stand in a long line and walk all the way back to the car.  It wasn’t something I felt motivated to do at the last minute.

“Can’t you just print off a card for her and maybe draw something?!  After all, homemade is best, right?!”, I said to Charlotte with a smile of ….RIGHT?? RIGHT???

She sighed and said that was fine but then suddenly something occurred to me.  And it was the huge amount of steps that a far walk from the parking lot into Walmart, all around Walmart, and back again would log into my FitBit!  And that was it—we were on our way!

I’m really new to the FitBit and I have to tell you the first few days I didn’t really get it.  But the more I begin to pay attention to things, the more I’m starting to feel sucked in.  It’s like living in a world where EVERYTHING COUNTS.

If you’re a parent then you know that the world we live in is often invisible.  You do laundry and people wonder how they magically have matched socks and clean underwear appearing in their drawers.  You scrub toilets and replace empty toothpaste tubes with new ones and everyone just goes about their business never questioning that it will all just get taken care of.

I’m not going to lie there are some days where that annoys me.  But since I got this FitBit, every single move I make is logged and appreciated.  That little black bracelet that seems so nondescript and unassuming is quietly keeping track of every single time I move an inch.  Suddenly I almost look forward to some of the most menial tasks that take place during my day.  Because finally for once….they count!

I’m only just beginning to figure out what this thing can do but so far I’m liking it.  And I really wish I had it when I first started out.

When you are just a beginner or you’re significantly obese, you so often feel as if nothing you do matters.  You can’t walk 2 miles.  You can’t even walk ONE mile.  Maybe all you can do is walk across the room and back.  IF THAT.  And it feels like you’re spending all your effort just trying to make it to the START line. As if nothing you do will count until you can log at least something!! Even a quarter of a mile.  And until your app tells you that you did that, nothing matters.  And even after your blood, sweat and tears, all you see is .000000001 of a mile.  Not EVEN a whole number.  Just a fraction of a fraction.

But the Fitbit STARTS with whole numbers.  Not a fraction of one.  Not point zero zero zero of a mile. BUT ONE.  Yes, one STEP granted.  But still.  It is a whole number, ok??  Not a decimal.  But WHOLE.

In the very beginning of this weight loss journey, I started with 30 seconds.  30 seconds of walking in place.  I counted it just as the seconds.  And I was happy to have it count for something .  But just now I got up and walked in place for 30 seconds and it was logged as 56 steps.  56!!  Can you imagine if a person goes a whole minute? Or two?  And while they are trying to gain stamina and work their way UP to that first mile….they are already logging steps that count. Every single day.  Big numbers too.  And there is something so much more motivating about seeing the number 200 associated with my walk to the coffee pot than just me continually seeing point zero zero zero of something that feels infinitesimal and unworthy of being counted.

If you’re a turtle in a world full of hares, you’ll LOVE counting steps.  And I can feel my motivation growing because really for the first time in a while I just feel VALIDATED.  I just feel like someone (albeit a wearable piece of technology) gets me.  Like she really gets me!!!!

Ok my FitBit is a girl apparently.  And she’s like the BFF you’ve always wanted.  Because every time the kids scream “MOM!!!!  Can you bring me a towel??” because OF COURSE  no one bothered to walk the clean towels from the dryer upstairs so now they don’t have one.  And now YOU have to do it.  And you have to walk to the bathroom to hand your poor soaking wet child a towel.  And really no one but you seems to notice the effort.  But now my girl, FitBit, has my back.  She noticed what I just did.  Because sure it was only about 70 steps and a flight of stairs to do that but she counted it.  Even the stairs.  And I like that.  I love it in fact.  And I’m even a little bit nicer when I have to do those extra things.

Instead of me whining…..”I had to climb a whole flight of stairs to come up here because you guys didn’t bring up the towels after I washed and folded them.  All you had to do was.…!” blah blah blah…grumpy grumpy grumpy.

No instead I’m like…WOO HOO!  An extra 70 steps and a flight of stairs!  Suddenly it brings a whole new meaning to going the extra mile.

Also I want to add that I feel as if I’m been inducted into a secret society.  When I was checking out at Target the woman behind me leans over and whispers “I have a Flex. I love it.” and smiled.  And then the cashier points to the one on her wrist and said “This is my second one.  I lost mine once. She was my first.  We were together for over a year.  When I lost her, I cried”.

Apparently her FitBit was a girl too.  And losing her was like losing a friend.  I didn’t quite get that a week ago. I mean seriously, the lady literally was on the verge of tears just recalling the incident.  That’s strange, I thought.  But here I am a week later and it’s starting to make sense.

So while I’m still new to figuring it all out, I can tell you so far that it was worth every penny.   And the best part about it isn’t really even what I thought it would be.  I thought it would help motivate me to do more miles and I’m sure it will.  But for now it’s just making me feel appreciated and validated for the fact that some days just getting out of BED can be hard.  And the fact that I did it and that I walked to the bathroom and I walked back….it counted.  Because believe it or not there are some days where you don’t even feel like doing that.  If you’ve ever suffered from depression then you know what I mean.  So maybe this FitBit shouldn’t really just be for weight loss.  It should be for anyone who has a tough time moving forward.

