Renewed Motivation and Week 2 w/ the FitBit

February 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

I started this journey of mine to lose weight by taking it “30 Seconds at a time”.  And I thought I had broken it down into the smallest increment possible.    Until I got a hold of this FitBit and everything is counted by steps.  In the world of a FitBit, one step at a time is meant to be taken literally!

It does take a mental shift to begin thinking this way.  Especially if you’re used to only tracking progress in miles or in time spent working out.  But something about that mental shift has allowed me to suddenly feel motivated again.  And if you’re a turtle  (like me) in a world full of hares then let me tell you something— this is the perfect device to strap to your shell and start moving!

I have always believed wholeheartedly in the concept of making small steps.  I know small steps snowball into major accomplishments.  I just couldn’t seem to find a way to make that work for me anymore.  I was having a hard time even with the small steps.  Even the first one out of bed.

You see, for the past year I’ve been the Governor of Lazy Town.  The Mayor of WhoCaresVille and the President of BackSlide City.  If there was an awards ceremony for the person with  the least enthusiasm for this journey I would have won.  Because I was washed up and spent on the whole thing only two weeks ago.  And nothing I did was able to relight the fire for it that I once had.  I had to practically bribe myself just to squeeze out half a mile.  THAT is how deeply unmotivated I have felt.

Half a mile is about 1,000 steps.  I know that now because the FitBit told me so.  It also told me that I should aim to walk 10,000 steps.

Uh…sure.  And maybe I’ll climb Mt. Everest tomorrow…k?

The first day I wore the FitBit, it asked me to join a Goal Day challenge.  So I agreed.   I lost the competition because I didn’t achieve my goal of 10K.

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I didn’t set the goal at 10,000 steps nor would I ever have done so at this stage of the game.  But maybe that was the default.

I just know I accepted a Goal Day competition where I was the only competitor.  Literally the ONLY one in the race.  And then I lost.  AGAINST MYSELF

For real.

The good news?  I was offered a rematch.  Like really….that’s what it said.

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Ok I thought….will do!

But I still wasn’t so sure about this whole crazy idea of a realistic goal being 10,000 steps.  Because if my best efforts to motivate myself over the course of an entire year still only resulted in maybe half a mile consistently (on a good day)—then how in the world would I ever achieve 10,000 steps (5 miles) in a day?!

How many months and years would it take for me to get there?

But guess how long it took me?!

8 Days

That’s how long it has taken me to get to 10,000 steps! Exactly EIGHT days.

Let me tell you how this happened.  Because seriously this is VERY important.  Especially for people who ( like me) may have been on this journey for quite awhile and they’ve run out of steam.   They have done it all and done it all again.  They’ve tried everything they can think of to rev up that engine and renew their commitment to the process.  But all they find is apathy and and indifference.

If that’s where you’re at then I get it.  Because that’s where I’ve been for a very long time.

When I first started wearing the FitBit, I didn’t make an effort to do anything different.  I just let it monitor my movement so I could see how many steps I was doing on an average day before I started keeping track.

The first day I am embarrassed to admit it only logged 2,194 steps.  I’m wondering if I was actually wearing it the whole day because when you look at how many steps other people are taking you begin to wonder if it’s possible you could have so few steps and still get anything done.  But seriously…that was my count.  After that, I had a few more days where I logged 2,847 steps and 3,064 steps.  A bit better but not much.  And I guess that was when I began to see where I really stood in life.  How much movement I was truly getting in on a daily basis.  As I began adding friends, I could see where I stood.  And suddenly laying on the couch seemed to carry with it a much more grave realization.  And that’s when I really began to step it up.

I started looking at some step to miles conversion charts to see just how many steps I could add if I made a little bit of effort.  And then I pulled up my Leslie Sansone Power Mile video.  The FitBit allows me to also track individual activities so I was able to see exactly how many steps it took to walk that mile.  Here are the statistics according to FitBit:

Date Activity Steps Distance Duration Calories
Workout

1,552 0.64 miles 16:05 124 cals

 

The FitBit did not log the Power Mile video as actually being a full mile but rather 0.64 of a mile.  But I’m sure other things must be taken into account such as whether someone is keeping up with the video perfectly and in complete sync with it.  After all, if I went a little slower than her for a minute then that would make a difference I’m sure.  Regardless of how far it was or wasn’t in mileage didn’t matter to me though.  What mattered was that I had literally managed to double or triple my steps for the previous few days simply by walking for 16 minutes.  And if I walked in place at the coffee pot while it was brewing I managed to get in another 600 steps.  If I walked in place during commercials to a tv show I was watching….even more were added.  Within another day or two, I was easily able to get over 5,000 steps.  And all I really did was tweak a few things I was doing during the day.

