You may have noticed that I have a bit of an obsessive personality. *snort* Not for me “I should write a blog” but “I should write a blog for ten years and turn it into a career” and not just “I should take a few pictures” but “I should take a picture every day for years and become a photographer.” Why dip your toe in the puddle when you can fling yourself in the ocean?
I decided back in early April that it was time to get my overweight arse back on the health bandwagon, but this time my focus was less on what I was eating and more on what I was doing with my body. I kept reading articles about how a sedentary lifestyle was a huge health risk, and so I decided that while I would start counting calories again, my real focus would be getting my body moving more often.
On Easter weekend, I fished my FitBit back out of the drawer (we were on a break, but we’ve since made up) and I made my goal of 10,000 steps per day every day for EIGHTEEN DAYS IN A ROW. I’ve been using a FitBit since January 2013 and the longest stretch I’ve previously gone was only four or five days, so the streak was a huge accomplishment for me. That’s almost 8 km of walking every day, through the spring sunshine and the rain and that raw wind that just won’t quit.
For the best part of a month, I lived a wonderfully active life. I set up a reminder to move on my computer at work, and every 60 or 90 minutes I’d get up, walk the four flights of steps to the main floor, across the length of our building and back up again. I’d walk five blocks out of the way to get my coffee or park at the parking lot down the road from where I was heading to get in a few extra steps. I spent an hour-long conference call from home pacing the 16 steps from my bedside table through the ensuite bathroom and back again and logged over a thousand steps for it (not to mention a serious case of vertigo.) For one solid week I drove home as quickly as I could so I could have time to park the car at home and walk over to the boys’ school so we could walk home together – good for me AND good for them, win-win!
Look at me! I’m active! I’m in control. I’m happy!
Well, not so much. It’s hella work and time consuming to do all that walking, and I was so busy trying to get my steps in that other things started falling by the wayside. Blog posts? Can’t. Walking. Errands at lunch? Only those that include lots of steps. And god forbid the day started to wind down and I was nowhere near my step goal – the stress started to get to me. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to finally break the streak when I didn’t make my step goal this Friday.
I had been making myself crazy to get that line on the chart to turn green each day, going to ridiculous lengths to make sure my FitBit gave it’s little victory buzz to let me know I’ve reached 10K steps for the day. (Aside – after almost a year of wearing the FitBit Flex, you’d think I’d begin to be less startled when the thing goes off to mark 10K steps, but no. I have variously jumped, yelped, flinched, flung a wooden spoon into a pot I was stirring and nearly wet my pants when it buzzed unexpectedly. I think the worst is when I’m anticipating it – somehow it manages to wait for the split second my attention is diverted before it goes off and I’m always the most harshly startled on those days. More than once I’ve thought I had an angry bee in my sleeve – rather unlikely in the deep dark heart of January, but still.)
So there’s a finite amount of time here and I’m going to have to figure out a way to be productive (when everything I produce involves me sitting in front of a monitor) AND be active AND do all the other tasks required to be the chief operating officer of our busy household. And don’t even bother recommending one of those treadmill-desk things. I did consider it, for about eleven seconds, but I have a hard enough time overcoming gravity and my own clumsiness when I’m focused on what my body is doing – I’d cause myself grievous bodily harm on one of those contraptions.
The other thing I noticed is that I did not feel any mentally better while I was on my 10k/day streak. In fact, I felt emotionally ragged and raw for a good portion of that time. It’s entirely possible that it was a coincidence, but the day I broke the streak of green “I did it” lines was the most contented I’ve felt in weeks. Hmmm.
So, the moral of today’s story is
don’t exercise I need to find a way to integrate moving my body into my daily routine that is sustainable without being slave to the green line of achievement. And maybe I need to learn to do some things without quite so much, um, enthusiasm. 😉