The Fitbit Addiction…

Got it and LOVE it!

Got it and LOVE it!

I know, y’all…It’s been a while. I’ve been busy… (one word; wine, and how many blogs can one girl do on wine making, right?)

Today’s post is about addiction.

Specifically, my addiction. To my Fitbit.

Hi. My name is Julie and I am a step-a-holic. I have relied on a Fitbit in one form or another to give me a fairly realistic idea about my activity level, calorie burn, etc, since September 2013. These handy little tools are not a new concept to me.

The Culture of Wellness Committee where I work recently got a lot of folks on the Fitbit bandwagon by offering the “Flex” model for a reduced price and a two-time payroll deduction, thus making it affordable for pretty much everyone. They also set up a group for employees on the Fitbit web site. (Unbeknownst to me, this would become my undoing.) Of course, being a Fitbit veteran, I added myself to the hospital group.

Now, I generally strive for ten-thousand steps per day, because it’s what I do. Granted, I might not usually don’t make that over a weekend, because slugs generally don’t move a lot on Saturday and Sunday, but I wasn’t doing too badly. Then two of my friends each purchased a Flex back in September and invited me to a Work Week Hustle competition. (For those of you unfamiliar with this, it is when a group of people compete for the highest number of steps during the work week.)

Looking back, I think this is where it all started. One day Simone got 15,000 steps, and so did Jennifer. *sigh* Did you know I am REALLY competitive? Neither did I. I figured if the girls could do it, so could I. Now by “girls” I mean women in their early to mid-thirties. I, on the other hand, am applying for my AARP membership. I had something to prove. (I hate when that happens.) But I did it. AND I got a new step badge. (For every increase of 5K, you get a new badge- 5K is a Boat Shoe, 10K is Sneakers, 15K was the Urban Boot.)

About two weeks ago, I saw a sign hanging by the elevators. There was this contest… (isn’t that the way a lot of stories start?) Seems that the Culture of Wellness was going to award prizes to the employees who had increased their percentage of steps the most from September to October. To be eligible, one must belong to the hospital group, and must have averaged at least 2,000 steps per day in September (which, I guess, is to keep people that didn’t step at ALL from getting crazy percentage increases)…Anyway, 1st place wins a massage package, 2nd place gets a $50 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods and 3rd place is a $25 shoe gift card. Now, while I do love Dick’s (get your minds out of the gutter, people…I hear you tittering out there) and I DO kind of need a new pair of runners, all I could really see was MASSAGE PACKAGE.

It was all over but the shouting, as they say.

I started ensuring that I exceeded my 10K step goal daily, then I realized I could INCREASE my step goal, so I did; to 15K per day. I’d been doing the occasional Work Week Hustle with some folks I’d met through Lisa (this is her blog) and upping my steps a little at a time. I nailed a High Tops badge for 20k. I was really starting to get into this, and shared that bit of information with my buddy Ron at work. Now Ron is no joke; the man does marathons, and comes in hight on the leader board on the regular. (Yes, there is a leader board, and yes, as soon as I discovered the contest, I also started checking out the group page and stalking the leader board like a fiend. These people take STEPS; I’m not kidding! They are amazing and how were they getting numbers like that?????)

These Danskos were made for walking...

These Danskos were made for walking…

Apparently he TOLD some friends, because someone invited me to a Work Week Hustle with the Big Dogs of the group Leader Board. Around the same time I realized that I really wanted a massage package (because I am too cheap to get one for myself, because what if I hate it?), I checked my position on said leader board. I was ranked 24th or 25th out of 208 participants. Hmmm, I thought, not too shabby. But these people I was competing with were in the top five, easy. So I’d gotten an invitation from Christy to play hardcore with the Big Dogs last week. We’d not met at that point, but she said she’d heard I was fairly competitive. (At this point, not even I knew just how competitive I was!)

I’d started to up my steps daily, throwing in a minimum of ten flights of stairs on workdays. It really has become an addiction. When I would see the numbers they were putting up weekly steadily climbing, I started upping my numbers, too. A lot.

It got to the point where I looked at Johnny and asked him, “All this exercise CAN’T be good for me, can it?” He laughed. I groaned. The stair climbing had given me a serious case of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and my hammies were talking to me. I didn’t give up, tho. The week before that I earned my “Classics” badge for 25K in a day.

A week ago last Friday night, I decided I would walk around the yard and then the treadmill, and then around the house until I simply couldn’t walk anymore, you know, just to see what I could do to kind of push myself. At this point I was somewhere in the middle-teens on the leader board. I nailed 30K and some change. I got another badge; a trail shoe.

Last week, I somehow managed to keep up with the Big Dogs, earned my Hiking Boot (35K), Cleats (40K) and Snow Boots (45K) badges, and ended up taking home the win for that challenge (I totaled out M-F with 159,951 steps). My steps increased by 155% from September (because I really want that massage package, in case I hadn’t mentioned it). I even managed to snag the win in the Weekend Warrior challenge with 48,455. I also ended the month 6th on the leader board…Not too bad, right?

Do you see? It’s addicting…so much so that I frequently check the leaderboard. As of right now? I’m in first place, and Christy (who I met last week) and I have been ping-ponging for first place in this week’s challenge. 🙂 It’s ridiculously fun, and apparently good for me.

Last Thursday night, I shared the Snow Boots badge on Facebook, and the morning after my all-time step record, a friend of mine posted this article by David Sedaris as a reply to my post. It’s lengthy, but a really good read, and I can relate to what he says.

