Fitting It In

Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

For our 34th wedding anniversary on Sunday, I bought my wife a Fitbit. Obviously I’m a little sentimental.

And obviously, or it should be obvious to anyone with a few years of marriage under their belt, I didn’t really buy her anything. Logically, she bought herself a Fitbit, the fruit of her labor, the sweat of her brow, etc. I just handed over a credit card. And approved.

She came to the wearable fitness technology world in a completely organic way, as opposed to the way I did. My daughter bought me a Fitbit for Christmas, the perfect gift in the sense that I didn’t want or particularly need one. I sure like it, though, mostly for the nudges to move my butt out of the chair.

In her case…well, it’s actually the same case. She worries about being too sedentary this summer, her time to relax. She put it on yesterday and easily covered 10,000 steps. What she does today and tomorrow, and next week, will tell the tale, but to my eye the key feature of the Fitbit is that you wear it. It doesn’t ensure that you’ll move, but it will let you know if you don’t.

She’d like to lose a few pounds, as novel a goal as that is, but of course there are other issues. She wants to maintain a healthy heart. She doesn’t want her knees or hips to ache (or ache more than they should, given our place on the timeline). She doesn’t care for the mirror or camera so much at the moment, and she’d like that to clear up, too. You know the drill.

Exercise won’t help with that, not a lot, and I can’t. Her diet is varied and generally very healthy, and I wouldn’t know where to begin in terms of getting her calories into a debt situation, but she’s been here before. She knows the drill, too.

I’m an example of change in later life, or that’s what I tell myself. I tell it to myself a lot lately, in fact.

Plenty of us, probably most, have dysfunctional relationships with eating, and with cause: We live in a grazing society, and those pastures are nothin’ but sugar. We’ve evolved and adapted over millennia to like sweet things, because sweet things contain energy, necessary when you’re living in the Stone Age.

These days, maybe not so much with the famine, not in this part of the world. Plenty of people go hungry, of course, but that’s really a societal problem, not a supply one. We’ve got lots and lots of food.

It was obvious to me that, even once I’d lost the bulk of my midlife weight gain, I ate poorly. Just being aware of what I could get away with made it worse, probably, and several months of restricting my diet during the loss time almost guaranteed dysfunction. I was barely interested in most foods, and every few days I’d indulge big time just to even things out. I kept the weight off but not the flab, then, and while there were no health concerns, and I imagine I could have carried on in that way for the rest of my life without much in the way of consequences, I knew it needed work.

And now it looks like the work has been done. After my last trips to Texas and Arizona, where I always eat consistently but maybe on the light side, I had several weeks of sugar binges, telling myself that I needed the calories. I did, too.

Just not those kind of calories, and after that period I stopped and haven’t looked back in a month. Desserts have become for special occasions, as in duh. No more ice creaming my way through old episodes of The Office. Not deliberately, either; I just lost interest, and at the same time found a couple of easy ways to make sure I was getting enough to eat without relying on simple carbs.

This seems to agree with my scale, which is one of those that tries to measure body fat percentage. It’s probably a bogus number, given the limitations, but it’s always the same time of day and it’s going down, a tenth of a percentage point or so a day.

So I’m going to remain skeptical but optimistic that I’m finally getting the hang of this human being business. Eat occasionally for fun, mostly for sustenance, and never stop paying attention. It’s a price but not a high one, which can be said for a Fitbit, too. I’m saying it.

Chuck SigarsComment