Survival of the Fitbitest

This is the week I move to the top of the leader board in a Fitbit competition. This is exciting because when you are of a “certain age” others begin to count you out and there’s nothing like being counted in. Especially if the “in” is in first place.

As you probably know, a Fitbit is like an ankle monitor for your wrist. It doesn’t track the places you go—it tracks how many steps you take to get to the places you go.

This little high-tech watch has an algorithm that counts your steps based on motion patterns like swinging arms.

Sometimes I add steps to my daily count by swinging my arm to my mouth with pistachios. Talk about a win/win.

Four family members who compete with one another invited me to join their group—our youngest daughter and three grands 12, 12 and 10.  They consider 10,000 steps a day (about 5 miles) bare bones. I think they wanted me in the competition to boost their standings. And I did for awhile.

I lingered in last place because I would charge the Fitbit and forget to put it back on. Other times I forgot to update my step count in the app.

But now, like many Fitbit wearers, I am obsessed with counting steps. I’ve stepped up my game. Literally.

Whenever I run laundry upstairs, I make multiple trips, often running things up only a few at a time: his clothes that go in drawers, my clothes that go in drawers, his clothes than hang up, my clothes that hang and individual trips for towels and hand towels.

I moved into fourth place.

Then I began walking while talking on the phone—and emptying every trash can in the house multiple times a day whether they needed it or not.

I pulled into third.

I began walking a half mile to the corner drugstore to pick up miscellaneous items instead of driving. I extended my route on a trail I frequent and closed in on second.

I could taste victory. It smelled a lot like stinky tennis shoes.

With first place within reach, I started shopping only a few items at a time because Fitbit won’t track steps when you have both hands on a cart. Sometimes I’m in and out of the grocery so frequently that security follows me.

I was closing in on first place and hit a huge roadblock—one of the 12-year-olds started cross country with practice three times a week followed by a meet. We were all toast now. There would be no way to catch her.

And then it happened. I broke through. I outpaced the cross-country runner and took first place. I confess it wasn’t determination on my part as much as it was timing.

The kid was trapped in a car on a 12-hour trip with her family.

I hope she doesn’t ask if she can walk home.

The thrill of first place has been overshadowed by the realization that Fitbit controls my life. I may need rehab. Preferably a 10,000-step program.

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