“But which was destroyed, the master or the apprentice?”
-Mace Windu (that dude from Snakes on a Plane) in The Phantom Menace
I have had my Fitbit for less than a week now, but already I’ve managed to find the Dark Side. In my last post, I talked about how Fitbit was a cruel master. And it is – if you let it. There are great things about this handy device, but there are also baaad things about this handy device. The Good: You are encouraged to take more steps, thus increasing your exercise. Also it gives you a smiley face. The Bad: There’s a food log. And a “calories burned” vs “calories eaten”. And the opportunity to lose weight by telling it all your dirty secrets so that it can make you feel bad about yourself by making this little gas meter turn to red which signals FAIL just like the red pen in elementary school. You should also note that red is the color of the evil Darth Vadar’s lightsaber.
I’ve found myself logging my input vs output (output as in how much I exercised not how much I pooped though both make a difference in your weight) to be a real chore. I’ve learned some good things. Like that every thing in existence, even sodas for crying out loud, have salt in them. Also sodas pack a lot of calories for a liquid. So do various desserts. Now I knew about the calorie part (though the salt part: wtf?) but seeing it right in front of you is different. Suddenly you have a limited amount you can eat, like someone stranded on a desert island who must make their provisions last.
As someone who is naturally obsessive and neurotic, this is a bad thing. I find myself thinking about food – too much. Should I eat this? How many calories? It’s not in the freaking database? Now I have to figure this out myself. How much time did that take? Crap, now my blood sugar is in the toilet. Maybe I’ll puke. Hey, I could lose weight that way. Or maybe just not eat much at all cause then I don’t have to walk so much. Yeah!
Then I stopped for a second and let my brain kick into gear. Wait a second. I think I’ve heard of this stuff before. It’s called a freaking eating disorder.
So I looked up “fitness trackers” and “eating disorders” and ta-da, found several articles about how these wearable fitness devices and cell phone apps are an anorexic’s best pal. Now they don’t have to keep the log of molecules eaten in their head; it’s right there in their hand 24 hours a day! And if they eat too many crumbs, they can always exercise more and bing bing look a smiley face!
Now I’m not saying you should just eat an entire pack of Twinkies and say to heck with it. Twinkies aren’t worth it – they’re like eating an actual sponge. But by turning calories into numbers, you lose something. Like say, the nutritional value. Sure you can lose weight by subsisting on lettuce, but is that healthy? No, it’s not worth it. Especially since lettuce tastes like wet cellophane.
Also calorie counting is taking me a long time. I told my daughters to wait a minute while I logged in my food. And then I wondered what message I was sending by doing this.
I thought back to how I heard of this device – David Sedaris. And I re-read his article. Not once does he mention diet when describing his obsession. Just adding a little more walking to each day. Well, in his case, a lot. If he’s really taking in 35,000 steps a day, he should have some fractures by now. I’m gonna leave that to “comedian creative license”. But my point is, if he obsesses about the food log, he doesn’t say so. And I don’t see why I have to do so either.
Yes, if I want to lose weight I have to make sure I’m not eating more calories than I am burning. But what if it’s not just about weight? Is it not good that I’m taking more steps than I was? Isn’t every little bit something? It’s more than I did before. Fitbit starts you at 10,000 steps a day. I put myself at 5,000 cause I hate those freaking frowny faces, and have since kindergarten. Alice don’t do that crap. Besides, it’s actually a good idea to work your way up, especially if you’re used to exercising as much as I am (as in not at all). I got a little thrill when my wristband buzzed today.
Fitbit won’t let me remove the food log. So I hid the little button on the dashboard. And I’m willing myself not to bring it back. Fitbit is a tool. But I am my own master.
Maybe I’m headed back toward the Light Side of the Force.
Yesterday was my birthday for all of you who forgot to send me a present. (I’m looking at all of you). I did get some nice birthday messages on facebook, which were way better than the clever one I got several times “Oh, so you’re turning 29 right? It’s funny, cause we all know you’re actually way older, wink wink!” I hate these people.
