Me, at Piedmont Park goin' HAM on my Fitbit
A month ago, after receiving rave reviews from some friends, I decided to purchase a Fitbit Flex from Ebay. After I received it in the mail, I became instantly addicted. The Fibit Flex is a device that is worn on your wrist and it tracks steps taken daily along with mileage, calories burned, sleep patterns, etc. all whiling syncing wirelessly to your smartphone or tablet. It’s a pretty useful tool to help you keep track of just how active you are on a daily basis, but in my opinion, the most fun and obsessive feature is that you can see where you stack up amongst your friends who also use Fitbit. Essentially, the Fibit Flex is just another way for me to feed my mildly aggressive, competitive tendencies.
I grew up in a family where every member is intensely competitive. Any and every activity couldn’t be done simply for the sake of fun; there had to be loser and winner element to it. We couldn’t just go to the swimming pool to splash around and play with water toys; we had to have relay races from sun up to sundown. “Sock ‘em Bopppers” were used for death matches. I once played charades so furiously, I slipped and tore my ACL. At my cousin’s baby shower, we filled up several baby bottles with milk and raced to see who could finish chugging it the quickest. At another cousin’s wedding reception in Vegas, each dinner table tried to out-laugh and out-toast the other tables. Puns and jokes and thrown back and forth to one-up each other, not for laughing. Once, we made someone cry while playing “Limbo.” As you can tell, the Nguyens are “that” family, especially when we are all together. In recent years, because a lot of my cousins went to medical school, we’re all separated and these big, family get-togethers became few and far between, along with opportunities to be compete with one another. It became difficult to indulge in this side of personality until the Fitbit came along.
When I use Fibit, I am in a fierce competition with my other friends. I constantly find excuses to get up and moving; I straighten things up around the office and the house, I take out the garbage, take Thao’s demon shih-tzu for walks, etc. I pretty much just pick up a lot of activities I would normally never do. A new regular part of my bedtime ritual is to jog in place for as long as I can to hit my daily goal of 10,000 steps before I go to sleep. All of this done in complete silence; no one is aware that I am secretly trying to out-step everyone on a daily basis. No one is aware that whenever I pass someone on the rankings list, I exult “YES” and tell them to “EAT IT!” Although thrilling, these small victories are not difficult to achieve because I don’t have many Fitbit friends to begin with. I have seven “friends”, three of which who are either completely sedentary or are not wearing their trackers constantly. At first it didn’t really matter to me that the Fibit competition pool was so limited, but now I can’t help but feel that it is just not enough. I bought Max a Fibit for his birthday and have been encouraging everyone else to get one as well.
I sometimes wonder whether this obsession of always wanting to see where I stack up against others or always having to “win” is healthy. It probably isn’t, but guess what, hitting 10,000 steps a day is healthy as hell, so yeah, EAT IT!