How the fitbit became my bestfriend | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

The Fitbit app rejoiced with me: “Step goal crushed!”

t0205super-fitbit (2)I had been wearing my Fitbit Charge HR for about a month when, one day, while walking back to my hotel in Thailand, it started buzzing.

“Uh oh,” I thought. “Did I just break my Fitbit?”

But then I looked down and saw a number flashing on the little screen: 10,000.

10,000 steps. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit it but it had taken me weeks—and a trip abroad—to reach the daily step goal.

The Charge HR could do all sorts of things—track my heart rate, my sleep… but to me, its ability to count my steps was its most essential function.

Thanks to my pretty purple Fitbit, I soon became aware of how much I was (and was not) walking. I realized with horror that there were days when I would clock in under a hundred steps (pathetic). That had to be remedied.

Coupled with the knowledge that exercise was good for my then recently diagnosed depressed brain, I made the decision to start running, using the Fitbit as my guide.

I pounded the pavement day after day after day—at Amoranto, at the UP Oval, even around my neighborhood. The pounds started melting away. And, more importantly, I felt stronger, a lot stronger.

I became obsessed with my 10,000 steps, doing all kinds of things to hit the target. Like pacing around our garage when I realized my run had left me a few hundred steps short. Or walking home from a restaurant after dinner, leaving my extended family bewildered.

Soon, I had coined a term: Fitbitch. Fitbitch
/fit, biCH/ (noun): a person who doesn’t go home until her Fitbit tells her she can.

Yup, that was me.

The Fitbit app rejoiced with me: “Step goal crushed!”
The Fitbit app rejoiced with me: “Step goal crushed!”

I was soon so dependent on my Fitbit that, on a weekend trip to Cebu, I started panicking because I realized I had left my Fitbit charger at home. When its battery ran out, I felt incomplete.

Lesson learned. Now, when you search through my packing lists and notes to myself, you will see two words repeatedly: Fitbit charger. Fitbit charger. Fitbit charger.

Things got a little crazier when I downloaded the Fitbit app. The app allows you to connect with people you know for some friendly competition. But here’s the thing: I can be extremely competitive—so competitive that I once threatened to end friendships over a game of Monopoly.

One day, a coworker challenged me to meet the daily goal of 10,000 steps. Not a problem, I thought. My late night walks and runs had made hitting that target a breeze. But my coworker was in a different league. I looked at his profile and saw that there were days that he would walk 25,000 steps—Fitbit even called him “a stepping all-star.”

Imagine my panic when my day was just starting and I got an update from the app: My friend was off to a great start. He head already met 24 percent of the goal—that’s 2,416 steps.

A little while later, another update: 43 percent of the step goal met.

Meanwhile, I had taken practically zero steps because I was glued to my computer, trying to beat a deadline.

Another update: “R is on fire! 69 percent of step goal met. That’s 6,949 steps.”

It was just after lunch. What was he doing?

Apparently, he had walked all the way from our office to the university where he teaches. At 3 p.m., he completed the challenge while I had only taken 1,000 steps to and from the car as I went from appointment to appointment.

That night, I changed into my running clothes and headed to the sports complex where I usually run. And on my way there, as if to taunt me, another update from the Fitbit app: “R is an overachiever! 3,334 steps over goal.”

That made me even more determined to run my little heart out. But at the sports complex, a major hurdle: A church was holding their service there and men in barong kicked me out.

Three hours left before midnight, three hours left to complete the challenge. I decided to just walk briskly around my neighborhood. Our driver and houseboy volunteered to go with me because it was late. “Hindi kayo magsisisi?” I asked.

They shook their heads. And so we walked. We walked and walked and walked for blocks and blocks until we had reached Greenhills. I couldn’t believe it. I had walked from my house to Greenhills. And then we walked back. By the time we reached the house, I had walked 11,593 steps. The Fitbit app rejoiced with me: “Step goal crushed!”

Today, my Fitbit and I have a healthier relationship. I can go out without it and no longer feel naked. It was there for me when I needed it the most—while I was making the transition from being the poster girl of couch potato land to a person I never thought I’d become: someone who actually enjoys exercise.

Your Fitbit will be as effective as you make it. It can be just an accessory (it comes in different models and colors!), your personal trainer or, like for me, your new best friend.

Fitbit is available at Digital Walker and Beyond the Box.

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