Fitness Watch

I have a British friend I see occasionally who is frank and honest as only a European can be. He will tell me things about myself no American friend could who does not wish to risk our friendship, stuff no wife could say who wishes to remain married. His latest comment was, “You’re fat. You need to get off your duff and exercise.” Knowing him well, I recognize his comment as constructive criticism and not an insult. Sill, I respond facetiously with, “And you’re an insulting twit,” to which he counters with, “Yes, but you can change your weight.”

Don’t be too concerned – I undergo a yearly, company-sponsored health checkup, and my statistics have always been favorable. I fare well in all the fields a moderately chubbsy-ubbsy would be concerned about: cholesterol, blood sugar, heart rate, and blood pressure. In fact, my cholesterol numbers were good right after consuming a chili dog with cheese fries. Only my weight and body mass index indicate any problems with overweighness; the pounds are over the ideal, and BMI indicates I’m an obese loser. I’m not even sure how BMI relates to health, other than I feel much healthier with higher self-esteem before I get my condescending, ego-crushing BMI reading.

Because of my British friend’s criticism, I have taken steps to shed some pounds. I have started bicycling more frequently. I have been taking walking breaks while at work. I have been conscious of the calories I have been consuming. And I have purchased a fitness watch.

I have only been using the watch for a few days, but so far, it has been helping. I can keep track of steps taken, some exercise routines like bicycling, and, with the watch’s phone app, I can log calories and see the reports of my daily activities and consumption.

Occasionally the watch nags me. Sometimes it tells me to get up off my duff and fit in a few hundred more steps in an hour. Other times it congratulates me for achieving daily milestones, such as meeting my steps goal or taking in less calories than I am consuming. I haven’t owned the watch long enough to see if the nagging occurs with any regularity, but so far, it appears somewhat random. Though I am more a creature of habit, occasional reminders are good, they keep me focused when my habits have not yet had time to change.

Still, I’m a bit underwhelmed by the technology. Sure, the watch can convert steps taken into calories burned. But it doesn’t appear to be able to do the same with miles bicycled. I perform a lot of yard work on the weekends, but there does not appear to be a canned option to keep track of hours spent digging, weeding, and lugging bags of dirt, mulch, and yard waste around my property. As an engineer, I do a lot of thinking, and thinking burns more calories than not thinking, but there is no way to log my hours of thought. I sing in the car, and that must burn more energy than not singing. I’m a nervous person and at least one leg is constantly jittering throughout the day. There is no way to log calories burned by nervous tics, which for me, probably range in the thousands.

Plus, the watch is exceedingly polite. It tells me nicely what I need to do to meet an hourly goal. It gives me pleasant graphics to show me my stats. Even when I do not meet a goal, or exceed my optimum calorie intake, it is supportive and encouraging. It is not exactly a strong motivator. In fact, it is almost as if the watch is telling me it really isn’t important to meet those goals, or even to exercise at all. Without strong motivation, I’m not sure how long I can keep the fitness routine going.

Perhaps I need a fitness watch that is more like my British friend, telling me I’m fat, and I need to get up off my duff and exercise. Maybe I need a watch that constantly acts like an insulting twit to remind me, yes, I can change my weight.