Fit to be Tired

Lee Ann GlamourBy Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

I’m trying to keep up. I really am. I’m used to the struggle of trying to keep up with technology, but I never knew that walking could be so challenging. I mean, it comes pretty naturally to most of us. But the fast pace of ever-evolving technology is making something simple super competitive.

I received a Fitbit for a Christmas present (I’m still trying to figure out the message behind that one), and it’s trying to kill me. The Fitbit promises to help us become fitter and healthier by helping us reach a daily goal of walking 10,000 steps a day. Wanting to sell us on this, they even try and make it all seem like fun and games by coming up with contests we can play, like participating in Goal Day or the Weekend Warrior Challenge, where you are supposed to “win the weekend”—not by seeing how relaxed you can get, but by seeing whom you can beat by getting in the most steps. Now, I like a challenge; I really do. But I have to feel that it’s at least winnable.

The only person I thought I might have a chance of beating in a Fitbit challenge was my mother. After all, she is quite a few years older than me. I should have remembered how competitive she is when she bought herself a Fitbit after seeing mine. I decided to go ahead and jump in with both feet and sent her a challenge. Immediately the game was on. All day she kept texting me with updates on how many steps she had taken throughout the day. The first one came early in the morning:

Mom: 3,000

I looked down at my Fitbit. Damn! I had forgotten to put it on! It was still clipped to my bathrobe and the only steps it had recorded were the ones I took from my bed to the coffeepot:

Me: 32

It continued throughout the day.

Mom: Over 5,000

Mom: Up to 8,380 steps

Me: It’s hard to walk when you are in the shower, or writing, or reading, or having tea…

All this seemed to do was give my mother more encouragement.

Mom: 9,063

My self-esteem was starting to slip dangerously low. I was looking forward to that evening when I would have my Zumba class. Ha! She would not be able to top that. In the middle of class, I sunk into a further depression when I realized that again (UGH!!) I had forgotten to clip it onto my workout pants, the ones that I was actually working out in—not the workout pants that I lounge around in. I swear I did 7,044 steps in an hour, but it didn’t matter. They didn’t count. I might as well have stayed home in my other pants.

Mom: 10,569!

My husband tried to console me and convince me that it still counted, since I actually did the steps. But no matter how much he tried to make me feel better, all the data was right there in digital black and white: I only walked 1,257 steps that day and nothing could change that. My mother had beaten me. She even started bragging about the sneaker badge she won.

Determined now, the next day I decided to get all my steps in at once before my mom even sent me her first text, and go for a 10,000 step walk to get that badge. All I can say is that I don’t give a damn about a sneaker badge—they should give me one with a purple heart. I was dead, I tell you. I could not move. But I could finally text my mom that I got in all my steps. She was patronizingly supportive when she told me to make sure to have an open casket so everyone could see how good I looked. And, by the way, she had gotten in her steps for the day and gone to yoga.

I decided to see what other challenges Fitbit offered. Maybe there was one for me after all. I got excited when I saw one that I thought said the daily slowdown and then realized it was the daily showdown. These people just wouldn’t let up. Next, I decided to try something new and take my bicycle for a spin. You can imagine how I was understandably distraught when it did not register as any activity at all on my Fitbit. And my bicycle doesn’t even have gears! It does, however, have a beautiful floral basket and a pink bell, so I get style points.

I just got an email from Fitbit wanting me to send a challenge to someone for Valentine’s Day. I wondered whom I could have a chance at beating. I think I will get one for my next-door neighbor. Surely I could beat a toddler.

I’m not sure how I feel about my Fitbit. I get especially irritated when I get in bed at night and receive a text from Fitbit at 11:58 p.m. reminding me that I am only 22 steps away from reaching my daily goal of 10,000 steps. Surely I could go that distance to the freezer and back to get the ice cream? I decide to go for it! When I jump back in bed I land on something: It’s my Fitbit. I forgot to put it on, and now it’s 12:00 AM. I missed my daily goal. I’m ready to pitch my fit, but then I realize that I got a consolation prize: a real tub of ice cream. Maybe it’s not so bad after all.

Technology: 10,000

Sunny: 0 (plus an extra pound or two)

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