Yesterday morning my dad gave me a Fitbit Charge 2. This isn’t as rude as it sounds because I’ve spent the last six months trying to improve my physical fitness (I’m preparing for the worst, re: 2017).
So far, here is how I can be quantified:
- Four text alerts. Three said “Merry Christmas!!!!!!” The other was a fake quote from Mark Zuckerberg. I discovered that text alerts do not go to my Fitbit if I have iMessage open on my computer. That is a “revelation” not something I quantified, but I’m not sure where else to put it.
- As of 10:40 AM EST I had completed 510 steps out of what Fitbit has declared as my 10,000-step daily goal. I am working from home today. I am working on the internet.
- I have a resting heart rate of 62 BPM. Nice! Either I’m a professional athlete or I’m nearing death.
- I “relax”-ed for two minutes.
When I got home from Christmas dinner at my grandmother’s house yesterday I ran 2.5 miles on a treadmill in my parents’ basement and did a variety of sit-up alternatives that I learned at my gym’s “Ab-s-olution” class. However, I was not wearing my new Fitbit. Who knows if I’m telling the truth!
In the future, I’ll be able to prove it to you. I don’t know for sure if quantifying myself will ultimately be useful, but for a while I did type everything I ate into an Under Armour-branded app and though it eventually got boring and tedious it gave me a sense of control in a world in which there is very little of that. I also convinced myself for a while that if I consistently ate 200 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A I would not need to actually get reading glasses (as recommended by a physician), which suited my vanity and made me feel like a science experiment.
The best thing about quantifying myself is that it means I always have something to talk about. For example, if a friend should ask, “how are you?” I can respond “I have 483 more calories to eat today and because I’m secretly in love with you my heart rate is off the charts right now please back up three to six feet.” If I’m at a loss for words at a networking event I can say, “what are your opinions on the quantified self?” And I will have some to share. If the conversation lags I can excuse myself to walk up and down a flight of stairs in service of my step goal.
I know there has been plenty of ink spilled about whether or not fitness trackers actually help you lose weight or get strong, and that’s not what I’m here to address. In 2017 I will not be wasting time worrying about societal expectations for my bod and I already know I am very strong because I can do 11 push-ups. All I care about in regards to my Fitbit is learning some new ways to list facts about myself.
What a good present so far!