What I learned From my “Wearable”

by Ellen Voie, on Sep 4, 2020 4:59:22 PM

Woman using activity tracker at gym

I never thought I could be friends with a piece of technology that is exceptionally nosey. I’m a pretty private person, and the thought of sharing my physical data makes me pretty uncomfortable.

Sharing my sleeping patterns, my eating habits, and how often my heart rate was elevated isn’t my idea of privacy. However, we recently partnered with Rolling Strong to do a wellness competition, and I donned a Fitbit Versa for the challenge.

I had participated in a competition in the past and discovered that I could get more points if I had a “wearable” instead of entering everything into the app myself. Knowing that my little Fitbit was going to tattle on me for a few weeks made me anxious.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted other people to be able to check on my progress. The Fitbit recorded everything from my steps each day to my heartbeat to how many hours (and minutes) I slept each night.

Every participant was assigned a coach to guide us through the process, and I was fortunate to be paired with Claudia. We’d talk about what I was eating and how much water I was drinking each day, as well as the type of exercise and extent I was burning calories. 

For those of you who know me, I’m a pretty healthy person. I walk four miles a day (when I’m not traveling), and I don’t eat red meat or things like butter. I love salads, and I could eat peas for lunch every day. I can flip off a cupcake or piece of cake easily, as I’m not into eating sweets. (Okay, don’t give me any chips or pretzels, as I’m into the salty stuff.)

I thought I could beat everyone entered into the competition, and I set my sights on Lana, our Director of Programs.  She has three little kids and runs around all the time, and I knew this would be a challenge. (She hit 20,000 steps one day when they were moving from one house to another! NOT FAIR!!!!)

I was diligent, and I knew that Claudia was keeping track of my sleep, steps, carbs, and heart rate. I entered my healthy meals and my water intake (oh, did I forget to log those glasses of wine?). I kept thinking about the end of the competition and how I could go back to “normal.” 

At the end of the competition, Claudia asked me what I had learned. I’d like to share this with you, my readers. I learned a lot about myself. I challenge you to get a “wearable” and get to know yourself a little better. 

First, since I usually am traveling over 125,000 miles each year and spend weeks attending conferences and trade shows, this has been a different experience for me. I don’t usually get to sleep in my own bed for more than a few days at a time, so this was a good time to participate in the Rolling Strong competition. I typically spend many nights in hotel rooms.

The pandemic kept me at home but allowed me to find a routine. I went to bed each night at a pretty consistent time and woke up without an alarm shaking me from my sleep to give a presentation. I learned that I need a lot of sleep. No, really, a LOT of sleep. I’m not even sure if I should admit it, but I sleep for nine to eleven hours a night.

When I was a baby, my mom would put me down after lunch, and I’d sleep until the next morning.  She complained to the doctor, and he asked her what the problem was?! So, I learned that I sleep a lot.

I also learned that I don’t drink enough water. I started marking all my water bottles with the ounces on them. My favorite bottle held 38 ounces. But this wasn’t enough for Claudia. No, she challenged me to drink over 80 ounces a day. Wait, you want me to walk four miles AND drink all that water? I can’t imagine how professional drivers handle this challenge.

The key to winning the Rolling Strong competition is to elevate your heart rate. Since I sit at my desk most of the day, that’s a real challenge. I tried to hit my 10,000 steps a day, although the Fitbit wanted me to accumulate 30,000 steps a day (Really?)

When the competition ended, I sighed in relief, but I also knew that I had changed my attitude toward fitness. Sleeping is good, lots of water is good, and getting those steps in each day is good. I’ll keep that in mind, even though I won’t have Claudia checking on me until the next competition. I think I’ll start asking myself WWCD (What would Claudia Do?).

And just for the record, I beat Lana, but just barely.  I came in 18th and she was right behind me at 19th.  We both won, and now I need to get ready for bed after my glass of water. I need my ten hours of sleep! 

Topics:Work/Life BalanceHealth and WellnessEllen's Blog

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