Honestly? I don’t see myself spending 9 hours a day walking like Mr. Sedaris, but I do have my sights set on running a 5K this month to get back in the game after not having run in two years. And, hey, it’s good for me, right? RIGHT? 😀

Do any of you count steps? Use a Fitbit? Have another healthy addiction? Tell me about it!

Until next time…

Fitness and a Quick Catch-Up

This site is terrific! (and not because I'm on it...)

This site is terrific! (and not because I’m on it…)

A couple months ago, as summer was coming up fast and grandsons were starting to make their appearances, I was approached via private message over at MyFitnessPal by a gentleman who had put together a success stories-related web site. He asked me if I would be willing to share my story.

Well, uhh… Gee…I don’t know. I guess?

So my willingness to inspire others beat out my initial shyness, because I agreed to do it. In fact, I also agreed to let him publish my review of the FitBit Charge HR, too.

After my first grandson was born on June 11, five weeks early at a terrific hospital 45 minutes away, he was whisked away to their NICU, where I was able to stroke his foot, but not hold him. I won’t refer to him by his real name, but for blog purposes, he shall be known by my nickname for him: GrandBoo.

Once GrandBoo came into the world, my head was filled with thoughts and prayers of him getting bigger and stronger. He was soon transferred to our local hospital, aka my Day Job. I was able to sit with him during breaks and lunches. I wasn’t able to hold him, yet, but talked to him and told him how handsome he was.

I didn’t hold him for the first time until June 28, when my second grandson came into the world, a week overdue. He shall henceforth be known as my GrandBru. ❤

Two days later, I celebrated my 50th birthday, which also goes down in history as the night I splashed water into the back of my iPad and killed it. Because the weather was intermittent thunderstorms, I didn’t plug in the Mac because I didn’t want to lose a second hard drive to lightning strikes. *shrug* With no tablet until several weeks later?  Blogging wasn’t happening. Therefore, I hadn’t had the opportunity to tell you about my space on the aforementioned web site.

While I was in Texas last week (another story for another time) I received a message from yet another gentleman on MFP (My Fitness Pal) who is doing a series of podcasts pertaining to fitness over 40, and he asked me to speak with him, as he saw my story on Real Bodies Real Results – Julie. (<- That’s my piece, there.)

I agreed to do it. I’m interviewing tomorrow evening. It won’t be published till January 1, 2016 (tentatively), but I am all grades of nervous.

I just wanted to say that I’m here, not dead, been traveling, and not for the best of reasons, and still staying as active as the oppressive eastern North Carolina heat will let me be.

I’ll catch you up sooner, rather than later.

Until next time…

Product Review – Fitbit Charge HR…

Got it and LOVE it!

Got it and LOVE it!

I was on the Fitbit website last week because I needed a new wrist strap for my One and saw that they had come out with a few new models over at Fitbit Central.

I remembered seeing my sister post about obtaining one, recently, and asked her if she’d gotten the Charge HR and how she liked it. (I figured it was the HR because she had been experiencing some issues with her wrist-worn HRM.)

I went ahead and ordered one through Amazon (because Prime & free 2 day shipping, yo!), because it looked like something I would really like. I’d been considering going to a Flex, because a wrist worn device would definitely benefit me. (Ever worn a dress, then tried to put the clip on pantyhose? Yeah, no thanks.)

My sister had, indeed, gotten the Charge HR, but has some concerns regarding the workout calories burned. The Charge’s calorie burns are less than her Wii program’s esitmate (based on height and weight). Now, I go by MFP burn numbers, with the knowledge that they are probably over-estimated, and try to make sure that my intake is less than or equal to what my old Fitbit One displayed. (Based on if I was trying to lose, or maintain.)

My Charge HR arrived on Friday, and here are my observations, thus far, after having used the One for a year and a half:

  1. The heart rate monitor reads about spot on to what my chest strap HRM would read during both strength training and cardio/Zumba. My resting heart rate is accurate, as well.
  2. The steps are as accurate as my One.
  3. The total number of calories burned in a 24 hour period are in line with what my One displayed at the end of the day.
  4. The automatic sleep tracking feature is a godsend, given that half the time I forgot to hit the little button on the One to track sleep. This is a good thing, given my aforementioned inability to remember to set it for “sleep” once I’m in bed. I’m having some serious “stay asleep” issues due to …*sigh* getting older (read: f*cking menopause)…and it will be good to have something to show my doctor.
  5. It will also display caller ID if you have a compatible cellular phone. I’m currently using a Samsung Galaxy S3 and it works like a champ! (Bells & whistles, tho…not a make or break feature for me.)

While I was initially charging my HR, I was reading the forums over at Fitbit regarding the Charge HR, and there have been a lot of issues. Forewarned is forearmed, so I have been more than a little on the look-out for issues. To date? I haven’t had any problems.

I can see where I could/would totally use something like this!

I can see where I could/would totally use something like this!

So, while I was off Googling something else on Amazon, last night, I found that I can get all sorts of bling for my wrist band, which may not be considered “fashionable” in some circles. I’m fortunate in that I work in healthcare and they are ENCOURAGING us to be more healthy, but I did find some cool stuff to deck out my wristband with.

I also learned that I can use two devices, though not at the same time. For example, if I wanted to NOT wear the wristband to some formal-thing, I could use my One clipped to a skirt (or bra strap, or whatever) and it will still sync to my dashboard over at If a Charge HR is going to be a replacement device you CAN swap them out, so that was a plus for me.

If you are looking for a new tracking device or a replacement Fitbit, I highly recommend the Charge HR!

Questions? Comments?

Until Next Time…