The E-Fitness Experience: Setting Goals and Trying The Fitbit Flex
Most people wouldn’t call the way I live “healthy”. I’m too self indulgent for that; I eat what I want, when I want, and usually far more than I actually want. I stay up really late, depriving myself of sleep (which is weird, because I really like sleep.) All of my daily activities involve sitting on my ass in front of some type of screen.
This lifestyle is starting to catch up with me. I herniated two discs in my back *cough*teen years ago, and when the muscles supporting my spine get too weak I end up in constant and debilitating pain. The last time I let it go I nearly ended up in a wheelchair, and I’m going in that direction now. My asthma has gotten so much worse over the past year that I use my rescue inhaler as often as I do my maintenance inhaler, and I just generally feel yucky.
Maintaining my physical health isn’t just important when it comes to my back and my lungs, either. Daily exercise and adequate rest and nutrition are hugely important to managing mental illness. When I take care of my body, my mind is more stable.
Over the past few months it’s become more and more evident that I have to change the way I’m living. The problem I’ve had is that I don’t want to. Yes, I want to feel better, but it’s hard work and I’m lazy. It means exercising self control, which isn’t fun.
I need motivation and a way to make lifestyle changes that I can maintain. If I’m going to make changes that stick, I have to find methods that fit in to the way I’m already living and include things that I enjoy.
Fortunately for me, there’s an entire industry devoted to providing fitness resources through electronic media and gadgetry–two of my very favorite things.
I’m going to be trying out different games, apps and devices that promote physical and mental well-being, and since I’m generous, I’m going to review them here for you.
I’m also going to provide updates on my progress. I’m not going to share my weight or body measurements, not because I’m modest or ashamed, but because that’s not what this journey is about. I’m not trying to get healthy so I can look better, I’m doing it so I can feel better. I want more energy and less pain.
I am going to focus on one main goal at a time. I don’t want to try and make so many sweeping changes all at once that I get overwhelmed and can’t maintain any of them. I will have other objectives (sidequests); things that I would like to accomplish, and that I am going to be mindful of, but if I don’t get them done it’s not a big deal. They’ll still be there next week.
This Week’s Main Mission:
1) To go to sleep by 1 AM and wake up before 9 AM. Currently I am going to bed at 5 AM and getting up anywhere between 9 am and 2 PM. This is having a negative impact on my productivity and relationships.
This Week’s Sidequests:
2) To move my body for thirty consecutive minutes every day. Walking from my computer to my fridge ten times a day doesn’t qualify as exercise; playing Dance Central and walking the dog do.
3) Reduce my sugar intake. I have developed a serious sugar addiction recently, eating candy on a daily basis. I am always tired and always craving more sugar, and eating more sugar always makes me feel worse.
I have other objectives I’ll pursue further down the road. For example, I would like to create a habit of doing yoga and meditating every day.
I have already tried out a couple of tools to start making life changes. The first is my [easyazon_link asin=”B00BGO0Q9O” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Fitbit Flex [/easyazon_link].
The Fitbit I have is a bracelet that I wear on my left arm. It provides me limited information about my progress through a series of flashing lights, but the [easyazon_link asin=”B00I2GBCCY” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Fitbit Clip[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link asin=”B00I9IH3G4″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Fitbit Zip Clip[/easyazon_link] models attach to your clothing and have digital displays.
The Fitbit is primarily a pedometer, but it has some other features that made it worth the money for me. It allows you to set goals and keeps track of your progress towards those goals. It connects wirelessly to the Fitbit App for smartphones, but you can also track your progress with the Fitbit website.
You can connect with your friends through Fitbit, too. You can see their 7-day progress and compete to see who can take more steps, or send them encouragement or messages through the Fitbit app.
The Fitbit also tracks your sleep. When you go to bed you put it in sleep mode, and it records how often you’re restless and when you wake up during the night. How does it know when you wake up? I have no idea, but somehow it does.
The Fitbit Flex has a vibration feature, which will tell you when you’ve reached one of your daily goals and can be used as an alarm, which you can manage through the “Alarms” menu in the app.
The Fitbit has been more useful to me than I expected. I’m a very competitive person, so seeing my friends achieve more steps than me is really motivating, and I can also keep track of my own activity and compete with myself. It also provides a small amount of accountability. At the end of the day I can look at my activity and determine whether or not I’m satisfied with it; if not, I can do better the next day.
Having it on my arm provides a constant reminder that I’m making life changes, and that is changing some of the decisions I’ve made since I got it. Small things like taking the stairs instead of the escalator or parking further away from a building, just so I can get those extra steps in.
It’s also improved my relationships. I’m spending more time with my family, because the Fitbit has motivated me to take walks with them every night instead of staying home and doing dishes or reading a book. I’m reconnecting with friends and bonding over our daily step count, competing with them and encouraging them.
As a first small step in making some big life changes, the Fitbit was a good choice. I recommend it.
If you have a Fitbit or you plan on getting one and you’d like to be my friend on Fitbit, feel free to add me. If you have any games, apps, or devices you think I should try out, please leave me a comment or send me a tweet and let me know- I can use all the help I can get!