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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Little Bit Fit

As I write this, I’m wearing a Fitbit. This is not a product endorsement of any kind. In fact I’ve been wearing this Fitbit for almost a month. I should tell you that I began this month of Fitbit wearing as a (excuse the pun) bit of a skeptic.

What’s a Fitbit you ask? It’s a device you wear on your wrist or belt that monitors your physical activity. It tracks your steps and calories burned and if you are so inclined you can even have it tell you how you slept.

Sounds a bit (again with the puns) too much, no? Yes, I do agree.

My Fitbit was a gift. It was a lovely gesture from a colleague who knows that I am rather “hard-core” when it comes to my exercise.

When I first received said lovely gesture I’ll admit to thinking I would not have much use for it. I have a running watch and a GPS for my bike. I am pretty much “dialed in” when it comes to knowing how far I’ve gone in life and in fitness. What would I need with a bracelet that tells me about my steps?

My Fitbit bracelet is a slate blue. It’s minimal in its design and does not go with what I am wearing.

I should preface this rather shallow statement by saying that I do not enjoy wearing things on my wrists. I will of course make an exception for a John Hardy sterling silver cuff that makes me look like a warrior. I do not even wear a watch. If I’m going to have something on my wrist it should serve no purpose other than to sit there and look, well, fabulous.

I believe jewelry should serve no function. If I want to know the time, I will check my phone or ask someone. I don’t believe in those rubber bands in support of one cause or another (think yellow LIVESTRONG). This has nothing to do with the whole Lance Armstrong scandal; I am just not someone who likes to wear rubber on my wrists.

I want to live in a world where people care about causes and work tirelessly to support a passion where others’ lives are made better. Pick a cause and stake your claim… just don’t expect me to wear it in rubber on my wrist. A carefully thought ribbon or pin on my left label is fabulous…. In fact I wear a diabetes pin on my coat year round. But rubber on the wrist? Well, that’s where I draw the line.

So imagine my hesitancy when I now had to put this plastic on my left wrist and have it sync to my computer in order to tell me how active I was being.

Indeed I was hesitant, skeptic even. But I reasoned that many of my patients might indeed be using such a device and so I had best see what all the fuss was about.

I won’t go into the details of the Fitbit features. Recall this is not a product endorsement. In fact in an attempt to demonstrate my lack of bias, I have named my Fitbit, Gerry. Why Gerry, you ask? No idea. Just needed a name so as not to appear to be pushing some sort of commercial envelope.

Gerry sits on my left wrist. He buzzes when I hit 10,000 steps and he is linked up to my phone via Bluetooth. Gerry has a dashboard setup on my computer that tells me what I have done in a day. I can log in what time I get into bed and what time I leave bed and Gerry will tell me how many times I woke up in the night.

Gerry also let’s me know what level of intensity my exercise was at. Gerry is a pretty cool little toy. Gerry also sends me emails when his battery is running low. Every week I get a summary email letting me know how active I was the week before and indeed I can earn “badges” for new levels of activity.

Gerry has its benefits. He is indeed quite a little motivational tool. Last week, in my crazy pursuit towards 30,000 steps in a day I took my dogs for a third walk at 9:00pm. I have been known to get out of bed at 9pm at night and walk the halls of my apartment in pursuit of a 20,000 steps badge.

Make no mistake, Gerry is less than perfect. I know Gerry is not fully accurate. 

According to a study published out of UC Berkley- Gerry has variability in his accuracy to predict how many calories I am burning. This variability is anywhere between 15 and 25%.

In other words, when Gerry tells me that my recent 30,000 steps in a day (Yeh, I’m bragging) burned 3,750 calories, he may be off by anywhere 700 and 1000 calories.

Make no mistake; I’m not using Gerry as my license to indulge. I will max out a credit card but I chose to spend calories very wisely.

What I have learned from Gerry my little Bit of Fit is as sense of motivation. For those of you who know me, I’m not sure I needed it but I kind of like having a little check in once in a while to see how much walking I’m really doing in a day.

Will Gerry and me be together for a while? Where will this relationship go, you ask? I am indeed unsure. I will say that last week I ordered three new colours of carry bands for the Fitbit device so that I could change my bracelet colours to match my outfit.

I may be in it for the long haul once my Fitbit goes with what I’m wearing. And from then on my sisters, it’s safe to say that the fitness, like fashion, knows no bounds.  

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