Obsessing Over 250

I’m the most obsessive person I know.

This is good when it comes to health and fitness. Need to lose weight, get into shape, beat diabetes? Piece of cake. (Or no cake, more to the point.) But this obsessiveness is less endearing when it comes to my Fitbit.

Tara got me one last September on our anniversary, and I’ve worn it religiously ever since. It’s a great motivational tool and, along with MyFitnessPal, has been instrumental in keeping me on track with my health goals. But there have been several times where I’ve checked my Fitbit right before going to bed, found I’ve accumulated something like 9,872 steps, and then begun pacing back and forth between the living room, kitchen, and bedroom – making three, four, or five circuits – while Tara is rolling her eyes at me (I can hear her doing this, I swear!) – all in an effort to reach my daily goal of 10,000 steps. I live for the congratulatory wrist vibration when that happens. I should point out that I don’t always hit 10,000 steps, but I do more often than don’t, and when I’m that close I’ll be damned if I don’t put in a little extra effort to get there.

Earlier this week, Fitbit added a new feature: hourly step tracking. Their blog explains it thusly:

Fitbit® data scientists crunched some numbers recently and discovered some users aren’t moving for prolonged periods throughout the day—on average, those periods can last for 90 minutes, and over the span of one day they add up to more than 7 sedentary hours per day. Cumulative sitting has been linked to an increased risk of colon cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.Thankfully, walking for a few minutes every hour has been shown to reduce the negative impacts of sitting.

Those Fitbit data scientists (is that really somebody’s job title?) have figured out that taking 250 steps an hour can reduce your risk of obesity, cancer, depression, and a bunch of other really scary diseases, and you can now set and track this goal on your device. It also shows you your stationary time, even more incentive to get up off your ass! This is all fine and good, but when you’re a self-proclaimed obsessive type like me, it means you suddenly find yourself getting up from your desk and taking a walk around the block once an hour, every hour, all day long.fitbit

Because the Fitbit is worn on the wrist, it counts hand movements as steps. This means I could just break into applause for thirty seconds if I’m within spitting distance of that magic number, which is every bit as effective. I crushed my daily step goal after the Springsteen concert a couple of weeks ago. Hey, The Boss put on a great show! And he played for 3.5 hours. No wonder I hit 15,000 steps that day.

But that’s cheating. No can do.

One day a couple of weeks ago I was petting my cat when my wrist vibrated. Funny that I reached my goal while lying on the living room floor. I think maybe those Fitbit data scientists have a little more fine-tuning to take care of.


We watched the final episode of The People Vs. OJ Simpson the other night. Spoiler alert: he was found Not Guilty. Crazy as it was, I was hoping that through some miracle of television, or a rip in the fabric of space and time, the jury might come back with the correct verdict this time.

Sadly, nope.

But it was still riveting. Loved the series, loved the casting (the likenesses of everybody from Marcia Clark and Johnnie Cochran to Fred Goldman and Lance Ito were downright uncanny), loved the storytelling. It was way better than I expected it to be. Here’s an excellent review that sums up all the important takeaways.

Image courtesy of NY Times.

Image courtesy of NY Times.

Now that it’s over, though – what am I supposed to do with myself?!

Never mind. I know. I’ll take another walk around the block.

Gotta reach that step goal, you know…

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Categories: Pop Culture

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13 replies

  1. Aah! The tyranny of the Sports-watch/Fitbit-thingy.

    I’ve weaned my self off it – but still stress (just a bit!) if the daily target is not reached …

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  2. I give full credit to the combination of Fitbit and myfitnesspal for helping me shed the baby weight, but then the battery started to act up and it would start reporting 20 steps when I knew full well I’d walked a mile. Liar! It lost its appeal after that, but I do remember back when we were still on speaking terms how I’d climb an extra flight or two in order to make goal.

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  3. I wondered how fitbits work! I never had any luck with pedometers working right.

    You know I was obsessed with the OJ show. Best thing I’ve seen in TV since Breaking Bad. Speaking of which, do you watch Better Call Saul?

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    • Apparently a lot of independent testing has confirmed that the Fitbit is pretty accurate, though activities such as petting a cat are probably not factored into that equation.

      Yes, I love Better Call Saul! That, The People vs. OJ Simpson, and The Walking Dead are the three shows I’ve enjoyed most this year.

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  4. Mark, I’ve not heard about Fitbit, but am very curious about it because being someone who lives in a city and walks everywhere and every single day, I’d love to find out how many steps I take on an average day. And what would be even more interesting is how many steps I take on a day I take a trip into NYC and walk sometimes 85 blocks!

    I’ve not seen The People vs, OJ Simpson but have seen clips and it looked really good. Also, the cast is faaaaaaaaaaaabulous!

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  5. My fitbit is old school, not worn on the wrist but clipped to my shirt, my pocket or horror of horrors my bra (because it is actually ugly). I would start wearing it again but it needs to link to my computer every day and I tired of the process. Perhaps I will consider the newer models and what they have to offer.

    Television, mostly drek this year really. But Vikings is good.

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    • There are some great new models out now. I seriously considered the Blaze – it’s a lot more like the Apple Watch – but figured, it’s not worth upgrading so soon since my Fitbit does all the same things, just in a less glitzy package. I can live with that.

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  6. Seems Innocent OJ walked . 10,000 steps? Well I do at least 12 steps every day and go to those recovery meetings and thanks for not smoking too. I never heard of the bracelet. Perhaps they could get Marco Polo to be their poster boy. I wonder if Hillary’s beating around the bush steps for the emails count for steps for her?Then there’s the encouraging policeman when fellows chillin’ on the corner . “Now step along boys. “

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  7. I got a fitbit contraption for christmas (for the record, I didn’t ask for it) but I still haven’t hooked it up. I know I should. But I’m too busy, and when I’m not too busy I’m tired. Now that I’ve changed into a heavily based writing/media job, I really should do the step thing as I’m sitting a lot. What’s worse (and kinda comical) is that my new office is super tiny – think closet. And there’s just one wall shelf that 3 people can sit at to work. But the boss’ husband is like a foot taller than her so when he installed it it’s really high. We’re all writing at this thing with our arms way up and we’re sitting so low. It’s comical, but can’t be good for the spine. Oy.

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