Being middle-aged and having had all my reproductive stuff ripped out a few years ago, rendering my hormones as insane as a deranged serial killer, I have trouble getting rid of the hideous fat that has apparently taken up permanent residence around my midsection and thighs. Also being delusional, I am ever optimistic that I will be fit again, since inside my mind I am still 25.
Last spring, I bought a Fitbit, to which I immediately became addicted and obsessed. I run thrice weekly when the hubs drags me out of bed at 5am. I joined OrangeTheory fitness. I hate every second of it. I am a Fat Girl in Motion.
The problem? All this data at my fingertips has me both motivated and deflated simultaneously, all the more depressing because Tom Brady is not involved in said deflating. I have been known to walk a path around my house at 11pm in order to get the satisfying vibration of the Fitbit informing me I have reached the 10,000 step threshold imperative for health and fitness. After a grueling OrangeTheory workout, I get an e-mail that tells me how many calories I burned (always at the low end of the class, since I am the least athletic one there) along with a color-coded graph that shows me how hard I worked as well as how much I slacked off. RunKeeper tells me that, though I have improved my running immensely, I still only crank out 14-minute miles on average (but down from 16-minute miles back in July). In a race over the summer, I came in dead last, after a septuagenarian and a pregnant lady. I cried actual tears of humiliation and nearly deleted all my data-recording apps in a fit of frustration.
Why do I compare myself to the best person in class or the fleet-of-foot on Facebook who forever post about their race winnings and feel badly that I am not as good? Why can't I accept that I am not a 23-year-old marathon champion? Why can't my abs ever seem to recover from the four major surgeries I have had, to birth children and remove the parts that housed them during their formative months? Why do I even care? There are other things I am really good at - why am I so vexed by my athletically-challenged body? These are the questions that keep me up at night and cause my sleep log (also in the Fitbit) to show at least 47 minutes of restlessness interrupting my sleep patterns. Maybe the real problem does not lie in my lack of a size 4 (or 6 or 8) figure, but in my obsession with achieving it and all the time spent poring over data that may or may not even be accurate.
Perhaps I should take off my Fitbit, delete the apps, and plant myself in the corner of the couch with a good book, but there's no challenge in that. As I write this, I am cognizant of the fact that I only have about 500 steps to reach 10,000 for today and get my vibrating reward. I'd better get up and start those laps....
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and high school English/Journalism teacher. Her first novel, Cate in Flux, was released December 10! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.