Thursday, January 7, 2016

On Fitbit, counting my steps, and going the extra mile in 2015

On January 1, 2015, I fastened my new Fitbit Flex to my wrist, taped a daily goal tracker to the inside of a kitchen cabinet, and proceeded to spend the rest of that New Year's day on the couch with nachos and movies. Then on January 2, 2015, I got off my butt and took the first of what would amount to over 2.5 million steps that year. I had set myself the goal of 10k steps/day, and I intended to at least try to hit my daily goal - but honestly, I assumed I'd forget all about my fitness tracker by February.

But in complete contrast to my initial expectations, Fitbit became my most favorite accessory. I grew to love that soft buzz on my wrist indicating when I'd hit 10k steps for the day, and I found myself not just taking an extra lap around the block, but getting off the subway three or four stops early in order to ensure optimal step opportunity. #steportunity.

If there were days in which I couldn't make it to the gym or organically hit my step goal (by going to work or running errands all over the city), I got in the admittedly bizarre habit of marching around my apartment while I watched whatever Netflix show I happened to be binging that week. It was strange at first, but by the summer even J didn't think it weird to have a conversation with me while I wildly swung my arms in the kitchen.

Obviously, I didn't reach my step goal every day of the year - in fact, there were 113 days in which I just couldn't get there. I don't think of these as excuses, but I did hit two rough patches - one in February where I literally had to stand quietly in place for hour after hour and take notes on a show (no chance of moving there), and one at the very end of December when I came down with a nasty sinus/bronchial thing and just getting off the couch was a struggle. Other than those two stretches of time and any travel day where I was stuck on a plane for half the day (because you really don't want to raise suspicion at an airport), my biggest hurdle was myself. I'm human, and there were some days when I'd look at my Fitbit and realize that I still needed another 4,000 steps but it was 10:45pm and I was already curled up on the couch and I just didn't want to move any more. The important lesson that I learned from those times, however, was to listen to my body and give it the time it needed. If I needed to take a day off, then so be it. I just made damn sure to be up and walking at the absolute next possible moment.

I will say that living in New York and working in the theater gives me a huge advantage in the Fitbit department. I realize that much of the country drives to work and then sits in a cubicle all day, whereas I have to walk half a mile just to get to the subway. Then, there are days when I don't sit down - at all - while in rehearsal or running a show. While there was a ton of self-determination that went into my year, I do have to give at least a little credit to my environment. It's an exhausting life sometimes, but it sure is nice to to hit 10k steps before 2pm without thinking twice.

As part of my larger plan to be #HalterTopHot by my wedding day (t-minus 10 months now), I'm Fitbitting for another full year, but the only change I noticed was when I took down 2015's goal tracker and taped up the one for 2016. Walking with the goal of hitting 10k steps is now second nature to me, and I can gauge to an almost scary accuracy where I am step-wise at any given point in the day. I realize that living Fitbitedly has slightly taken over my life, but that's ok - it was a quiet takeover, and one that has positive results. So here's to one year down and another year to go - and if you need me, I'll probably be circling the block one more time.

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