By breaking it down into steps I suddenly felt more enthused about the process.   Not burdened or annoyed by the idea of trying to get in exercise.  Because while it might take some effort to put on your tennis shoes and workout clothes to go for a half mile walk around the block—it doesn’t take long to rack up a few steps at the coffee pot.  Just a little burst here and there is amazingly effective to increase your step count.

But let me warn you. There is a downside to all this renewed enthusiasm!  Because my eagerness to achieve these step goals surprised even me.  I had certainly hoped it might perk me up a bit.  Give me somewhat of a second wind.  But instead it hit me like that whirlwind romance that catches you off guard. Suddenly you’re infatuated and thrown down a rabbit hole you never expected.  And doing all kinds of silly things only someone seduced and put under a spell would do!

The other day my son and I were standing in the living room talking when suddenly I ran in place very quickly for about 10 seconds.  He continued to talk– acting as if my random outburst hadn’t happened.  Perhaps he’s used to me being odd.  But a few minutes later as I was making a snack for him in the kitchen I began to walk around the island in my kitchen backwards.  I don’t really know why I did that backwards.  But I did.  And then I did it again.  But none of that phased him too very much.  It was only when I began doing heel touches repeatedly while waiting for his cup of hot chocolate in the Keurig to brew that he finally said…”What is wrong with you????”

But heel touches at the Keurig and running in place for 10 seconds….even walking backwards around my kitchen island all amassed 700 or more steps added together.  So it’s not what’s wrong with ME, son! It’s what’s wrong with you?!  Why are you standing there waiting for your microwave popcorn to finish when you could be doing high knees and running in place to get double the steps?  Why do you merely play X-Box from your bed when you could certainly be walking around the room racking up ‘points’ of a different kind?

Because it really does feel like a game.  And I can’t stop looking at the screen.  Every time I go to the bathroom I wonder how many steps it will give me.  Every day that goes by this need to constantly check the number grows a little bit more desperate.  But seeing things as steps has completely changed my feelings towards moving.  I don’t feel this resentment towards it.  This dreaded black cloud that hangs over my head because I didn’t “exercise” today.  Or this awful feeling that says “I need to get up and go walking but I don’t want to”.   You see, maybe in the past I would finally force myself to do some form of exercise.  I’d log in my mileage to whatever app I was using and go on with my day.  I did always feel better afterwards but I can’t say any of it felt exactly FUN.  None of it felt inspiring.  It was me doing something I had no desire to do and then being glad it was over while continuing to feel that it probably wasn’t enough anyway.

And THAT is how I’ve just about always felt regarding exercise.  Until now.

Now I get excited when I forget something in the car because that means I’ll have to walk back to the car and retrieve it! Woo hoo!! That’s going to be a few hundred steps!  And all kinds of ideas keep buzzing through my head.  All the 100 million little ways I could ‘earn points’ in this game.  That’s when I began wondering how many steps there might be in a song.  And if I listened to one song on You Tube and just danced around to it…how many steps would that be?

In the past 8 days I’ve found it increasingly easier to motivate myself to do more.  The other day I hit 10,000 steps for the first time.  And yesterday I made it over 12,000!  Shockingly it hasn’t felt at all like a chore.  It hasn’t felt nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  In some crazy way, counting by steps has turned this whole game of exercise around for me.  You would think to go from 3,000 steps to 12,000 steps would take a massive herculean effort.  I mean I literally quadrupled my steps in about 8 days.  And yet it didn’t feel like I had to do anything super human to make it happen!

In the past if I had to walk 5 miles, it was definitely something I had to struggle through.  Mostly because quite simply…I get bored!  But I’m not bored at all now.  In fact, I actually feel like I’m 10 years old again and I’m at the arcade.

