Getting Fit With Fitbit Part 2 – “Actively” Living

Yesterday I faced facts about my eating habits and how they’re not so good… and now I’m looking at the other component to that – being active, exercise… you know that stuff. This was something I wasn’t going waste any time on, because I consider myself to be an active person, but I can’t ignore that even if I cleaned up my eating habits, it’s not going to matter if I’m not doing what I need to do to stay active, or being active in the most productive ways. And to be honest, I was curious to see how I measured up.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been called the Energizer Bunny. I was always peppy and spirited, organizing groups to walk a few miles to pick up litter when I was seven and by the time I was fourteen, organizing political or activist marches across my fair hometown of Omaha. In college I didn’t just pull all-nighters, but three or four in a row (let it be noted – I do not recommend this) without the help of Red Bull or caffeine pills. When I’m sick, I don’t lie down – I’ll organize something or clean the house or walk the dog. I hate being still.

On the other hand though, I don’t play any sports. I have a brittle bone disease so it’s not like I can suddenly take one up either. I don’t go to the gym (though we have a space downstairs that just needs the equipment to have our own gym at home) or use any equipment. In fact, any exercise I do is usually limited to walking (I have always been and will always be a hardcore walker) or light exercises like squats, double crunches, twists and arm circles. I used to dance to music for thirty minutes, which was great cardio, but still adjusting to my new deafness, I can’t hear the music to dance to it. So beyond getting equipment for our space in the basement, I’m not sure what kind of exercise I can do beyond what I already do.

There really isn’t a recommended number for how many calories you should burn each day unless you’re trying to lose weight. Now, I wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds (but only a few, I’m not that big) but I’d be more interested in converting what I have into muscle and making sure my body is lean and tight instead of just twiggy. But I don’t want to go to the gym because I don’t want to work out in public. I mean, I would just feel so odd working out in front of total strangers and a lot of gyms have mirrors (I don’t need to see myself work out either) and I know my feelings on this are not going to change. But I am kind of getting ahead of myself. Here is my activity info for the last thirty days. And I’ll admit I was both pleasantly and unpleasantly surprised with it.

I burned an average of 2,154 calories every day. On my least active day I burned 1,758 calories, on my most active I burned 2,697 calories. I was pretty consistent with what I burned – I burned less than 2,000 calories on five out of thirty days, and most days I burned between 2,040 calories and 2,350 calories. I was pleasantly surprised that I was at least burning more calories than I consumed because with my sweet tooth, I kind of wondered.

I was disappointed however, in my average steps per day. Before I got Fitbit, I had a pedometer and tracked steps that way. I had a goal of 10,000 steps per day and while that is still my average, counting all of the days that have passed this year – the last thirty I kind of slacked. I only walked an average of 7,044 steps every day. I didn’t see that coming. I had a doctor thing three weeks ago that laid me up for a couple of days, so I knew I might be under 10,000 steps, but I thought I would surely be close to 9,000 steps each day. This just makes me determined to make sure that I walk 10,000 steps every day over the next thirty days without exception. And I can do that – that’s my normal.

Fitbit also tracks how many floors you climb each day. I never thought about this before, but it was nice to see that I did an average of 10 floors every day. This was pretty consistent with most days being 10 floors exactly, only five days being less than 10 floors and more than five being a little more than 10 floors. I don’t have any new goals for this number, because I think 10 floors is a good goal, but I don’t see doing more than that as necessary.

I’m not sure what my goal for burned calories should be, namely because I’m not sure how it all works. I think my body “needs” roughly 1500 calories. I’m going to say I would like to lose ten pounds because it’s a nice round number, though I would be happy losing less or just converting that weight into muscle. What confuses me though is calories consumed versus calorie burned. Do the calories I burn count against calories I consume? I mean that wouldn’t make sense because if it did, then I would have had -471 calories each day, since that is the amount I burned that exceeds the amount I consumed. I’ve read a couple of different things, but some of them aren’t very easy to understand and others essentially state that for anything you eat over your goal calorie count you should burn off the same amount, but again my calorie count can’t equal -471 calories per day, because I have not lost tons of weight. I have maybe lost 1-2 pounds, but honestly since it seems to fluctuate even that is debatable. So, how many calories should I try to lose every day? And how does this weight loss stuff work? Or better yet, what can I do to convert any fat into muscle, because I’d take that option, even if it meant my weight would actually go up.

I’m starting to look at routines and things I can do at home. Just like with the food aspect, I’m hoping that Fitbit motivates me to stay active and healthy. Even though I never felt my activity was as unhealthy as my eating habits – the two go together and I’m hoping to improve both.

Now is the time, I am holding myself accountable. It’s time to burn, baby burn! (Sorry, sometimes I can’t resist letting my cheesiness show. 😛 )

-DMW

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