Opinion

Local man unhappy that FitBit requires dieting and exercise

My wife gave me a FitBit as a Christmas gift, and I’m unsure why.  Perhaps she was recalling an incident a few months ago when I groaned while lifting the bag of trash in the kitchen and proclaimed that I was too young to feel so tired and that I would, from this day forward, eat right and exercise more. Apparently I said it with conviction in my voice and a determined look on my face. Why would Sofia take my proclamation seriously this time, unlike other proclamations I’ve made in the past about taking up hang gliding, becoming a fashion photographer or saving gas by replacing our little SUV with a motorcycle and sidecar?

I distinctly recall making the more interesting proclamations with the same conviction, but for some reason she decided to invest in the intention to eat healthy and exercise. She’s been reading a lot of romance novels lately, and my potbelly and recently acquired baldness compare poorly with the muscled beefcake on the cover of the typical bodice ripper story. So that may have had something to do with the decision.

For folks who have managed to live under a rock for the past 10 years, a FitBit is a wearable piece of technology that monitors your body and utilizes a smartphone app to encourage you to live a healthy lifestyle. I’ve had the watch-like device for about ten days, and I have come to the conclusion that it accomplishes this task through the tried and true method of annoying someone to get off their lazy butt.

My FitBit says it wants to help me become healthy by losing weight and strengthening my heart.  Based on how I have incorporated the device into my life, becoming healthy involves obsessively looking at the device a thousand times a day to determine how many steps I’ve taken and whether I’ve suffered a heart attack yet.

When you set the device up, the software challenges you to take 10,000 steps each day. I figured I live out in the country, I’m an active guy, and I run a couple of miles every other day. Ten thousand steps is no problem.

So I put it on the day after Christmas and went about my normal and active life.  I moved wood, shoveled snow, went shopping, played with the dog and helped clean house.  At the end of the day, I had only walked about 2,000 steps.

I did consider attaching my FitBit to the dog, thinking his obsession with the squirrels in the backyard would help me reach the magic number of 10,000, but decided Sofia just would not understand the sound logic behind this tactic. So now I walk around the office a lot more, which so far has had the effect of making my coworkers question whether I do anything useful except walk purposefully through the office.

I wore the FitBit in bed the other day, and that helped increase my step count. No, not that way. Get your mind out of the gutter.  Apparently competing with your wife and the family dog for bed space and blankets in your sleep is worth another 500 steps each day.

So with barely ten days under my belt, I’ve realized that to start living a healthier lifestyle, I need to do five times as many chores as I normally do. This makes me suspect Sofia had a far different motive for buying the FitBit than my health or her appreciation of beefcake.

Andrew Birden is the general manager for Northeast Publishing, a division of the Bangor Daily News. People can reach Andrew at abirden@bangordailynews.com

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