You do remember the arcade, right?

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photo credit: Arcade machines invade Cade Gallery via photopin (license)

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I’m taken back to my childhood.  I’m waiting in line to play Centipede, Asteroids or Pac Man and see if I can beat the high score.  Frogger was my favorite though.  And I even got the little handheld mini Frogger arcade game for Christmas one year.  I was totally addicted to it! Constantly trying to beat my high score.

And THAT is how I feel now!  I feel like a 10 year old at Chuck E Cheese who was given a bunch of tokens and told to go play.  If I get enough points from my games it will spit tickets out at me that I can trade in to buy something.  Only at Chuck E Cheese you can stockpile a thousand or more tickets to buy a cheap toy that will break or get lost in an hour.  Where in this game, you earn steps towards a brighter future and a healthier life.

By looking at it as steps instead of miles, I am WAY more motivated.  By allowing myself to break it up into a million different things instead of one big workout—I’m willing to do more.  I’m more motivated. And I’m having WAY more fun.  I’m no longer dreading my workouts.  I don’t mind doing 2 miles suddenly and now I’m even motivated to do more!  I couldn’t even force myself to do a 2 mile Leslie Sansone walking video before this week.  Now I’m doing the 5 mile one and dancing backwards around the island in my kitchen.  None of it feels like a chore.  It doesn’t even feel like I’m having to put in as much effort as I would have thought.  And it’s all mental.  It’s simply seeing something in a new light.

And now I’m beginning to see everything in that new light.  Kind of like in the Matrix when suddenly he can see the code behind it all!

Suddenly now those bullets coming at him don’t feel impossible to deflect. Now he SEES how to handle them.  How to fight back.  And how to NOT allow any of what comes his way to defeat him.

 

Did you see how all those bullets came at him at once??  Imagine that those bullets represent 5 miles.  And if you try to take them in all at one time then you’ll end up defeated.  But what if….like Neo….you stop and see each bullet individually.  He pulled just one out of the air. JUST ONE.  And it didn’t seem intimidating at all, did it?  Imagine that one bullet is a step.  JUST ONE STEP.  And when you tackle it THAT way it just isn’t at all the threat that it appeared to be.  Not when you see it for what it really is.  Not one giant that you have to fight all at once but simply nothing more than one step and then another.  Each one an individual that can be handled very easily when taken on individually!

Today I see the bullets not as miles.  But as steps.  As small steps that I can easily handle.  That I can easily tackle.  And by viewing them as steps, they don’t seem that difficult to overcome.   It’s clear that this mind shift is working for me.   You can see it in my progress just over the past 4 or 5 days.

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I’ve been looking for a way to get myself motivated again.  And it’s taken forever.  But you know what?  I think I found it!  And while I’d love to keep writing to you, I really can’t.  I have to go rack up some steps in this game and cheer on my fellow FitBit friends on my friends list!  Besides, I just ran out of coffee and that means a few minutes of dancing backwards around the kitchen island while I wait!

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But before I go, I will leave you with a song.  One of my favorites.  And one where the lyrics finally feel real to me again.  It’s a song about overcoming.  And about not quitting the fight before the final round has played out.  I’ve thought more than once that my fight was over.  But now I see—I was just on ‘pause’.

Also, this entire song equals 381 FitBit Steps!

Because my new obsession will NOT let me do anything without counting it in steps!

If you just stand there in your living room and walk in place to it twice— you will have gone well over a quarter of a mile! We’re on our way now!

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori February 18, 2015 at 6:22 pm

That sounds so like me when I wore my pedometer trying to walk 1000 miles in a year. Enjoy it.
Lori
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Natalie February 18, 2015 at 11:13 pm

I think I got a fitbit the same day as you, Holly. I would love for you to add me as a fitbit friend (or anyone else who reads this!), I am

Nataliem@grapevine.com.au
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Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking February 19, 2015 at 12:28 am

Oh this sounds amazing!! I think I am going to have to look into this and it looks like you are doing great with it.

