I won a contest last week. I know! I never win anything. Of course, I never enter any contests, so really, it is no surprise that I never come home with the big prize. But this time I did. Well, actually I came in second, but you couldn't tell from the loot I pulled in. Somehow I won this contest while completely not even knowing there was a contest underway. I know, I am totally amazing, right? But that is a story for another day.
One of the electronic gadgets I won was something called the Body Media Fit Weight Management System. http://www.bodymedia.com/. A small part of me was slightly insulted when this prize arrived in the mail. I mean, a weight management system? Someone is trying to tell me something. But then I remembered that I won a few other way cool items as well, such as a camera and a new ipod, so if someone was trying to tell me something it was a bigger message than "you need to lose weight." Perhaps the message was "you need to get a life". Or "you need a better camera because all your pictures suck."
This body media fit gadget is, by far, one of the most addictive products I have ever used. I wear this small monitor on my upper arm and it gathers amazing information about me all day long. It tells me how many calories I have burned, how many steps I have taken, how long I have been "active", and even how well I am sleeping. So far I have learned that I don't get enough sleep, which, I know, sounds like a "duh" moment. Who does get enough sleep? With a very busy career, a household to run, a husband, a three year old, a desire to get to the gym a few times a week and well, life in general, I know my sleep habits have been suffering. But I had no idea how little sleep I was actually getting. And how on some nights my sleep is not even efficient. That's right, my new best friend on my arm can even tell me how efficient my sleep is. Which is sad, really. Sleep is something I thought I was really good at. One thing that didn't need improvement. Boy was I wrong. Most nights I am not even getting 6 hours of sleep, and the quality of those hours? Don't even ask.
So I have become slightly obsessed with my sleep. Last night I lay in bed worrying that I was still awake, which didn't help me to fall asleep any faster. I have also become obsessed with the number of steps I am walking each day. According to the body media website I should be taking 10,000 steps a day. 10,000 steps! The first few days of tracking I barely made it over 5,000, even though I felt somewhat active. I mean, it wasn't like I spent those days on the couch! On the third day I made it back to the gym, so I thought, great, I will definitely meet my goal today. Uh, no. An hour on the treadmill brought my step count up to 7,000, still 3,000 steps short of my goal. Yesterday I purposely parked as far away as possible from the door everywhere I went, and, thanks to the movie playing at the gym that I couldn't tear myself away from I trudged up and down the hills of a treadmill for over and hour. (the movie was Hancock. I am not normally a fan of this type of story but this was a GREAT movie. Plus, it had Will Smith in it. You just can't go wrong with Will Smith.) When I tore myself off the treadmill and carried myself to the car on trembling legs I couldn't wait to see how many steps I had added to my day. I stared at the tiny screen on the monitor in disbelief. 7300 steps? What do I have to do to reach 10,000? Give up my car? (not feasible). Carry the laundry up from the basement to the second floor one piece at a time? (too time intensive). Run a marathon? (just plain not going to happen anytime soon.) I was so distracted by this step challenge that I even stopped at a park on the way home from picking Matthew up and played on the play ground with him. All of this extra activity took me to over 8,000 steps, still short of my goal.
So I have, so far, lost at the challenge of walking 10,000 steps a day. But I have gained a rather serious addiction to this new little gadget. And that addiction has already forced a few small changes in my lifestyle. I have pushed myself up a few more high speed hills on the treadmill. I have ignored the elevator in favor of the stairs. I have remembered how much fun it is to sneak in an impromptu trip to the playground with my son on a week day. Maybe I haven't lost the challenge. Maybe I am just beginning.