Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quantifying Myself

A few weeks ago, I purchased a Fitbit.  As you can see in its description on the left, it tracks one's activity throughout the day.  Lest you call this a glorified pedometer, you might want to know that it also tracks sleep activity.

Yes, it will tell me what my sleep efficiency is given how long I slept and how many times I woke up in the middle of the night.  As a skeptic, I was amazed at its accuracy.  The first night I slept soundly through the night and was awoken only when Eric kissed me goodbye.  The second night, I knew I woke up around 2AM a few times, and it accurately tracked that as well.

But the thing that I realized I most needed was, indeed, the pedometer.  I've heard many times for several years that one should take 10,000 steps each day.  I, for one, had no idea what that exactly meant, but I was sure I was close.  Yeah, I work at a desk, but compared to others, I took the stairs to the 5th floor.  I walk over to my coworkers' offices if I have a question for them.  I'm the one who avoids the moving walkways in the airports, which I think are The Laziest contraption that has been created by society.  So imagine my surprise when I logged a whole 3,000 steps by the time I got home from work on that first quantified day.  I was truly shocked.  So THAT is what I do on a daily basis without working out?  And then I did what the Fitbit was meant for - I was motivated to get my sneakers on and I walked out into the cool, dimmed light of the emerging evening and I walked the Lina Walk - the route Eric and I take when he helps me "get healthy" that day.  Unfortunately, even that walk wasn't enough, so I kept walking around the block until I got to 10,000 steps.  So THAT is what it takes to get to 10,000 steps?  Boy was I living in LaLa Land.

Two weeks later, I'm averaging about 8,000 steps per day and am working toward a 10k average.  My key strategy is to make sure I take several walking breaks during the day so that I don't find myself at 7PM with a lot of walking to still do.  And to make sure I stay on the bandwagon, they've given me badges for steps taken and stairs climbed.  My next strategy is to start "friending" folks to create a leaderboard.  I know I'm of the competitive ilk, and that would get me motivated to no end.

Perhaps in another month, I'll actually get motivated to log my food intake to really take quantification to the next level.  But I've tried that before, and I don't last longer than a week.  So the only solution is to wait for something like the Philometron Patch which is designed to calculate BOTH caloric output AND INTAKE.  Now THAT is something I could get behind...

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