Why I switched from Fitbit to the Apple Watch

During my last stint of blogging here on “Run, Nikki, Run,” I frequently wrote about how much I loved my Fitbit.

In the two years I used the Fitbit Flex, I logged nearly 6.7 million steps and more than 3,000 miles on the device, from sauntering the streets of New York City to climbing the cliffs of Inishmore on Ireland’s Aran Islands.

When my Fitbit, as any other device these days do, fell prey to daily wear-and-tear and syncing and tracking issues, the fella suggested the Apple Watch. He had jumped ship to it a few months before after becoming frustrated with frequent issues with his own Fitbit and would not stop raving about the product.

Despite being a longtime iPhone user who loves the convenience of connectivity between Apple products, I was not easily sold. It had taken me quite some time to get used to wearing the Fitbit on my wrist, and as someone who has always hated wearing a watch, I didn’t think I would stick with it even if I spent all that money on the device. I figured I’d leave it abandoned in a drawer with all those previous attempts at getting fit.

Well, fast-forward almost two years to today, and I not only absolutely love my Apple Watch, I pretty much live my entire life by it.

apple_watch_vs_fitbit_

Here’s what I love about my Apple Watch

  • The Activity app

The Apple Watch Activity app automatically tracks how much you move, exercise and stand daily. The red move ring tracks the active calories you’re burning, while the green exercise ring shows how much “brisk activity” you’ve done. The blue stand ring monitors the hours you’ve stood and moved for a least one minute, so you’re not just staying sloth-like on the couch binging your latest streaming addiction.

There is such a sense of accomplishment when I close all three rings or, on particularly active days, double my move and exercise, which has been happening even more frequently since I’ve been hitting the gym that past few weeks.

  • Friendly competition

The friendly — and the not-so-friendly — competition the fella and I had to outdo each other using our Fitbit has carried over to the Apple Watch. It’s super-easy to share your Activity with family and friends who have the device for motivation — and challenges. You can even send a message of encouragement or smack-talking, if you’re so inclined, right from the watch, so bring it, I say!

  • Breathing reminders

Throughout the day, the Apple Watch gives you periodic reminders, whose frequency you can change to suit your needs, to take a minute — just one single minute — to stop what you’re doing and focus on breathing. If you choose to accept the notification, the watch will pulsate as you inhale, exhale and find your center, which is so very important to do a few times a day in the humble opinion of this journalist living and writing in and about today’s … climate.

  • The littlest iPhone

Thanks to Apple’s connectivity, the watch is basically an extension of your iPhone as many of the its functions like texts, calls, emails, apps and more are accessible on the Apple Watch. That means you can stay in the group message loop, get score updates from your favorite team or not miss a single message from that special someone without looking at your phone in that meeting or other place pulling out your phone would be rude. After all, you’re just checking the time. Wink.

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An 8 to celebrate

“You’ve lost weight,” the fella commented after hugging me when he got home from work the other night.

I scoffed, having been on the tail-end of one of those “fat days” when I just wasn’t feeling the outfit I chose to wear to work that morning.
Can you relate to a day like that, when your clothes just don’t feel comfortable, so you’re constantly tugging at them? Ugh. 

“Obviously you know you have,” the fella said, rolling his eyes before reminding me that I’d told him a few days before that my jeans were starting to feel baggy.

To find out for sure, I hopped on the scale the next day and saw that I’d dropped eight pounds since mid-August when I started this latest “eat-better-and-walk-more” regime.

But I cannot tell a lie. The new regime was one part me knowing I needed to make a change, especially after my summer of inactivity due to the endless heatwave we had … and one part my doctor telling me a few weeks back that I am pre-diabetic because of my weight.

It certainly didn’t come as a shock, especially since my grandmother had severe diabetes and both of my parents were diagnosed with it late in life. I knew it was coming; it had to, considering my eating habits and lifestyle, but hearing the doctor say it was quite the wake-up call.
Funny how those things work, hmm? 

I promptly made an appointment with a nutritionist he recommended, and put many of her suggestions into practices ASAP. And it seems to be paying off, according to Mr. Scale.

Plus, I’ve been getting off at a different subway station most days instead of the one at the end of my work block just to get in an extra walk and aiming for an even further station after work, so that’s been a big help, too, in ensuring that I’m meeting my daily step goal.

In fact, adding that little effort paid off big time as I won this week’s Workweek Challenge on Fitbit, my first win of this particular challenge in quite some time.

workweek

It was such a good feeling … one that was almost as good as seeing those eight pounds not on the scale.

Nikki

The reigning Weekend Warrior

For the past few weeks, I’ve been joining every Workweek Hustle and Weekend Warrior Fitbit challenge I’ve been invited to as a means to start making up for my Summer of Inactivity.

