Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fitbit Mania



I’ll admit it. I’m in love with my new Fitbit. If you’ve been living under a rock you might not be aware of this monitoring device you wear on your wrist and it syncs to your smart phone or computer to give you fascinating statistics as often as you care to look. You can also go to the Fitbit community and compare your statistics with others people’s---sleep patterns, pulse rates, steps you take in a day, your calories in vs. calories out and what color unit you bought. I got the plum Charger HR. The first thing I found out is it takes me 70 steps to go from my computer to the bathroom and back again. If I was willing to walk to the gas station’s bathroom several blocks away, think how much more exercise I’d get. I pee a million times a day.

In my first week of wearing the Fitbit I didn’t change my routine, didn’t add or subtract any physical activities from my days---I’m pretty sedentary. I didn’t even take the dog for a walk because it was too hot or rainy all week. Still, I walked more than I imagined just doing average things around the house. Fitbit just sent me an email summary of my first week’s statistics and it read like this: 

Total Steps: 42,270 - 6,039 daily average (I need a smaller house.)

Total Distance: 17.7 miles – 2.53 daily average (No wonder my carpet’s wearing out!)

Total Floors Climbed: 8 – 1 floor daily average (A side benefit of purging stuff in the basement.)

Total Calories Burned: 16,640 – 2,377 daily average 

Total Calories Eaten: 10,124 – 1,446 daily average

Weight Change: 1.4 pounds lost

Average Sleep Duration: 5 hours, 2 minutes – average times awakened 10 

What I like the most about the Fitbit is your ability to see your calories in vs your calories out at any given time of the day (assuming you log your food eaten on your dashboard). It did stop me from eating things late at night a few times which has always been an issue with me. Now that I have a baseline, first week of statistics I want to add steps to my day, assuming the weather is cooperative and I can get outside to walk. And I plan to drop my calorie intake down to a diet mode of 1,000 to 1,100 a day. Then I need to learn how to push a grocery cart one handed otherwise your steps in the store don’t count. Bummer! I do my best walking behind a grocery cart and that’s a great skill to have in case I ever become homeless and need to carry my life around in one. (Yes, I'm an old lady who worries too much.)

I read a thread on Fitbit’s community message board titled: How to tell if you’re addicted to your Fitbit. One woman wrote, “You know you’re addicted when you pace the house at bedtime just to get your goal in.” Ohmygod, I did that once! I was near the 6,000 steps goal I’d set and I wanted to feel the ‘happy dance’ shock go off on my wrist. Even though I knew it was coming, it---well---shocked me. If I’d been carrying a glass of water at the time, it would have been all over me. That worked like Pavlov’s Dog in reverse. I immediately reset my goal to 6,500 steps. Another person wrote that he knew he was addicted to his Fitbit when he first made sure he was sitting down while his Fitbit was charging so he wouldn’t “waste the steps walking without it on.” Ohmygod, I did that too! I thought about posting on the thread that I knew I was addicted to my Fitbit when I woke up in the middle of the night and checked my Fitbit because I wanted to see low my pulse gets when I’ve been asleep. Sixty-one in case you want to compare.

Like most gadgets and devices, I will probably lose interest in my Fitbit when the novelty wears off, but I hope not. I want to keep it going at least until I see my doctor in October when I’ll bring in a few monthly reports from Fitbit and say, “See, I’ve been very good. Now, put a gold star on my Little Old Lady card!” ©

25 comments:

  1. This is just another fad in a long list of fads, but you like it now and that's all that matters. Enjoy knowing how well you are doing.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I know! That's why I resisted jumping on the bandwagon for so long. But I'm having fun with it and it was a reward to myself for sending so many things off to the auction house this past couple of money.

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  2. Darn it! Now I am going to get one. Health should be our No. 1 priority and what a great way to see it ... up close and personal. CRAZY! I had no idea FitBit did so many things! I thought it was to measure steps ... and I have a free pedometer. Sleep cycles? Calories? Oh my goodness! NOW ... where did you get yours? And how did you choose a model?

