Wednesday, 5 September 2012

I may not see it ... but my Fitbit does

As you know, I began officially working out at the end of January, 2012.  Before that, and in fact, as early as November, 2011, I was watching what I ate (although not, apparently, watching it very closely).  Trying to manage my food consumption alone led to some minor weight loss, but it took adding exercise to really see the pounds start to come off.

I, like most people, look at myself in the mirror every day.  Changes are happening to my body, but I don't really see them until I compare two photographs, side by side.  It's just that all the changes are so incredibly gradual, that I don't notice them from day to day.

But my little Fitbit sees the changes, too, and tells me so.  Let's look at my very first weekly report from Fitbit (at right).  I walked a whopping total of 13,209 steps that week, for an average of 1,887 steps per day, and a total of 5.94 miles for the entire week. 

Thinking back to this timeframe, at my heaviest, I simply couldn't walk more than a half a block without extreme discomfort in my back, and without my asthma kicking in to make me sound like a freight train.  Not to mention the ever-so-attractive bright pink face.  And that is from walking half a block.

I couldn't walk to the office (a 3 block trip) without stopping at least once to stretch out my back, and I would do whatever I could to avoid walking at all, it was so uncomfortable.  I spent $12 each week on transit to the office, and $50 per week on cabs home from the office.  All because I. Could. Not. Walk. 

Let's compare, shall we, to one of my recent tracking reports (not last week's because Fitbit decided not to track an entire day's worth of steps for some reason, but that's another story). 

A couple of weeks ago I walked more than 48 thousand steps, covering more than 23 miles.  Not only can I walk to the office without discomfort, but I recently went on a 4.4 mile walk, for "fun".  I would never have even thought that I could do such a thing, when I started this workout kick. 

Last week I walked to the office and home again every day (except for Friday evening, when I took a cab to meet a friend uptown for dinner).  I then had a long walk on Saturday afternoon, home from Yonge and Bloor, and I had the monster of all walks (for me) on Sunday, at Tommy Thompson Park. 

The Nerd has noticed that I walk faster, when I walk places, and that we do not need to stop when he walks me to the office in the morning.  He also notices that we go on walks together at least 2-3 times per week, where in the past I would have done everything in my power to avoid walking anywhere.  And there's also the money saved in transit and cabs - - a not immaterial thing in this economy, when times are tight.  And there's also the attitude shift.  Before (in the "dark times" before working out), my default was to take transit everywhere.  Toronto is blessed with a pretty good transit system downtown, and I am smack dab in the center of it.  Over time, however, I have noticed that I find waiting for the streetcar to be more of a pain than it is worth, especially when I know it will be packed and uncomfortable.  I am finding it just easier and nicer to walk to work, and many times I will arrive before the streetcar would have dropped me off.  That change in my mindset is a huge thing, and is the thing that will help me keep with these good walking habits more than anything else. 

I don't notice these differences, because they sneak up on me so gradually.  I can't tell you the first time I was able to walk to work without significant discomfort.  I can't tell you when my wheezing started to get better.  And I can't tell you when I first thought it was easier to walk to work than to wait for the streetcar.  But I can tell you that all of a sudden I am noticing that I can do things that I could never do before. 

And that's a good thing. 

I can't wait to see the story the numbers tell 6 months or a year from now. 

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