My First Slice of Life Post, via Two Writing Teachers
After a year and a half of listening to lunch conversations about step competitions between English department fitness fiends, I finally bought a FitBit. It’s one of the newer Charge HR models, and I insisted on plum color: I’m not paying $150.00 for something that doesn’t come in purple.
The data gathered is extraordinary, and I have no doubt that this will help me meet my fitness goals. I’ve struggled with my weight since I was a child, and now the doctors are warning me that my cholesterol levels are too high for someone my age. This is a concern, because heart disease and diabetes run in my family. So, naturally, I’m taking all the precautions I can.
But I wonder, how much information about my own body is too much information about my own body? It’s summer vacation, so I take cues from my cat Smudge and indulge in naps often (although I don’t shed quite as much on the couch as she does). Now, after three days of data tracking, I’m concerned that my FitBit is judging me.
“Are you kidding?” It seems to ask with its’ friendly pink digital glow. “Another nap? You still have 6,284 steps to go today, and you’re setting a wake up alarm for 3:43 PM which you know you won’t actually obey?”
I protest, “FitBit, I never sleep during the school year, and you know I rarely fall asleep before midnight. I need my rest!”
“Pfft” I imagine digital eyes rolling. “Whatever you have to tell yourself.”
I enter my food diligently, down to the last detail. I’ve begun weighing my food once again, an old habit that I got out of. It’s a wonderful habit to have, and far more accurate than that old alliterative weight loss program my mom and I used to follow. Yet, now I see the calories I’m burning throughout the day (even when I’m sitting quietly, reading my books) and I watch the calories in bar attempt to race with the calories out bar. I’m now obsessed with being “In Zone,” which I hardly ever am.
“You’re not eating enough.” FitBit whispers in my ear.
“I’m trying to lose weight, FitBit. You know that. What do you want from me?”
Again with the eye rolling: “Eat more. Also your cousin is totally kicking your butt in step count. Would it kill you to walk further than from the couch to the refridgerator?”
“You keep telling me to drink more water!” I argue.
“Are you always this difficult?” FitBit mutters something that I think is a four letter word.
A delicate balance must be struck; I see that now. There’s a real potential for FitBit to go beyond its designed purpose and rule my life. Maybe in the next couple of months I will learn to navigate the steps and use the daily data charts and heart rate readings to improve my health.
For now, it remains an unfamiliar stranger, clasped about my non-dominant wrist.