I got a FitBit recently (the Flex variety as opposed to the newer Force, which turned out to be a good decision on account of the Force being recalled for causing mysterious skin rashes) and I’m suddenly obsessed with metrics that had exactly zero impact on my life before I started wearing this naggy rubber band. Like sleeping, for instance. I sleep just fine, but now I find myself poring over my sleep data every morning like it’s a particularly cryptic episode of True Detective. I was briefly restless at 3 AM, what does it meeeeaaaan? If you rearrange all the lines from my sleep chart does it make a spiral? IS THE YELLOW KING INVOLVED SOMEHOW?

I am also, of course, preoccupied with how to get in those elusive 10,000 steps per day, which isn’t remotely easy given the fact that I spend most of my day within the confines of our not-exactly-palatial house. My current fitness routine mostly involves bodyweight circuit training, which the FitBit doesn’t really grok (yesterday it counted a one-hour spleen-busting workout as “two active minutes,” which felt deeply unfair), and while I wasn’t worried about my lack of brisk daily walks beforehand, now that I have a thing on my wrist telling me what a sedentary slug I am I find myself taking the most inefficient routes to complete my tasks in order to boost those steps. Why haul an entire basket of laundry out to the washer when I can ferry each sock one by one? Maybe I should pace a captive-lion-at-a-really-depressing-zoo path into my living room carpet while I’m at it. Hey, what if I just stand still but pump my arms vigorously back and forth?

This is all probably good in terms of peeling my ass away from the laptop on a regular basis, what with all those dire studies that basically say the only thing more dangerous than sitting at an office chair during the day is if you also smoke, shoot krokodil, and stuff wadded-up chunks of glazed donuts directly into your arteries. But also, like, maybe a tiny bit crazymaking? Yeah. *jogs vigorously from kitchen to bedroom 9691043 times in a row*


46 Responses to “No sense of moderation”

  1. Shannon C. on February 22nd, 2014 11:09 am

    I’m going through an “obsessed with data” phase myself right now too. I created a MyFitnessPal account a couple of weeks ago to track calories in/calories out and it’s working really well for me. But a few days ago, I discovered the “reports” section of the site, in which I can view graphs of not only my daily calorie consumption and weight, but calcium, potassium, vitamin, iron, etc. intake. I find myself eating a banana, inputting that I ate it, then clicking on the potassium report to see how high it spikes. I had no idea I could be this crazy.

  2. Kristin on February 22nd, 2014 11:38 am


  3. Ang on February 22nd, 2014 12:21 pm

    Do you have a treadmill? If yes, google “build a walking desk” – lots of ways to walk and work at the same time. Mine is made out of a narrow table & pvc pipes, very cheezy but it works. I accidentally walked over an hour the other day. I ordered a fitbit this week, looking forward to it making me get ON the treadmill!

  4. sooboo on February 22nd, 2014 12:38 pm

    Love the True Detective reference. I am obsessed with that show! I wish you were recapping it. Captive lion in a depressing zoo sort of fits how I feel working at home many days! I thought about getting a Fit Bit, but passed for similar, obsessive reasons. It seems best for runners and walkers and although I do run, I also hula hoop a lot throughout the day when I take breaks and I’m pretty sure that is not measurable.

  5. Anonymous on February 22nd, 2014 12:47 pm

    I skied all day on Thursday and had ZERO activity minutes. But on my work from home day in which I truly did little except pick-up/drop off my son at school, I had 20 minutes of activity ?! WTF fitbit?

    I’m also obsessed with the sleep data. I tried it on the sensitive setting one night and then worried about the fact that I was getting no sleep at all (way too sensitive!). Had to change it back to regular.

  6. Josey on February 22nd, 2014 2:16 pm

    If I forget to put mine one after charging it and walk up the stairs for something, I’m instantly bummed that those steps didn’t count. My husband keeps trying to tell me that they count in the game of life either way, but I know better. :)

  7. Sarah Lena on February 22nd, 2014 2:44 pm

    Truth: when I wore mine at work and realized that – HELLO SEDENTARY – I don’t move much, I decided to only use the stairs. (I sit on the fifth floor. So pretty damn unhappy about that penthouse view now.) But then THAT wasn’t really doing it, so I decided to only use the restrooms on the FIRST floor. All of this to say I AM STILL FAT AND I HATE FITBIT.

  8. SRB on February 22nd, 2014 3:14 pm

    It is EFFED UP that I am now secretly pleased when the house is hit by a child tornado because cleaning it up means STEPS! I have been known to randomly circle my house and run up and down my stairs before bed too. And um… frantically check my body for my FitBit, slightly panicking until I find it. WTF?

  9. perl on February 22nd, 2014 4:16 pm

    Just got mine last week. The day I went to Zumba I had over 10000 steps before 2pm! The other days, not so much. I’m also kind of embarrassed that my sleeping 10 hours last night was electronically recorded. The Sleep Olympics gold WILL be mine, apparently.