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Pam Holmes February 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Holly–You continue to amaze me. Like you, I’ve been on this journey for a while now, over five ears, and sometimes I too grow weary. I got a Fitbit Zip a couple years ago and recently upgraded to a Fitbit Flex, which I like better (it doesn’t fall off my bra strap!), and I don’t take it off EVER, except to recharge the battery about twice a week. I wish I was as motivated as you though. I still struggle with getting up off my rear end and rarely walk outside since Winter hit. I did find a circular path through my house, that I try to do (50 laps at a time) several times a day. I don’t even have to put on my shoes or clothes to do it, so really what excuse can I find NOT to do it? It is also fun to try to get in extra steps wherever possible, and when I am pushing a shopping cart, I wonder if it will register since I’m not swinging my arms by my side, so I try to remember to push the cart with my right hand and swing that left-hand wearing FitBit arm more. It sure helps to burn the calories–I notice you’re burning over 2,500 and that is really great. I find that 10,000 steps really makes my legs ache at night when I’m in bed however. Darn Arthritis!! So I changed my goal to 5,000 steps/day. I don’t always make it, but at least it’s do-able.
I think the best part about being aware of our movement is that it’s keeping us healthier. They say sitting is the new smoking, in that too much sedentary behavior is causing premature death! So if we move more, maybe we will stave that off and lose weight too! That’s the ultimate goal, right? GO HOLLY GO!!!
The talk of Video games, reminds me of my 9-year old grandson Duncan. he is skinny as can be, and plays video games constantly. You’d think that sedentary behavior would pack on the pounds, but when you watch him play, you’d understand how in his case it does not result in weight gain. he is constantly moving as he operates the joy stick, running around in front fo the TV. I have often said I want to put a Fitbit on him just to see how many steps he gets in everyday. However, I might have put the kibbosh on that unwittingly. He asked for a video rocker chair for his birthday earlier this week and I got him one. Hope he doens’t spend too much time in it. With his genes (although his dad isn’t overweight, he didn’t inherit that from me like his brothers did), he miht tend to gain weight as he ages, so I’m hopeful he won’t SIT
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Pam Holmes February 19, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Dang, that posted before I was done. I wanted to say, “I’m hopeful he won’t sit in his new video rocker chair TOO much!”
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John (Daddy Runs a Lot) February 19, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Ok, I’m someone who has seen the FitBit as a….fun gadget. Really, to me, it’s little more than a laser pointer — sure, it might be fun to play with, and it does have a purpose . . . but, ultimately, it’s wholly unnecessary.

Now, though? I kind of really want one . . . mind you, I’ve been über-motivated as of late (last night notwithstanding, as I downed a bottle of wine and then doubled up on dessert) — double strength training sessions on MWF, double cardio sessions on TuTh, eating homemade (thus carefully measured foods where I know the precise nutritional value) every breakfast and lunch (and many dinners) — but your enthusiasm is contagious. And you’re right, you can make opportunities for exercise without changing the way you’re doing things . . . heck, I want to put a cycle or a treadmill at my desk, just to better keep moving when I’m at work.
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Tine February 20, 2015 at 10:04 am

I just ordered my FitBit 3 days ago – cant wait to try it out. I walk a lot already so very curious about how much I actually walk. It sounds like a great motivator for you – hopefully for me too to get in even more steps 🙂

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Shay from Trashy Blog February 21, 2015 at 5:55 pm

I don’t have a fitbit, but I have tons of friends who are addicted to them. I have a trusty wall calendar–I get a new one every year for my birthday from my husband–full of family pictures and race day pictures and other random narcissistic pics that he knows will motivate me–and that’s how I keep track of my workouts. Getting ready to do one right now. Keep on keepin’ on, Holly!
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Nicola February 23, 2015 at 4:40 am

That’s awesome Holly, so glad your FitBit has re-inspired you! Happy stepping 🙂

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Carol March 1, 2015 at 12:38 am

Hi Holly, I just got my FitBit today and would like to become friends with you but I can’t figure out how to make it happen. Can you help me out? Thanks!!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down March 2, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Here is my profile link! https://www.fitbit.com/user/37689M

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Nikki March 15, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Thanks for this inspiring post, Holly! I’ve had my Fitbit (Flex) since May or June, and while I absolutely wear it daily, I’ve let my motivation fall by the wayside. Sadly, I check my step count at the end of the day and beat myself up over how poorly I’ve done. But now, I feel ready to get back in the game. Thank you for sharing your story!

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