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    1. I got mine from the Fitbid official website. They were the same price as on Amazon. I just compared the features on the different models and went with the one in the middle, price wise and feature wise. It's not much trouble to get set up at their website and to sync it on a computer. I haven't got the phone app because I'm not married to it like I am the computer, but I understand you can sync it to more than one device. You get a few statistics on your wrist unit but for an in depth look you have to go to your dashboard. One of my blogger friends (My View From Here) did a post recently about her experience with the FitBit and that pushed me over the edge to buy one. Find her post here: http://myviewfromhere-donna.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-little-bit-of-fitbit.html

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    2. Thanks for the shout out on my blog, Jean. And congrats on joining FitBit Nation! LOL I LOVE mine too! I have done those things -- walked late at night to get my goal steps in; sat down while it was charging. I even got out of bed and went up and down the stairs 3 more times to get 20 flights in. (Yep, big house -- two flights of stairs from basement to bedroom). We just got back from DC and boy did my FitBit get a workout there! We walked everywhere and I logged an average of 6.6 miles a day! I won't duplicate that at home, I know (I drive everywhere here), but it was sure fun to see those steps and miles adding up. And I only gained 1.5 pounds after a 10 day vacation eating food I don't normally eat with relatives and in restaurants. Yay FitBit! (It may be a fad....or it may be the first generation of fitness trackers we will all take for granted one day. That's what I think.)

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    3. Wow,almost 7 miles a day! That must have been fun to watch on Fitbit and to eat whatever you wanted on vacation without guilt because you knew it was being burned up must have made it even more fun.

      Once they make the Fitbit shower safe I could see it being taken for granted. My sister-in-law has a scale and arm cuff she uses once a day that and the results go to her doctor's nurse who then calls her about adjusting a water pretension drug. Who knows where this could all lead.

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  3. I don't have a FitBit, but I've been watching the mania with interest. I know that having a way to log calories and exercise does provide incentives to change behavior -- although I don't think I'm willing to go so far as to walk to a public restroom every time I need to pee! ;-) -Jean

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    1. You work so hard on your gardening, I doubt you ever have to worry about calories in being higher than calories out.

      I was watching an episode of Hoarders, the TV show, and there was actually a woman featured who had to walk to the gas station to use the toilet and bathe in the sink because the bathroom at her house was unusable and full of junk. I would like to see the homes of the shrinks and de-cutter experts who go in and help the hoarders. I'll bet they have a shower in the garage and bags to trash their clothing and shoes before then even get inside.

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  4. Many, many thanks for keeping up with this blog. As az widow, you've chaged över the last few years - as we all widows have - and its so wonderful to know that there is az time in the future when the grief is not as sharp. Please keep up the blog.
    Elizabeth

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. I did at one point think about closing this blog and starting another because I have changed a lot since I first started this blog. But I AM still a widow with widow related issues from time to time. They just aren't as raw as in the beginning and I hope my introduction at the top explains enough so any new widows who find this place will start reading at the beginning.

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  5. I could see the Fitbit would be an entertaining thing to use. But I can also see that you can get obsessive about it in the way that you have described. The novelty will wear off and then it will be interesting to see how much it is used! Enjoy it while it is still a novelty!!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. If you go to their website message board and get sucked into reading the success stories or sign up for a buddy team, I could see how you could keep interested in it beyond the novelty. Some of those people are real jocks or fitness nuts! We shall see.............

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  6. Hi Jean. My BIL has a FitBit and loves it. Regarding grocery shopping, I read somewhere that one can put the FitBit on one's ankle to help track steps taken. Have you heard anything like that? BTW, I am so glad you write this blog! It has been a consistent encouragement to me. Ann in IL

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    1. I did read about that idea on their website discussion board but I don't think mine is big enough for that. I might try putting it in my pocket and see if it works like a regular pedometer. Someone there said they pull their cart around and I thought that was kind of cool. We'll be able to tell the Fitbit fanatics from the rest of society. LOL

      I'm so glad you find my blog encouraging/useful! Comments like that keep me going those times when I don't think I have anything left to say.

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  7. After reading your post, I texted my 2 daughters that a Fitbit would be a good present for them to get me for my upcoming birthday in Oct.

    btw, I've been reading your blog for a couple of years, on and off. You are a very good writer.

