Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fit. ...A bit.


I bought a Fitbit.

I'm not sure I ever saw myself as being one of those people, but I guess I'm one of those people.

Over ten years ago, I owned a pedometer for a short amount of time. It was an Avon model--I was selling Avon at the time, so the price was right, and they had just become trendy; why not?

The pedometer was only that--a battery-operated device to count your steps. If you listened carefully, you could hear the ball bearing rock back and forth with each step, and if you weren't careful enough, you could lose the darn thing when it wasn't clipped in the right spot.

Working directly with children, I found it quite easy to hit the recommended 10,000 steps a day; I didn't even have to try. And perhaps because of this, when I got home one day and noticed the pedometer was gone, I was not all that inspired to replace it. I had the knowledge I needed, and the knowledge told me I was a walking rock-star.

Flash forward to present day. Several thoughts have formed together in my mind over the past several months: 1. I call myself moderately 'active,' but 2. I've noticed that I now gain a bit of weight during the winter (losing it again during the summer, but still). 3. I also recognize that I work at a desk far more than I used to and that 4. I've pretty much never counted a calorie a day in my life. Which all leaves me wondering sometimes, am I active enough? To add to my general curiosity, 5. I have always had a somewhat sensitive digestive system, with a general idea of what makes it happy or unhappy, but in some ways it's still a mystery to me, and I find myself wondering is there something I'm missing? 

Enter Fitbit.

Boy, have pedometers have changed in the last ten years.

The device tracks your steps, sure, but also the intensity of your movement--thus estimating calories burned as you walk, as well as how much of your movement qualifies as 'active' (i.e. a 25-min walk to the library as opposed to the 8 steps it takes to get to the photocopier). Also, I can pretty much guarantee this thing will not get lost while I wear it. I'd like to know how many calories I burn just trying to pry the clip open enough to attach it to my pocket.

The device, of course, interacts with the FitBit app, where you can log your meals, your additional physical activity (gardening counts!), and how much water you've had. ...The more expensive models even track your sleeping patterns (I did not invest. That being said, mine appears to still be able to estimate the number of calories burned per hour while sleeping.)

Needless to say, I have opened up doors to a ton of new information about my daily habits.

I've only been in this process for just over a week. As they say in research, I'm still establishing a baseline. My steps vary anywhere from around 4,000 to 15,000, depending on the day. Some days my calorie count is over, some days under, some days "right on target" (all based on the user's weight loss/maintenance/gain goal).

So far I've learned that if my entire day is spent sitting at my desk or in meetings, I'd better not make pasta for supper. On the flip side, apparently the secret to eating KFC at lunch and a Nutella doughnut after supper in the same day and getting away with it lies in nothing more than a morning at the playground and a shopping excursion at Rona.

I've also learned that I'm more active on the weekends than during the week--which makes sense, I guess, since I spend my weekends gardening, cleaning, and generally puttering around; whereas at work, there's a lot of sitting. Still, I've always viewed the weekend as my 'down time,' my chance to 'relax.' Work is where I'm 'busy' and deal with any 'stress' and am 'on the go.' Clearly, I have been categorizing these activities based on how they impact my brain, not how they impact my body. That was a bit of an 'aha' moment.

I'm looking forward to what kinds of patterns I will notice after a month. What kind of impact the information will have on the health decisions I make. What other 'aha' moments lie ahead. So far, I'm parking my car further away from wherever I'm going, but that's about it.

I guess that's a start.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Standing Firm

She stands on the wall
by the doors;
the entrance to 
   where she learns
   where she plays
   where she belongs
With the innocent confidence of one who is five:
"This is my kindergarten; my school."
Looking forward
standing tall
"I'm here, I'm ready;
I Stand on the Walllet's go."

And the trees grow tall
And the heart grows up
And her life moves on
and away.

In another city
at another time

she stands at the walls
that are blocking opportunities
for kids
   to learn
   to play
   to belong
With the unashamed confidence of one who is older:
"This is their kindergarten; their school."
Forward thinking
Rising to the call for equity
and kicking at the wall until it crumbles;

let's go.