Fitbit: a tiny, inconspicuous pedometer that is slowly taking control over your life.
2 Christmas holidays ago, I opened a small, tightly wrapped present labeled
Love, Fit Santa.”
My heart squealed with excitement when I peeled back the red wrapping paper and saw a Fitbit Charge in all its glory. I immediately strapped the chunky, yet admirable device on my wrist and attempted to run off that Christmas brunch. My Fitbit and I have had a wonderful year-and-a-half since that first workout together. But, as we’ve gotten closer, I’ve come to realize that this seemingly helpful device is actually controlling my life.
In the beginning, it helped me put my fitness goals into perspective. As an athlete in high school, I found it hard to keep up my same workout schedule when I transitioned into college without that team practice aspect in my life. Because my Fitbit keeps track of my walks to class, how long my runs last, and how many calories I burned while out the night before, I always felt like I had control over the goals I set for myself.
Then the fad didn’t stay a fad, and more and more of my friends hopped on the fitness bandwagon. I found myself suddenly caring a little too much about how my total steps compared to my friends’ or giving the side eye to a fellow Fitbitter who reached 10,000 steps before I did. But when I left the gym immediately after I got in because I realized I didn’t have my Fitbit on to show the proof, I didn’t quite consider myself a crazy person. No, no. Surely this is what’s supposed to happen when you buy the product, right? Every form of exercise not contributing to that final goal of my Fitbit vibrating became petty and irrelevant. And I couldn’t figure out how to sneak it past the referees at stick check so that it could proudly track my enormous amounts of steps taken during my lacrosse game — really though, I haven’t figured out a way for them not to notice it yet, and it’s really harshing my Sundays when I only have 3,000 steps at 11:30 pm.
At this point in my life, I knew that my Fitbit owned my every thought and action — a little. But when the Fitbit devils released the Workweek Hustle, my life officially went to sh*t. Challenging my friends to see who got the most steps in five days seemed like a fabulous way to get me out and about. After all, I am motivated most when I tap into my competitive side. But then I slowly saw myself pouring my heart and soul into each challenge and cursing whomever surpassed me by a few steps at the end of each day.
I suddenly realized that some of my friends were crazier than I was, and it comforted me to know that it is completely normal to have complete neuroticism as a side effect to your purchase of a Fitbit. And since we’re all being honest and crazy people together in this messed up Fitbit community, it is completely normal to go to the gym in the morning and then go back at night simply because your friend has 2,000 more steps than you and you only have one hour left in the Workweek Hustle. These challenges did comfort me to some extent, because in a weird, twisted way, the simple fact of winning the Workweek Hustle meant far more to me than sleep, school, or friends. Really, it’s OK to be a slave to your overpriced pedometer.
So there it is — whether you’ve admitted it owns your life or you’re still in denial that it’s “helping your fitness,” we’re all a part of this messed up emotional relationship with an ugly hunk of rubber. Wear it, own it, and work it because we’re all in this together. Just keep in mind that I will probably get more steps than you.