Friday, March 13, 2015

It's a love/hate kinda thing


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Yes, I know I'm posting a little late for me, but I've spent the morning fighting with anti-virus software on Mad Natter's compy - I don't want that specific package there, and it refuses to let me delete, uninstall, modify, or even stop it. So it's been eating up my morning while I'm trying to let Mad Natter play some Terraria - and he can't because this silly program is using up (literally) 98% of his systems available memory.  Nasty business.

Anyway. It's a love/hate thing. I have a long history with pedometers, and a lot of it boils down to the fact that I walk generally softly, or I have a kid. Many moons ago, I had one of those 'clip it on your hip' pedometers. I'd get to the end of a day - even if I'd gone for a run (minimum 2.5K) - and find I'd barely made 5000 steps. That just ain't right. Turns out, the pedometer, because it was on my left hip, was only counting the left half of my steps. Fine. So I'd move it to the middle. That was better, right up until I wanted to check it in the middle of the day, and it was at the small of my back - or worse, I'd put it in front, and pitch it into the toilet the first time I had to pee.  Eventually, I gave up. Imagine my cautious excitement when the Fitbit Flex came onto the market - you wear it like a watch! It's designed for one-sided use, and it won't fall in the toilet!  SWEET! You can even wear it in the shower, or while you're doing dishes!  Awesome!

Selling points, all. This was fantastic news. So, of course, tax return time comes, and hey, HEY! I can get one of those - and I've been eyeballing 'em for a while now!  Yay, a treat for me!

So yes. I go out and get one, and there begins the love/hate.  I love this thing for any number of reasons. Primarily the aforementioned "it can get wet" thing, but also for the Dashboard. On the Fitbit dashboard, you can see a whole load of interesting things. You can see, in fifteen minute increments, how many steps you took in a given time period, across your day. You can see how many calories you've burned, and you can see how long you spent in bed - and even how much of that time was spent actually sleeping.

But, there's a small problem. Being that I'm a mom, and a stay-at-home one at that, there are very few places I go that I don't have someone under four foot tall with me. And when I do, a lot of our issues predicate our need to use a cart. However, as my nifty little chart shows me, this presents a problem to the step counter. Not an insurmountable problem, no, but one that takes some getting used to. You see, yesterday, Mad Natter and I went to Target (more on that in an upcoming DITL post!). That lull between 4:00 and 8:00 pm? That was when we were in Target. Funny thing. We were in the sporting goods section looking at helmets for Mad Natter's upcoming season of baseball, and suddenly... "I have to use the potty!"  Oh, no. I don't know where the toilets are. So we walked from the far corner of the store to the middle of that same wall to the elevator, where I thought there was a bathroom. No. So back to sporting goods, where I remember there being a staff person, though they were helping someone else as we rushed by. I talk to them, and find out the bathroom is almost as far away as it can be - downstairs at the front-middle of the store, and we're upstairs at the back corner.  Crud. So, Mad Natter in cart, I make a break for it. By the time we got Mad Natter to the bathroom, I was out of breath and my shins hurt from trying to move as fast as possible in a pair of open-back shoes . The time this entire journey took place? Fitbit counted 135 steps.

It's difficult, apparently, for the pedometer to count steps when you're using a cart - primarily because your arm isn't swinging free. So, since the bulk of time I'm carrying things, the pedometer doesn't register as well as I'd like. BOO. However, it does give me a rough baseline of one day versus the last, which is actually really helpful and I like a lot. I also expect that as warmer weather approaches, and we've less than a foot of snow on the ground, I'll get more accurate readings, as the bulk of my moving about outside the house won't be carrying all the things, but instead pulling a wagon which is carrying all the things, which will let my arm swing free.

Now, granted, I like the bracelet concept. I like that I don't have to buy batteries for it. I like that it syncs not only with my phone, but with my fitness/diet app as well. At this point, no, the meter isn't accurate, and yes, it takes time to charge (it charges by USB). But, it's an incentivizer, which is always a good thing for me - if I'm willing to try to beat yesterday's measured 3,557 steps, then you know what? That's a good thing. Especially for a homebody in a smallish house who needs to be a little more active.