You know the old adage: The road to fitness is paved with distractions and kale. And accidental cookies.
I got a FitBit for Christmas and, if I’m being honest, I was sort of lukewarm about the whole thing, even if it was my idea. Its shiny lights were there to blink accountability at me and quantify my level of non-steppiness. It even wanted to confirm, with brutal honesty, the horrible truth I already knew about my lack of sleep. I wasn’t sure I needed all of this information in my life.
You don’t take enough steps!
You sleep poorly!
You aren’t burning enough calories!
You look terrible in a black rubber bracelet!
A blow to my ego, every one of them.
So I kind of let it sit there in the box for a while.
But one day, I took it out and put it on, just to try it. It blinked and buzzed at me, and I was curious just how many/few steps I was taking in a day.
Interestingly enough, I wasn’t doing so badly. It turns out that you can rack up thousands of steps just by doing the most annoying household bullshit every day.
1) Preparing a meal for three children: If your kids are like mine, the term “simple meal” is a joke. I know that dinner prep implies standing still at a counter and then gracefully putting stunning little Pinteresting plates of Eat Your Colors on the table. But, alas, no. FitBit told me what I suspected all along: The 612 laps I take around my kitchen to serve a very beige dinner practically qualify as cardio.
Can I please have more milk?
Can you make the ketchup not touch the potatoes?
We don’t have any more napkins. I just used the last 87.
Can I have more ketchup?
The baby dropped his cup.
The dog is begging for my chicken.
Do we have more ketchup?
Can you cut this into smaller pieces shaped like perfect spheres?
Just a little more ketchup?
The baby just tossed his dinner across the room.
Steps taken: 1,362
Wines consumed: No comment.
2) Chasing a naked, fugitive one year-old who escaped mid-diaper-change.
You need a diaper! Come here!
Do not throw that vase.
You can’t climb up the dishwasher racks again.
I can’t reach you under the end table.
It’s ok, it’s just pee. It will come out.
Steps taken: 774
Rugs requiring deep cleaning: 1
3) Laundry for a family of five. Double bonus points for the three flights of stairs. Need I say more?
Steps taken: Somewhere between 3,319 and infinity.
4) Kids’ bedtime requests. You know, getting them a book. Then replacing it with three different books after they change their minds (“Not thaaaaaat boooooook”). Drink requests. Lights off. Lights on. Fixing a blanket, the one that itcccccchhhhhhhessssss. Replacing items thrown from crib in amateur javelin training. Lights off. OFF. OFFFFFFF.
Steps taken: 812
5) The three-hour toy explosion clean up. Picking up princesses in distress. Dodging Legos underfoot. Circling the room while cursing to oneself, repeatedly looking for the source of that toy that won’t stop singing.
Steps taken: 336
So maybe I have an addictive personality but those little blinking FitBit lights started to impact my brain. They were holding my feet hostage.
How many steps do I have?
How about now?
Every day, I try to get at least 10,000 steps in. I’ve noticed that this goal has brought out some strange behavior in me.
- Parking further away from my destination, even when that gives my children an additional 5-10 minutes to argue or elaborate even further on their tales of woe.
- Extra laps at the grocery store. Yeah, that place where I’m usually trying to set a land-speed record departing out of desperation and/or unintentional theft at the hands of my children. Now, if my FitBit lights aren’t where they should be, it’s once more around the perimeter, kids! Let’s try not to destroy another produce display. If this isn’t a commitment to fitness, I don’t know what to tell you.
- Irrational rage at a dead FitBit battery. Because, if you wear one, you know that there’s nothing worse than uncounted steps. More formally: Thou shalt not move while thy FitBit is charging. When did I become this person who insists on getting credit for walking?
- And, finally, let me explain something to my neighbors, who probably think I am either insane or consuming large amounts of drugs at night. Usually around 10 or 11pm, if I see that I’m not close enough to my 10,000 steps, I begin the ridiculous ritual of Late Night Indoor House Laps. And because we recently replaced our windows and have since remained without curtains, it’s like a fishbowl of crazy up in here. I’m sure I look less than stable. But, not to worry, it’s all in the name of FitBit victory.
I’m relieved on my workout days because it takes some of the FitBit pressure off of me to hit my 10,000 steps. I can grocery shop like a normal(ish) person and go back to parking as close as humanly possible to anyplace where I have to carry a tantrum-prone toddler.
But those little tyrant lights on my wrist? I think we’ve become friends.
As long as I refuse to let them tell me about my sleep patterns.