So I got a fitness tracker…

This will be the start of, or won’t be, the story of me and my wife and some fitness technology and my weird alternate motivations to actually do anything.

I got a Fitbit, she got a Garmin, while it would make us money to push these products I have no interest in doing this for this post. I’m more interested in how technology and unexpected motivations can (possibly,) get you there… I’ll explain down below.

TL;DR – my particular motivation explained in fitness watch tech and whatever subsequent reviews I will be doing. Probably will not be worth reading if you have normal motivations but might be of interest if graphs and metrics are your motivation.

I got chunky

In the space of about four to five months as far as I can tell I gained … that can’t be right… 32 pounds. This occurred during a several month spree in which we were constantly at home, with kids, weather terrible, everything closed, and nothing to do but fight to keep them doing their school work and not fighting. It was not good.

What was odd, to me at the time anyway, was I wasn’t eating all that much more (if I was,) I’d just completely stopped moving. Even at my tech mostly normal job I’d walk around the building, go here, there, move, walk to car, walk to office, move. During the pandemic, ice, rain, etc my day was coming down stairs to wake up two kids who did not want to do virtual school, getting them set up, walking back up the stairs, and sitting in the only place I could get work done as the kids, at full volume for several months straight, attempted to interact via Teams with their school. By the end of their school day, not even me taking most of the brunt of this, I was exhausted.

I went from a fluffy XL before thanksgiving to “DAAAAAAAMN” 3XL – what was odd to me at least is that my waistline never changed. Literally all my fat snuck up on me and one day my gut went from meh to flabulous.

My guess is I’d dropped from walking a minimum of about 500 steps an hour, to about 500 a day.

Demotivational motivations

Some people need a cheerleader to get them going. That’s not me. I’m not bragging or saying I’m self motivated, but I’m almost completely demotivated by traditional approaches. I’m not doing it to be cool or prove that somehow I can do this myself, it’s just if someone’s saying “you can do it!” something inside of me is saying “I don’t think I want to.” Depression? Snark? No idea.

My motivations are … observed, reflective, not in the moment. By that I mean if I see I did good, I want to see if I can do better. If someone is saying “I believe you can do better right now!” that completely snaps whatever drive I have. I’ve tried to explain this to some people, but the easiest way for me to describe this is I do really really good in terms of exercise and diet on a spreadsheet and really really bad in a class or lead by someone.

The interaction in my psyche is “you can do it! I believe in you!” – “well, everyone’s entitled to their beliefs I guess.” – Eeyore of motivations.

I took a spin class once and was much more motivated by the heart monitor than the instructor. I was much more motivated by a Livejournal I kept that I wrote down my exercise / weights / etc.

So I got the tech

A few weeks ago I went to the basement to put some laundry in and came back upstairs and was sweating. It wasn’t hot. I’d ordered some new shirts and none of them fit. They were all one size up from what I normally wore. The one that was two sizes up worked. Decided it was time to start actively working as I’m pretty sick of being slow, not feeling particularly good, sweaty, etc.

I did a bit of research and decided on the Fitbit Sense. It seemed to combine a few things that would actually motivate me into one app/device. The first was it looked basically like MyFitnessPal in terms of food logging. That worked well for me a long time ago, forget what happened but for some reason I abandoned that app. When I know what I eat I really don’t have a huge control problem with caloric intake. Oh, I went over my caloric goal? I’ll take care of it.

When I know what I weigh I know how much is the minimum effort I need to apply. I don’t have a problem exceeding the minimum. Honestly sometimes I like aiming for that and just seeing how much longer I can go. It’s usually longer than the maximum I’ve ever gone. Most people aim for the max and that’s… not my bag. I also like watching the lines go down.

I am cheap

If you have ever noticed I tend to review things forever on Pocketables. I write plenty of articles on how to do what X does for free or at least as inexpensively as possible. I don’t know how to really describe how I got this way, but I was raised with no money, although we didn’t ever lack for food or shelter.

Fitbit, all the stats and graphs, tools and insights I want is free for 6 months and then it’s $10 a month / $80 a year. I have no idea how to convey the motivation I have to get fit within 6 months from a potential $10 charge sometime in December.

OK, looking at the things I actually use, it looks like they’re included with free but I’m going to keep telling myself there’s $10 going away in December if I don’t get down to weight.

Let’s go?

As of publishing time this is day 11. So far so good but I’m not going to throw my back out patting myself on the back.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts