Ever since activating my Fitbit about a year ago, I have constantly synced it with the app on my phone to check the number of steps I’ve gotten and to make sure I’ve achieved at least 250 steps every hour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If it means I’ve gotta walk through the hallways of the office four or five times every hour like a weirdo, so be it. The Fitbit god has demanded my obedience, and I’ve sacrificed to it daily.
But I started to change my mind in late October when I attended Mountain Workshops. I spent most of my time for five days sitting in a metal folding chair in a rather chilly warehouse in front of a computer. “Sitting” is the operative word in that sentence. There were some days I didn’t move for so long that I would rise from my chair and my legs would shake. I was so busy that getting my steps in, much less 30 minutes or more of physical activity, was a low priority.
You know what I DID care about? (If you read my last blog entry, you already know this.) Getting home to my husband. Even after I got home, though, Halloween was, like, two days later, and I had that and other things I had to take care of every night my first week back. You know what I did every night the next week? Nope, didn’t go work out like I usually do. I scooted on home and plopped myself on the couch with Cory.
Now that the holidays have brought with them their usual sporadically scheduled and numerous obligations, you know what I do every night I have free? Scoot on home and plop myself on the couch with Cory.
Some days have gone by without me so much as looking at the time on my Fitbit.
And I really don’t care.
Sure, I still walk at lunch and try to get up and move every hour, but I’m not obsessing over it. If it doesn’t happen one day, it doesn’t happen. If I have a slow week, I have a slow week. No big deal.
I found that, previously, I often felt disappointed in myself or angry if I didn’t get 250 steps every hour or 10,000 steps every day. Don’t even get me started on the roller coaster of emotions I faced when competing against strangers in a step challenge through the app. And I never paused to wonder why I was letting myself feel that way. After being in an environment that forced me to focus on things other than walking around with no destination, I realized that the world still turned, the sun still rose, and – this is important – I didn’t gain 586 pounds.
After gaining weight in 2014/2015, I became fearful of going back there. That’s why the Fitbit became such an idol. I had to control myself. I had to monitor my fitness like I was some kind of KGB officer. In this weird irony, I was constantly pushing myself to be more active than I had probably ever been so I could ensure a healthy, long life, and the life I wanted to stay healthy for was passing me by.
I’m not here to bash Apple or Fitbit or step challenges or staying active. I still wear my Fitbit, I occasionally participate in step challenges, and I try to at least walk for 30 minutes or more every day (though I prefer pumping iron and believe that’s a devastatingly overlooked aspect of fitness in the Fitbit world), and I certainly applaud anyone who cares about staying healthy. I’m not saying being healthy and active is bad, because it’s not.
But, folks, it’s Christmastime. Hear the snow crunch, see the kids bunch (depending on your climate). Listen to the jingle bells and rock around the Christmas tree. Snuggle up together like two birds of a feather. There are so many beautiful and wonderful opportunities and moments that will disappear if you look away. Do you really want to be traipsing outside around the house to get to 10,000 steps while your family is inside telling stories and looking through old photographs?
Yes, keep your health in mind at all times of the year, but don’t neglect the reasons in your life that you’re staying healthy.