At first, just as I knew I would be as my body got used to walking frequently again, I was regularly in the bottom percentile of the challenges, especially the Workweek Hustle as I’ve been working from home the past two months.

While it was tough not really being a true contender as I’ve slowly (oh-so slowly) been getting back into walking, I’ve finally made enough strides (pun intended!) to finally win my first challenge in a long, long time, this past weekend’s Weekend Warrior with 29,028 steps.

weekend warrior

I’d like to thank the late-night walk the fella and I took from 42nd Street through Central Park up to 110th Street Saturday night. It had been so long since we’ve been on one of our “bender walks” as I like to call them, and it felt so good being out in the finally-cool air in the almost-deserted park, where we could walk at our own pace and not worry about having to dodge slow walkers or sudden stoppers or walking texters.

The great thing about these challenges is that you get updates whenever someone is close to you or passes you, and I found that this weekend’s notifications really pushed me to move more than I wanted to yesterday, despite being super sore from Saturday’s jaunt. I was thisclose to winning, and I didn’t want to give up my lead for anything, so after getting home from my walk to the store, I did laps around the house while the fella watched TV and danced around the kitchen as we made dinner and by golly, it worked!

And this morning, I met a friend who was in town for the day, so we walked from her hotel on 39th Street to Central Park with her two little girls, and I met my 10K step goal by noon as we walked back, which was a great feeling, especially on such a gorgeous day as it was today.
Never mind that the second I’m done with this blog post, I’m probably going to crash on the couch until the fam gets home.

And I plan to walk tomorrow and the next day and the next day and … because just because you’re a Weekend Warrior doesn’t mean you can’t be a warrior on the weekdays, too, challenge or no challenge.

Nikki

Walking with Gojira

Despite not moving my ass (or my legs, for that matter) this summer, I somehow walked enough to earn another one of Fitbit’s super-cute badges, and this one, the Japan badge, is, hands down, my favorite.

I mean, just LOOK at it:

japan badge

I love love love all things Godzilla, or Gojira as I like to say because that’s how the fantastic green monster is known in Japan. I wish this was a tangible badge because I would wear it proudly every dang day. And those of you who know me know that is totally true.

Anyhoo, I got this badge yesterday because I’ve now walked 1,869 total miles — equivalent to the full length of Japan — with my trusty ole Fitbit.

I’ve taken a few quick little walks and one big one since I wrote about my summer of inactivity, and we recently rearranged our living room and bedroom so I now have better space to use my Air Climber on those days when going out into the Sahara-like temperatures of Manhattan just aren’t going to happen, which seems like it might be just about every day as this heatwave just. will. not. let. up. Heard tell we might just go straight from sweltering to frozen this year, and I totally believe it.

I’d be OK with that, though — I love bundling up and walking on cold (and blessedly empty!) sidewalks, so the sooner that happens, the better if you ask me.

Nikki

My summer of inactivity

(Pinterrist photo)

(Pinterest photo)

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but it just sorta happened, “it” being my summer of inactivity.

I know it’ll sound like a cop-out, and it probably most definitely is, but, man, I just could not handle the astronomical heat we had this summer in New York City.

I remember last summer being hot as F as well, but still the fella and I did go chasing pavement all the same, but this year? No way, Jose. That pavement seemed to be made of solid lava this summer, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

There were very few times I walked from Wall Street up Broadway to the fella’s office just below Houston, and that dedication to take lengthy walks all around Manhattan and Central Park of yore must’ve melted out in all our sweat just from walking to and fro the subway stations.

Then I started having some health issues, and soon after, the fella hurt his foot and was ordered to stay off it as much as possible, so off came his Fitbit. And thus we entered our Couch Potato Phase. There’ve even been days where I didn’t put my own Fitbit on, and I hate myself for that.

My Fitbit has been such a dear friend and motivator for more than a year now, and I just cast it aside like a jerk, like someone who fell off the wagon. I stopped checking my daily step count, stopped joining challenges and began eating even crappier than usual and, when I started to notice the not-for-the-better changes in my body, temperament and health, I stupidly wondered why I was feeling and looking this way.

Oh, it’s because of my summer of inactivity.
Oh, it’s because I’m weak and without willpower.
Oh, it’s because I hate — like really, really hate — being hot and sweaty.

But I can’t wait it out until fall’s cool, crisp air descends upon the city, which is maybe what I subconsciously was doing. No, I am not that kind of person, nor do I have that kind of body/metabolism to take even a few days off from doing some sort of physical activity. I have too damn far to go, and I know I don’t deserve a respite because I don’t take care of the body I have been given.