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    1. I hope you like it as well as I do and that your daughters don't get their bottom of the line choice which doesn't do as much as my Charger HR. There is one above mine in price and bells and whistles. That one will notify you when you're getting a cell call and a few other things I don't need and is really pricey.

      Thanks for the nice words about my writing and for reading my blog from time to time!

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  8. All I could think while reading your description was, "I don't have time to keep up with all that." And I'm one of those weird ones that doesn't even post evaluations of products I've purchased on the Amazon site. I just don't want any more personal information on the web than necessary. I don't do any bill paying online, don't bank online, etc. And, I've stayed away from all the Apple iGadgets. If I just discipline myself, I can keep track with a piece of paper and a pen. And if I don't discipline myself? Well, no Fitbit in the world is going to help.

    But I'm glad you're taking pleasure in it. We all need fun things in our lives, and if you're having fun with it, that's what counts.

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    1. I've never posted an evaluation of products I buy online at Amazon or other stores where I buy stuff. I don't pay bills or bank online either---that idea scares the heck out of me---and I hope I never will. I might if I can no longer drive to the post office or the bank but, knock on wood, that's years off.

      I do love statistics and I'm sure that is one of the reasons why the Fitbit is keeping me entertained. For now.

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  9. How does it know what you ate or drank? What if you did a bad thing like drinking alcohol -- can you erase the info so no one else would know? Can you keep track of what medicines you take and when? I'm a smoker -- can it keep track of when and how many cigarettes I smoke? I went to their site, but I need to visit it again because I wasn't thinking seriously about getting one at the time...

    I have the opposite problem -- I have lost too much weight and need to put some back on. I have absolutely no appetite anymore and so have to make myself eat. I, too, live a pretty sedentary life and have to remind myself to get up and do things like vacuum just to get the exercise.

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    1. When your Fitbit gets set up you'll have a dashboard to the site on your computer where you can see your stats on niffy charts but it also has a place where you have to manually log your food, water and weight. It automatically calculate the calories, nutrition and tells you how how many more calories you can eat. But the amount you eat can increase through out the day if you've walked or worked out enough and that is automatically calculated on your dashboard. I'm pretty sure it won't keep track of medicines and cigarettes but I think there is a medical device "out there" that will.

      Gosh, putting weight back on sounds so easy but I suppose if you have no appetite it's hard. Eat Culver's cod sandwiches and concrete mixers. I say that jokingly but when I looked up the calorie content at Fitbit, I quickly saw I can't have them and loss weight..

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  10. I use my Fitbit to get to 10,000 steps a day whenever my feet stop hurting so much. If I get there on a regular basis I lose weight. I need to lose the 40 pounds I gained by moving to Michigan with no friends or relatives around. By 10 o'clock I check and if I need to I can get 6000 steps in an hour.

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    1. Wow! 6,000 in an hour must be intense. I'm impressed.The only time I ever got to 5,000 in an hours was when I was doing a Zimba class and I thought my pedometer was broken.Then I did it a second time and clocked up the same step count. Unfortunately I screwed up my replacement knee and my bone doctor didn't want me to go back to class. One day I want to be up to 10,000 steps but for winter I might have to join the Y to do it. I have lost two more pounds since I wrote this post so I can see how the Fitbit will be a super good motivator.

      I hope you've been able to make some friends since your move. Doing that is so much harder at my age than it was when I was in the working world.

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  11. I need an explanation please. Either I have had my head too much in the sand (which is possible) or this doesn't exist on the East Coast. Who is Culver and what are concrete mixers??
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. I just checked the Culver's website and they are only located in the mid-west and southern states. They make the best North American Cod sandwiches I've ever had in my life. (600 calories!) A concrete mixer is their name for a frozen custard they make in a ton of flavors. It's so thick you can turn them upside down and it won't fall out of the cup. They are one of my favorite things in the world but I was shocked to find out the smallest size is 950 calories (a large is 1,370!). If you get both a small mixer and a fish sandwich, that's more calories than I should eat a day in diet mode.

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  12. November 19th: I'm still in love with my Fitbit.

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