How My “FitBit” Changed My Life – by Cara Potapshyn Meyers
On April fourteenth, I received this tiny package in the mail. In it was a tiny gizmo called a “FitBit.” The “FitBit” is a multifunctional pedometer that does everything except wash your clothes! More than two months later, it has literally transformed my life.
I was living in “slugdom” back in April. Exercise was the last thing on my mind. If I walked up and down the stairs in my house 6 times, it was an accomplishment.
A cousin of mine showed a photo of this two inch wonder on Facebook and how it was tracking the number of steps she took in a day. Her goal was to work up to 10,000, the nationally recognized number of steps fitness professionals urge everyone to walk at least several times per week. I went to the FitBit website and was blown away with what this tiny thing could track! It estimates your personal caloric level for maintaining your weight, losing weight, or adding calories for activities done. It graphs your weight and even has an optional scale that will sync to your personal FitBit website to track your weight, percent body fat, even BMI, if desired, and graph it. It has an accelerometer to track when you walk upstairs and counts the number of stairs you walk each day. The reason I bought this magic device? It also tracks your sleep, how long you sleep, when you sleep, how many times you get up, and your sleep efficiency.
At the time, my sleep patterns were awful. I stayed up too late, slept too late in the mornings, took too many naps to make up the deficit, I was simply all over the map. I bought this silly thing to improve my sleep patterns by tracking when and how long I slept. How many times per day I napped. Also, how I could improve my overall sleep efficiency so that I wouldn’t have to rely on napping to subsidize the lack of sleep efficiency at night.
Every night, I set the FitBit for tracking my sleep mode and put it in it’s comfortable wristband. When I woke up, I would turn off it’s sleep tracker and put it in it’s little waist holder so that I could go about my day keeping track of my steps and stair climbs. Although my main goal was to reassess and improve my sleep, I was curious as to how far into “slugdom” I really was. I was pretty far!
Then, the “magic” began! As I worked on my sleep efficiency, I noticed that I began to have an urge to walk up and down my stairs two extra times to meet the 10 stair climbs a day goal! One day I took my dog for a long walk and was shocked that I met the 5,000 steps goal! Next, I felt myself craving the 25 stair climbs per day goal! Each day, I would walk up an extra flight of stairs…11, 12, 13, etc., until I hit my 25 stair climb goal!
All of this was extremely subtle. If I had to bring folded laundry upstairs, instead of bringing it all up at once, I would make two trips. If I had to go into a store, I would park a few spots farther than I normally would. No huffing and puffing. No burning myself out. Just small little changes to help me reach higher goals.
I began to see a correlation. The more efficient my sleep, the more active I was, subtly, during the day. The more “surprises” I gleaned when I synced my FitBit to my computer and my personal page on their website at the end of each day, the more I wanted to see if I could walk 50 extra steps the next day or climb another stair case!
When I went away to the beach resort during Memorial Day weekend, my goal was two-fold: walk on the beach long enough to hit 5,000 steps twice and climb enough stairs to meet the 25 stair climb goal twice. I achieved the step goal and stair goal the very first day I was there! Since I planned to only achieve one goal or the other each day, I set a very high goal for my last day at the resort: 50 stair climbs!
The photo above is a picture of what I called, “the staircase of doom!” It was a double staircase which meant that I actually only had to climb it 25 times to meet my challenge. I stood at the bottom, looking up, like that commercial where the couple are standing in front of what looks like 1000 steps, and I ascended. I took it slowly, as I never went up so many steps before. I spent a half hour going up and down the “staircase of doom.” When I finished and saw 50 stair climbs on my FitBit, I felt like I just did a Triathlon! I did one more climb on the “staircase of doom” for a total of 52 climbs to date!
Since then, I accomplished the highest goal: walking 10,000 steps in a day! I decided to walk against the current in our local pool’s Lazy River for an hour! On the way to the car, my son said, “Mommy, bet you can’t run to the car!” I took his bet…and won! My son said, “Mommy! You run fast! I turned to him and said, “Yes, Honey, now I do!”
Then I got a thought in my head…I wonder how far I can run?
For more information on the FitBit, go to their website, FitBit.com and learn about all the fun things it can do for you!