  10. Meaghan on February 22nd, 2014 7:53 pm

    I totally do that laundry thing!

  11. Jillian on February 22nd, 2014 8:31 pm

    I got a Garmin running GPS watch thingy for Christmas. I’ve never been so obsessed with my pace, lap splits, precise mileage, or calories burned in my life. I love it.

  12. Amy on February 22nd, 2014 8:57 pm

    Soooo true and so funny for anyone that wears one! I’m two years in and still do all these things! Just finished pacing the halls and I’m calling it a night at 10,088 steps.

  13. Stacy on February 22nd, 2014 11:44 pm

    I am doing the same thing. And I’ve been obsessively checking my blood pressure and pulse so I can add the data. Totally going to be walking to my therapy appointment next week……

  14. NancyJ on February 23rd, 2014 6:15 am

    OMG I’m obsessed enough about numbers and calories and fat and carbs etc, etc, on myfitnesspal to wear a FitBit!

  15. Mel on February 23rd, 2014 4:42 pm

    I lost 17 lbs with fitbit since August. I’m always getting ripped off on active minutes though. I would do 40 minutes of Zumba and I’d be drenched in sweat only to have earned a few active minutes. I find myself walking in place while I’m brushing my teeth or sorting laundry. It’s ridiculous, but good.

  16. Alyce on February 23rd, 2014 5:28 pm

    Try it on a bike yet? I’m curious how it records that activity. I’ve heard the wildly disparate Zumba reading too and it has scared me off for now.

  17. Clarabella on February 23rd, 2014 9:49 pm

    Zumba readings have been crazy erratic for me. Also, on the app, you can manually input active minutes, if you want. ALSO, you can change the daily goal. I would LOVE to get in 10,000 steps a day, but that is rarely going to happen, and that was making me disappointed all the time. So I changed mine to 5000, and now I’m meeting it maybe 85%. When I get to 100% for a while, I’ll up the goal. Also! The other night I was 1100 steps short at 11:50 pm. Turns out walking around my car in the carport for 10 minutes got me 1500 steps. This thing makes me crazy, but I love it. (Speaking of. As I type this, I have 71 minutes left in the day to get 200 steps for my goal. Guess I’ll walk around the couch while I watch The Walking Dead. Poetic, no?)

  18. Christina on February 24th, 2014 7:05 am

    I have a Fitbit One that I received for Christmas. I was like that the first week or two but I stopped after that. I do mostly use it to track my steps and stairs at this point. I wanted the one for sleep but I forget to turn it on a lot AND I thought having something that was tracking my sleep would help me to get to sleep on time or earlier but it had this odd effect wherein I actually seemed to go to bed later and later once I had it! HA. Um I think that says something about my personality and authority figures and what not. I do admit that the five days a week I spend sitting at a desk all day not moving is pretty depressing. I rock the weekends though!

  19. Mary on February 24th, 2014 10:39 am

    FitBit sucks at actual “active minutes”. I get around it by syncing FitBit with an app that does track that stuff. (BeColoradoMove is the one I use – I live in Denver). I turn on BeColoraodo’s workout tracker before every bike ride and PiYo class and it does a decent job of tracking and syncing calories I burn (and mapping them) over to my FitBit account.

    Somehow the two apps compensate for one another. Say I burn 300 calories in a class at the gym. Fitbit counted 100 of them. Then BeColorado counted all 300. It’ll synch to show the correct amount – 300 – when I log on. (It doesn’t just add 300 to 100, I mean.)

    I also sync MyFitnessPal to Fitbit when I’m tracking food because FitBit’s food database sucks.

    See, a whole new level of OCD is just waiting for you. You’re welcome. :)

  20. H on February 24th, 2014 10:40 am

    I read this after pacing in my kitchen while playing Scramble With Friends on my phone! I find it also encourages me to play with our dogs. One of them is a very energetic dog and since it is SO FREAKIN’ COLD WE CAN’T GO OUTSIDE, I’ve been more willing (since FitBit) to play chase with him in the house so I get more steps.

  21. Kim on February 24th, 2014 11:03 am

    I’ve been debating on a fitbit for a while now, but in the meantime, I added the Runtastic app to my phone which seems to be a pretty decent pedometer so far, and I even sprung for the 99 cent version to tell me how many calories I’ve burned.
    And I too am obsessed with my steps now.

  22. Katie on February 24th, 2014 11:09 am

    YES. A thousand times yes. I was neurotic before. Now I’m neurotic for a reason – I “need” 10,000 steps!!

  23. frondly on March 22nd, 2014 9:49 pm

    I’m about to evangelize here. Ang completely undersold it earlier, so let me rephrase: THE TREADMILL DESK WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I believe the word my friend used to describe the change in her FitBit steps post-treadmill desk was “comic.” Oh, man, it’s a huge pain to set up and all the things, but it is totally, completely, absolutely worth it.

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