This little piece of wearable technology makes every thing I do count.  And suddenly it’s filling in the gaps.  It’s making me rethink just a simple walk to the coffee pot and back.  Just the fact that I could get the mail myself most days to get in extra steps.  And more than that, it gives the validation a turtle in this world needs!! It doesn’t say you have to wait until you hit a mile before something counts.  It makes everything count.  Every single thing you do.   Every step you take.  Even that first step you take out of the bed.  And I know that because I’ve literally gotten out of bed this week and pushed the little button to see if it counted that I got up.

It did.

I LITERALLY got credit for getting out of bed.  And in what world does that ever happen?? But you know what? I like it.  I like that world! I want to live in that world!! A world where you get credit for just getting up!

No matter how many times we go around the mountain trying to lose weight there is one principle that always remains the same.

One shining truth that always rings true.  And it’s this….

You’ll get there ONE STEP AT A TIME

And in the world of FitBit—every step actually counts.

So whether you’re just starting out or just starting over,  it is always the same.  It’s not the big things we do that make us overcome what is holding us back.  It’s all the little steps in between.  It’s that one step we take in the right direction and then the step we add to it.  Little by little we make progress.  And the FitBit gets that.

This has reminded me once again that success in weight loss is not some fireworks explosion where you blow 10 miles out of the water one day when you’re suddenly inspired.  Success is consistency.  It’s little things done daily.   It’s choosing to dance in front of the coffee pot for that minute while the coffee brews because you know that every move you make counts.   And suddenly I’m reminded of that once again.  Because THAT is where success and I mean long term success will be found.  When we realize that everything we do counts.  That every move we make from the time our feet hit the floor in the morning makes a difference.   And how exciting is it to get to see that progress in real time as it’s happening? Even just that walk from the bed to the closet.

All this ‘every move I make’ talk has reminded me of a song my kids often sing in Kids Church.  It’s a song that gets us moving and reminds us that every move we make can be something that makes a difference.

It’s a kids song but let me share it with you because you may like it too!  Just plug that in and give it a listen while you’re hanging out at the coffee pot trying to get an extra 200 steps in while the coffee brews.  That’s what I’m doing!!!  And it’s a good reminder that every move we make can be something positive in the right direction.   And it’s nice to know that what we’re doing counts for something.

 

PS.  According to my FitBit, that song was 180 steps.  Not bad, right?

Happy Fit Bit’ing!

If you want to friend me on FitBit this is my profile link

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For God is with you every single step of the way”–Joshua 1:9

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Beth February 13, 2015 at 7:50 pm

“I like the fact that my Fitbit makes life count. EVERY PART OF IT.” I loved that!
Beth recently posted..Ten Things Thursday (tm Laura Belle)My Profile

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Lori February 13, 2015 at 8:00 pm

A couple of years ago several of us at work decided to walk or run 1000 miles during the year. I wore a pedometer and walked the long way every where I went. I was never still either. It was fun, in that the whole office got in on it before the year was out. It was great.
Lori
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Dawn Wagner February 13, 2015 at 8:11 pm

I got my FitBit just before Christmas and I love it. I had to go to a tradeshow for work and our booth space was on the opposite end of the convention center entrance. At the end of the first day, I had logged more than 14,000 steps. I love that it connects to MyFitnessPal and shows how many minutes are considered active. It is definitely a little motivator because it gives you a dose of reality at the end of the day. Keep it up, girl!!!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 13, 2015 at 8:31 pm

I didn’t know it connects to My Fitness Pal!!! Going to do that right now!

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Natalie February 13, 2015 at 10:40 pm

I got this exact one on Monday! Feeling separation anxiety right now because it is plugged in recharging instead of on my wrist … lol

Yesterday I made it to 10,000 steps for the first time and my fitbit went all happy psycho, flashing and buzzing. Awesome.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down February 13, 2015 at 10:57 pm

awww!! I can’t wait until I make it there!!

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Barbara February 14, 2015 at 2:30 am

love my fit bit! I have had it for almost a year and it still motivates me to get to 10,000 steps everyday. And I still celebrate when it buzzes. Connecting it to my fitness pal is great too.

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Margaret February 14, 2015 at 4:23 am

Wait til you start getting the 10k buzzes! Even after 14 months (I’m totally addicted to my Fitbit, though mine is definitely a boy) I still do a little jig of happiness (which reminds onlookers of a backwards hokey-pokey) when I make it.

7,194 steps so far today. Have you added people to your friend’s list yet?

Keep on steppin’
Margaret

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lbarker February 14, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Since I got my Fitbit Charge, I FINALLY get the connection between moving and eating. If I move more I can eat more and still lose weight! I dance around my kitchen too in order to get more steps in!

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Steelers6 February 16, 2015 at 5:44 pm

I had these same epiphanies a few years ago when I started my WL journey. I used a $10. pedometer. It was interesting & fun to keep an eye on. It has helped my thinking & perspective in the same way you discuss here.
I used to think I should wait til I had a bunch of things to take upstairs and make one trip. Now I’ll take up only one item, & see it as part of my little at home exercise, y’know? I view parking some distance from a store differently (if it isn’t raining!).
My pedometer has long since bitten the dust, but the mentality is still with me, for which I am thankful.
Reading this and talking about step counting makes me want to get another pedometer! Maybe I will. 🙂
Chrissy

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