That was the last time I really gave a damn about my health.
What happened? Well, if you read that blogpost, you heard my mea culpa on how I had successfully gained all the weight I had lost back in 2007. While pictures, thanks to Photoshop, can lie; it was the steampunk outfit I attempted to get into at the Emerald City Steampunk Expo that did not lie. This was when I returned to MediFast. I blogged on February 4 how happy I was on my progress. Down twenty pounds. I was thrilled.
Then, a week after that post, I went from thrilled to unemployed.
So what did I discover in 2013? Tee Morris, award-winning author, podcaster, and unbelievable beer snob is a stress eater. And yes, it’s a real thing. And yes, I’m really good at it.
Fast forward to August of this year. For her birthday, Pip Ballantine is getting from her folks in New Zealand a FitBit. You know, that super-small, ultra-techie pedometer that everyone is raving about and some are raging against? I know on my feed there have been many people loving (and hating) their FitBits, hating them especially when left forgotten before said hater sets off somewhere that involves a lot of walking. (*cough* *cough* P.J. Schnyder. *cough*) I’ve looked at them, found them a bit trendy, and didn’t understand the appeal.
This sounds familiar. When was the last time I said something like that?
Oh yeah, that gizmo I called the overpriced Walkman. Or the iPod.
I’m here to say—just as I had been with the iPod—I was wrong about the FitBit. So very, very wrong.
The FitBit begins on the principle “You should be moving at least 10,000 steps a day.” I started this journey on August 9 while still in edits for The Diamond Conspiracy. I was taking breaks when I could, doing things around the house, trips to the store—you know, the usual stuff we all do, but that daily goal of 10K seemed far off.
“Okay then,” I thought, “I’ll do some quick exercise.” So I dusted off Dance Central 3 and gave it a whirl. For half an hour.
Still not there.
Finally, around 10:00 p.m., I hit that 10K goal. What was supposed to be a daily goal. I really wasn’t moving around as much as I thought.
Okay then. Challenge accepted.
It wasn’t just a competition between me and the FitBit. It was also becoming a competition between me and Pip as to who could reach 10K first. This was involving a number of ways to get extra steps which included things like “going downstairs to get something from the pantry” or “running out to the car for something” and while these stunts helped, I noticed that I was moving around more, hitting that 10K goal earlier and earlier in the day.
Then I wore my FitBit on my run. Immediately I noticed the spike in my step count, and found that daily goal easily met.
But something curious happened to me, I noticed. The first time I wore the FitBit on my run—my usual 5K run—that daily goal of 10,000 steps was closer. Not easier, but closer. For years, I’ve been running 3.25 miles or just over 5K, thinking “Yeah, that’s a decent amount of distance.” However, the Fitbit was telling me that it was more “admirable” than “decent” and that I could do just a little more to hit my goals. So I’m running one afternoon and I think “I can go around the block again, maybe hit a cul-de-sac or two…”
Another day, I’m on the elliptical. I close in on my usual 45 minutes, and I think “Another five? Make it fifty minutes?”
Every exercise session went just that extra step. Just another ten minutes. Just another lap around the block. Now my run is up to five miles while the elliptical workouts are closing in on an hour’s length. I’m parking farther away from the store, turning the parking lot into step accumulators. The FitBit and its variety of statistics (both from the device, its app, and the website) now motivate me to do things I would have never considered in the past. My new job, for example, is on the fifth floor. So far, I’ve used the elevator five times. All other days, I’ve taken the stairs.
I won’t lie – when I reach the fourth floor or when I think “Go another five minutes…”, I’m huffing and puffing. No grace. No style. It doesn’t look pretty on some days. That’s what inspired this graphic.
I’ve been saying this a lot lately. Please, feel free to share it. It worked for me. Then again, I said that, so…
But the real question you might have: Are you having fun punishing yourself, Tee? Is this process – this process being my health, my weight, and my life – working for the better since donning this overpriced pedometer?
Check the blogpost’s title. When I started in August, I was at 183. Using the Weighbot app and the FitBit website, through, I tracked my weight back through the year. My highest weight this year was around RavenCon and DemiCon. 189 pounds.
There is something else very different about this journey, something that is blissfully absent from my 2013 return to MediFast. I’m not using their food. I’m not cutting treats (beer, scotch, ice cream) completely. I’m eating food.
I’m eating better. I’m eating smarter.
Is it a hassle attempting to track everything I eat? Maybe, a bit; but that extra effort gives me perspective. I not only have rediscovered the value of exercise, but also appreciate how smaller portions go a long way. Instead of a whole pie from the Proper Pie Company, I can split a pie. (And hey, now the pies last longer. Yum!) I can enjoy ice cream at the end of the night, half-a-cup being more than enough to leave me satisfied. I’m working with food I know. Food bought at the store. Food bought when out and about. I’ve made changes, but I don’t feel as if I’m cutting any favorites cold turkey or making dramatically different choices. I’m making smarter choices, and I’m feeling better. A lot better.
So yeah, if you’re reading this, I’m on my way back to a weight I’m happy with, and I’ve got a lot to thank my wife for. It was a little detail, this FitBit, but it is making a difference.
Well over ten pounds worth, at least.