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Foiled by the Fitbit

The Wellness Committee interrupts this program with an important message:

This is a test of the emergency sweat system. This is only a test. If this were a real workout, you would hear your fat screaming as it burned, followed by the whimper of your abused respiratory tract.

Pay no attention to that shackle on your wrist.

You must never remove it, not even for airport security, because it is your free pass out of gym prison.

You are, at the moment, on probationary house arrest.

People at work are competing in a six-week Walk-a-Thon.

The premise is simple: count your steps each day and get averages for your week. You can compare your steps to everyone else in the program, send virtual encouragement tokens, and work up a lather just trying to get the app to sync with the ten other “health” apps in your smarty-pants phone.

Once your Fitbit’s in place, you don’t make a move without getting credit for it.

If I have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and stub my toe on the dresser and hop up and down ten times trying not to scream choice words, then by George, I’d better be getting steps counted for it.

Three days into the program, I pulled up my numbers. I have a desk job, so I set my bar pretty low: 5,000 steps. By the end of my day, if I walk around the house putting things away and hunting down food, I’ve got it. Sure enough, my goals were met.

My mistake was looking at everyone else’s.

“Who is this?” I demanded, scrolling through the list at work, “Who is Captain Awesome and why does he have a bazillion steps already?”

“He’s in the fire department,” said a helpful coworker, “I think he walks all day long.”

Another coworker passed by. “Hey,” I said, dragging her over, “how are you getting so many steps?”

“I have a treadmill at home, so I just hop on after work.”

Frowning at my numbers again, I decided to up my game. That weekend, I dragged my fat on an uphill hike. I busted 10,000 steps. I can’t decide whether the altitude or the gravity got to me first, but as we all know, letting the sherpa carry you home will not get you steps.

This is when I realized: not all steps are created equal.

It’s so unfair.

Whether your steps are uphill or downhill, running or sauntering, in high heels or tennis shoes, they count the same.

If you are walking from the couch to the fridge, they count.

If you are eating at the Home Town Buffet, your Fitbit awards you a medal for thirdsies at the dessert bar.

And so, this ugly little bracelet that goes with nothing is my way of announcing to the world that I’m working out…without actually working out.

I made my daughter wear the Fitbit one day, to see what kind of steps are involved with not owning a car. Between the bus stop, the train depot, and the college campus, she busted 12,000 steps halfway through the morning.

These were honest steps, made of determination and survival skills. I am both ashamed and prepared to cheat. Four more weeks to go.

I clapped for hours at my sons’ CIF volleyball game, but apparently the Fitbit does not give credit for walking on your hands, so instead, that bag of Doritos counted.

Two. There were two bags.

I went to a yoga class today. There are no steps involved, but it counted, didn’t it?

(Haha, no it didn’t, because this ugly little floor mat that goes with nothing is my way of announcing to the world that I’m doing yoga…instead of napping in child’s pose.)

It’s just not right. This thing isn’t working.

I need to strap it on a toddler for a day. Maybe a cat should give it a try. Both are about six-to-one step ratios, achieved quickly under house arrest.

When this is all over, I will likely go on an emergency sweat to cleanse my system of its Fitbit follies, ditch the bracelet, and purge the Panda Express from my love handles.

My winter fat has turned into spring rolls.

I need to lose ten pounds before it’s summer buns time…only fourteen more to go.

It burns us, precious.
Published inFun & GamesThe Day Job


  1. Emily

    Haha! My facebook post yesterday: “When you’ve been working your a$$ off in the yard and doing laundry and other housework, but your Fitbit is charging and your phone is in the house–you get alerts that you are being lazy. Eff you technology! “

  2. Anonymous

    Interesting way of looking at it! 🙂 I will be checking to see how my people I see who actually have one! 🙂

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