How My Fitbit Ruined My Entire Life. [Tales From My Demon-Bracelet.]

AshandLizTwo weeks ago, Kellan and I were given twin Fitbits.

You’ve heard of them, I presume? Gender-confused electronic bracelets designed to track every step you take and every mile you run, all in a valiant effort to coerce America into laying off the ho-hos. Kellan and I saw a lot of value in a little bit of electronic accountability, given that the frigid winter weather in New York is incompatible with human life, and has a tendency to leave all of its occupants looking like Jabba the Hut’s albino cousin after we peel off layers of long underwear come April. As it turns out, curling up in front of the fire and eating like a truffle pig for six months makes you look like a wayward can of Pillsbury biscuits that exploded in a hot car. WHO KNEW.

Do y’all have Fitbits? Part of the charm is that you can friend other Fitbit users [public shame for the win!], and then compete with them for a day, or an entire work week if you’re ready to gird your loins and MOVE. Armed with unbridled optimism and a pinch of chutzpah, I thought this would be “fun”.

I was wrong.

Friends, I am not competitive about a lot of things. I have zero drive to win any board game ever, and if your house is more Pinterest-y than mine, well, BULLY FOR YOU. [Slash, HELP.] Moderation has always been a foreign concept to me—akin to “using my inside voice” or “reading the directions”. I am either piping-hot or icy-cold, all in, or all out. And as it turns out, I am so. very. ALL IN. when it comes to this Fitbit thing.

It all started the day after Kellan and I set up our accounts and charged our androgynous bracelets. Liz and Pat [formerly-dear friends of ours whose names have NOT been changed because I am bitter], challenged us to a “work week hustle.” As the name implies, it’s a competition that runs Monday through Friday, and whomever gets the highest number of steps during that period wins. Simple, right?

ONLY IF YOUR FRIENDS ARE HEIFERS WHO NEVER GET OFF THE COUCH. The universe tried to warn me when Kellan selected a picture of aFitbit S’MORE as his Fitbit profile picture. Determined to win or die trying, Monday evening found me valiantly ignoring the siren song of a double fudge brownie and furiously running in place, while my husband [COMPLETELY unconcerned with defending our family honor] declared that he’d had enough “Fatbit” for the day, and settled comfortably into the couch to watch reruns of Breaking Bad. From the looks of our contest, it appeared suspiciously as though Liz’s husband Pat had made a similar choice.  Meanwhile, Liz had channeled her inner Energizer Bunny and refused to stop moving, ignoring my gasping reminders that she was BOUND BY THE LAWS OF THE GENEVA CONVENTION, just like everybody else.

I can’t talk about how much sleep I didn’t get that night.

A week later, my former friend Chris challenged me to a “daily showdown”. Chris is a tall, lanky marathon runner, and when he tauntingly informed me that I’d have to “saw off both of his legs” to stand a WHISPER of a chance, my eyes flashed and resolute, I solemnly vowed to make him cry like a small, emotionally disturbed child before the day was done. Eleven fifteen that night [also known as “the stabbing hour” around my house] found me sprinting on my ghetto Craigslist treadmill for the THIRD time that day, unable to fall asleep until I was quite certain he’d been vanquished. Kellan sweetly called me from his business trip to say goodnight and I was all I CAN’T TALK NOW CHRIS IS UP TWELVE HUNDRED STEPS.

And honestly, I meant to call Kellan back, I really did. But when the clock struck midnight and I realized that my thirty one thousand steps had just barely beaten Chris, I got VERY busy looking for a tub of Gatorade to dump on myself and forgot.

Several days later, Kellan arrived home from his aforementioned business trip only to discover that our kitchen looked like a scene from a grisly murder-suicide, and I looked like Mowgli from the Jungle Book. If Mowgli had just exited a dirty microwave.

Welcome home, honey!

Fitbit2I know I’ve lost it, but I am powerless to stop. My demon-bracelet keeps egging me on, rewarding my crazy with electronic badges and regular updates on how I stack up next to the competition.

I’m losing all of my friends, I know precisely how many steps I’ve taken but NOT what day of the week it is, and I can’t remember my last full night of sleep. The food in our fridge consists of one limp ear of corn and half an avocado, I’m out of Advil, and when Kellan hopefully asked me on a date on Saturday I told him  I was only going if he’d help me get my steps. Am I alone, here?? Are there support groups? Y’ALL. SEND HELP.

[And tell the help that when it gets here, it can find me on the treadmill upstairs.]


  1. MY FITBIT IS MY MASTER. Our apartment is the size of a shoebox (and a SHOE box, not one of those massive ones that boots come in) and I have had to do MANY tiny circles on several evenings when I realized I might not hit my goal for the day. One time I jogged in place in my pj’s for an entire episode of Downton Abbey. And those days when you stood still to brush your teeth? GONE. Totally I prime step getting time.

  2. Lady, I always know I will laugh when I read your posts- you are HILARIOUS. I do not have a Fitbit and my reasoning is RIDICULOUS: I don’t like the way they look. It would look way too athletic for me and there’s no way I could fake that. But I would imagine I would become obsessed with the competition factor of it all. Go girl, go!

  3. that was an outstanding piece of writing! as usual…

  4. Lynn Route says:

    Fantastic article! Very funny and so true! I’m green with envy over your 31,000+ steps, maybe I’ll get there in my next life, but shhh, don’t tell your father! I’m just proud when I make it to 10,000 steps, and trust me, it doesn’t happen very frequently.

  5. I’ll catch up soon enough :P

  6. Laurel Thompson says:

    Throw away the bracelet! Go to a yoga class and then shopping. You are so funny!

  7. Orlaith says:

    My fitbit gives me anxiety. I can’t even sunbathe or watch tv because I feel too guilty. hate it!!!

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