It’s not a Fitbit. Fitbits are stupid. They are for housewives who polish off their whipped coffee drinks in the locker room, as they change for Pilates, and then pop by the smoothie bar on the way out, log their workout, and then wonder why their logged calories don’t add up to weight loss. They’re for people who can’t figure out what to do on their own. I hate them. Fitbits are for out-of-shapers who need something to tell them that they are out of shape, in a gentle reminder way, for a few months, before they get put in a drawer and never worn again. That’s why this isn’t a Fitbit. Shut up.
I used to be a lot of things before I got sick. The thing that I miss the most is the insanely motivated, insanely fit woman who couldn’t be drug out of the gym, even when she should’ve been drug out of the gym. There was no excuse good enough for me to miss a workout. Rain, sleet, snow, flu, fuck that shit, I was there. I still have extreme cold weather running gear from running in Michigan in sub-zero weather. I have dozens of pairs of weightlifting gloves, not because they are cute, but because I actually use those bad boys. I know my way around a Smith machine, just as comfortably as I do around the girly elliptical. I used to spend two to three hours there before work in the morning. Seriously. I love the gym. I once bruised my leg on a free-weight, just by being clumsy, that I left a slight scar. I don’t screw around; it was a 50-lb weight, that I had just been curling.
But, last week, at my neurologist’s appointment, where we sat waiting for a nerve block (btw: more on what a nerve block is, and a rhizotomy later - I bet people want to know that, huh?) to help stop this insanely long headache-patch, Bryon pointed out just how long Chiari has taken from me. In passing, he mentioned something that happened a little over two years ago. It was like an epiphany. It felt like someone opened a curtain and let the light in, and I’d never realized a window was even there before. It’s been over two years. Two years. Two years of my life, the life I used to have, that’s slowly inched away, been robbed away by Chiari, including one of the most important things in the world to me, my physical fitness. It’s not vanity, not my body, per se; I still look relatively the same. In fact, I’ve lost some weight because I lost a lot, and I mean a lot of muscle mass. It’s more of a sense of well-being, and a sense of accomplishment in one’s own body.
I’ve been sitting around, waiting to feel better, to feel good enough, to push harder, to be better, to get on a roll. That day is likely never going to come. Every day, I come up with a reason that I can’t work out, because I can’t work out the way that I would’ve used to have done. Whoa, that’s a crazy use of a lot of varied types of past tense, right? It may or may not be correct. Who cares? Anyway, I can’t do that anymore. If I keep waiting to be my strongest, I will only continue to be my weakest. I have to work with what I have, to build up to what I can be. The idea of resting until I’m better will only make me sicker, and weaker. I have to stop “exercising” a few days a week, and exercise every day. Period. It’s time to change. If I want Rachel back, she’s got to be back in spirit.
One of the symptoms that I brought up to my doctor was that my grip strength has gotten so poor, that I can’t pick up heavy objects anymore, and there is concern that the nerve damage in my spine has reached my hands. I can’t, for example, pick up my laptop, if it’s on its side. Or, I can’t pick up small objects, if they are heavier than, say, a small book, with only one hand. I can’t grip them, and simultaneously lift them. Bryon mentioned that between loss of strength, and lack of appetite, I may just be fundamentally weak, not suffering damage; and it occurred to me that the time that’s passed between Gym-Beast-Rachel, and Now-Rachel, it’s just been, well, longer than I realized. When days blur together, it’s hard to realize they are passing so quickly.
Which brings me to the not-a-Fitbit. I always thought these things were stupid. And, frankly, they are. But, I’ve tried a number of things to get me motivated to get myself back on track, and none of them have worked. There’s always a reason to wait until tomorrow, when I might feel better, stronger, different. But, I never do. I have put my goals in a calendar. I’ve written logs. I’ve followed other people’s plans, which of course didn’t work. Has someone else’s plan ever worked? A plan always has to be yours. I needed something to make me feel accountable, to myself, in a way that I couldn’t escape. Alas, the stupid not-a-Fitbit. Can you tell I think they are stupid, yet? And of course, I can escape it. I can take it off anytime I want. I can stop logging. Whatever.
Still, this is evidence that Facebook advertising works. I’m also considering a mattress in a box, like Purple, or Casper. Damn targeted advertising. I don't even need a mattress! I’ve seen ads for this thing for years now and always scanned right by it, thinking, “blah, another one of those dumb things.” Whelp, they got me, now. Anyway, this is a Bellabeat, Leaf. Specifically, it’s the Urban model. It’s the more expensive one, merely because I’m small, and this one is a few millimeters smaller than the original. As you can see, it’s already quite large, if I wear it as a bracelet, which means I didn’t want it any chunkier than it had to be! It comes with the bracelet, and an attractive silver necklace, if you want to wear it that way; or, you can clip it to your clothing. It’s super light-weight, and I’ve already gotten compliments on it. I doubt I’ll wear it as a necklace much, as I’ve worn the same necklace, every day, for almost ten years: the one Bryon gave me when Collin was born.
I’ve only had it for a few days, and I’m still in the “I love it stage.” It tracks every step I take, lets me track my activities, tracks my sleep, and tracks how stressed it thinks I will be, based on whether or not I’ve done enough calming activities throughout the day, including yoga and meditation exercises, which it has pre-programmed into its memory. And, of course, it tracks my period. I love the meditation. My therapist has been after me to start meditating for months, and I guess all I needed was a needlessly expensive device to force me into it. I’m not sure why I was so resistant to the idea of meditation; it was surprisingly relaxing, and I actually can’t wait to do it tonight. It was immediately calming. It wasn’t so calming when I invited Collin to join me for morning meditation. He’s not cut out for meditating, at least not without some practice.
Disappointingly, it gathered enough data in the “getting to know you,” stages, that rather than targeting my daily step count goal at 10K steps, it thinks I should only be aiming for 6K steps, which is 4K steps lower than the daily recommended count from the CDC. Yeah, I’m that pathetic. I’ve been walking pretty regularly, and have even started “jogging” a few times a week, for a few minutes, at a time. By jogging, I mean what most people would consider walking briskly; but, it has to start somewhere. I’m okay with that. It matters that I’m doing it, not that I’m doing it quickly. I hope to be doing it more often, and more quickly, eventually. That goal is good enough for me, right now. To continue doing it regularly has to be the sustained, and sustainable goal. I’m breakable now.
And, the goal-targeting is already working on me. I wasn’t satisfied with my step-count today, so I walked more. I’m sure this phenomenon is not unique for a new not-a-Fitbit wearer, but I know me; and I know that this feeling won’t wear off. It’s a kick-start. I explained to Bryon this morning that, I feel like getting myself back to myself, is like standing at the bottom of a hill, pushing a large rock, and once it gets to the top, I’ll be fine, because the downhill, is back to normal. But, before that, the rock is heavy and difficult; I need nudges and help. I already feel more like myself, monitoring my every move, and making sure I’m doing exactly what I’ve told myself to do. Every rep, every step, every day. I need to be accountable to someone, even if it’s myself.
I know that the real Fitbit is probably “better.” It probably does more, and would do neater things; but I hate them, and they are stupid. Have I mentioned that? So, I’m happy with this one. Shut up about your logic. The targeted goals in all the areas that I need to be focusing on here are going to help me not waste another two years: sleeping better, exercising better, and finding ways to release stress for pain relief. Yay for it not being ugly. Well, not as ugly as it could be. At least it’s not a hot pink, or boring black, plastic bracelet.