Fortunately, I did receive gifts. Like the gift of way too much food making me want to throw up, a comfy pillow, breakfast in bed by Thing Two (2 burned pieces of cinnamon toast, an overflowing cup of chocolate milk, and about 10 pieces of precooked turkey bacon), and finally the gift I gave myself because yea, I am a masochist.
I got a Fitbit.
What is a Fitbit? I didn’t know either until recently. I owe it all to David Sedaris, and to blogger Nicki Daniels, who posted his article on Facebook. He wrote an amusing article about this silly little device, a pedometer you wear on your wrist that measures all sorts of crap, like every step you take, every move you make, etc. And then it puts it all into this chart on your computer or phone. On this same site you can also tell it what wretched things you ate (be honest, the scale is evil, and never lies) and find out how many calories you took in and whether that will in any way be offset by the calories you burned (it won’t). On the plus side, I did figure out I burn a certain number of calories by breathing, so there’s that.
I hesitated getting one, cause it costs 99 bucks (Thing Two saw it and promptly announced that she knew how much it cost from the Target ad. Smart little brat), but then I figured so do bracelets and this one has doohickeys on it and is totally going to make me thin and healthy and crap. Totally worth it. Also, did I mention the pretty charts and graphs? The reviews were all over the board, from this is so wonderful to I lost it the first day cause the clasp sucks. Never fear, there is an answer to this. It’s called a Bitbelt, and it’s this little plastic thingy that holds your band on. There’s nothing to it, and I guess I could have just used a crude rubber band, but this is cute and hey you are helping a business that is not the evil Empire of Amazon where I do most of my shopping, er, I mean that I protest daily.
I have to admit, I’m kind of addicted. I walked like mad the first day, cause I really, really wanted it to vibrate. Get your mind out the gutter, it’s on my wrist. Anyway, it’s neat when you meet your goal cause then Fitbit likes you and gives you badges and wants to be your friend. But if you fail, it’s all like that little punk girl on Candy Crush who cries cause you didn’t meet your goal. There isn’t a little girl really, I just imagine it that way.
As David points out in his article, this is the perfect device for neurotic, obsessive people who need to lose weight. Bin-go! You found a winner here! Yes, sometimes I lose my obsessions, but I’ll have you know that I still have all my yoga equipment and sometimes I still do poses. Mostly the ones lying down. In bed. But STILL.
Speaking of Yoga, just a while back the creator of YogAlign, whose product I kind of sort of poked fun at, found my blog post and offered to send me her 60 dollar book and DVD for free. WOOT. Seriously, I am most appreciative. It is a pretty impressive book, though I haven’t read it all. I linked to her website if you wanna check it out. She talks about how some of the poses you do in yoga can sort of crush your spine and I’m more than willing to redo those poses (stuff like sit down and touch your toes) cause I hated those poses anyway. Thing Two and I tried out her DVD, but I believe it is for advanced yogis, cause in one move she does this scissor thing where her foot meets her forehead and while that doesn’t compress the spine, I’m not sure how her leg failed to pop off. Thing Two kept yelling “LADY!” through most of the video. But the good news is that she is planning to offer a beginner’s version. Excellent idea.
But back to Fitbit. This silly little device really IS making me walk more, and I have hopes that it will help take off these extra pounds because there’s a lot of Diabetes in my family, and I hear that sucks. Also I don’t want to keep buying pants. If only all cake could disappear. I’m pretty sure cake is in cahoots with the scale as both are obviously designed by the Devil who also created Yoga.
But yesterday was my birthday. Fitbit stayed off my wrist. Bound and gagged it could not see all the food I shoveled in my mouth or the number of naps I took. Haha! I showed that tiny electronic device! But tomorrow I will strap it back on again, because I’m neurotic and obsessive and at least this will be a more positive obsession than say, dating my car or eating baby powder.
Any of you guys have a Fitbit or similar device? What do you do to work out? Does it involve being chased by wild wolverines? Let me know in the comments below.