So this week, the Fitbit got charged for the first time in weeks and out the door I went. While I didn’t break 10,000 steps on the two big walks I took (nor have I broken 10k since July 16, shame on me), being out in my city again felt good. Sweaty and miserable, of course, but good; good to feel that hot, hot sun on my face and arms, good to breathe fresh air, good to get out of my head in a way that only walking allows me to be.

My body almost didn’t know what to do, so I had some aches and pains, but I pushed through them and felt proud of myself for finally deciding to stand up to my laziness and get moving.

Today, I took a deep breath and got back on the scale (that I almost wrote was a bitch, but it’s not her fault, its mine) to see just how far I’ve fallen off the wagon and was shocked — but happy! — to see I’ve “only” gained two pounds since I last weighed myself in April.

I’ve started picking up some more fresh fruits and veggies on my past few trips to the store and have been making a conscious effort to hit them up first when I feel a crave coming on. Plus, we have a coupon for Blue Apron meal-delivery service that we’re going to cash in next week that will give us a free week of meals, so I’m looking forward to the healthy and yummy-sounding options that’ll provide, which I’ll be sure to write about once we start.

Even after only two days of walking, which don’t even come close to the lengthy constitutionals I used to take on the reg, I see such a difference in my mood. So, yeah, you’re way past your sell-by date, summer of inactivity. Be gone with you!

Nikki

Oh, Hello, Great Barrier Reef — and The Next 40

No, I’m not writing this blog (my first on this site in more months than I care to admit) aboard a boat off the northeast coast of Australia (though, of course, I wish I were!).

Instead, I’m hunkered down in front of the AC in my New York apartment excited to report that I just received my latest — and best — Fitbit badge, the Great Barrier Reef badge.

badge_lifetime_miles1600

My best Fitbit badge yet!

 

Since strapping on my Fitbit exactly one year ago this week, I’ve now walked 1,600 miles with it, which is the length of the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system.

You’d think I’d be a skinny Minnie by now what with all that walking, but alas I’m not. Alas I’m still struggling with the whole eating-healthy thing. Alas, that’s why you’ve not heard a peep from me on this blog since January.

But as I am nearly two years out from the big 4-0, I know I need to make some changes — and how — before the diabetes that runs in my family takes me over as it did my parents in their later years, before my body gives out and can’t walk another 1,600 miles, before it’s too late to be the captain of my ship (even though I know I’ve been doing a shitty job of captaining thus far).

I see my mom in so much pain and poor health, just as her mom was before her, that I’m going to be in big, big trouble if I don’t do this for real starting now.

I’m going to transition Run, Nikki, Run into something more suitable to the Nikki that I am and the one that’s on the horizon because, let’s face it, this Nikki is never going to be a runner. Maybe a jogger with a soft J on occasion, but a runner, nope.

yogging

But I will tell you that before I turn 40 in 2017, I will be healthier and happier because of it — I’ll stay that way through The Next 40, which I just changed the name of this blog (but not the URL) to.

Join me on this journey, won’t you?

Nikki

Killing my Nikes and other thoughts on resolutions

I know, I know.
“Here she comes out of the woodwork with the rest of the bandwagon resolution makers.” 
Well, kinda, but not really.

I’ve changed, you see, since I last wrote back in September and even more so since my last annual resolutions post a year ago today. You see, I feel like I’ve finally come into who I am in, like, who I really am.

I’m never going to be 17-year-old Nikki ever again.
Nope, I’ll never be the 130-pound Nikki who wore her super-long, super-curly hair on top of her head in a big fat bun all the time.

The hair doesn’t grow as fast, and the weight, well, it doesn’t come off so fast these days, and while there will, I’m sure, always be part of me who’ll yearn to be the size of that skinny and sparkling teenager again with that fabulous hair, the Nikki I am today, 20 years later isn’t half bad, even though she has some — OK, a lot — of extra baggage.

But luckily, I have a fella and a family that loves me, just as I am. And I’ve finally realized that that’s enough.

Oh, Mr. Darcy. Le sigh. (Credit)

Oh, Mr. Darcy. Le sigh. (Credit)

But, having said that, that doesn’t mean I’m going to just rest on my laurels until I have to be moved out of our fabulous apartment by a forklift amid the rustling of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers and takeout burger-and-fry containers from our corner bodega. No. Oh, no, no, no.

You see, I’m still going to try and be healthy not just because I need to or because I should. No. I’m going to still pull on those workout clothes or, even if I’ve had a hellishly busy day, I’m still going to walk from my office to the fella’s after work most nights because I want to.

2015-01-03 14.54.52

I know I won’t be able to wear you for a few weeks, but your days are numbered, Nikes.

I want to kill my new Tiffany-blue Nikes, you see. I want them to smell and rip and tear just like my beloved purple Reeboks did this year because then I’ll know, I’ll really, really know, that I moved. That I made the New York pavement and wherever else these sneakers will tread upon this year my bitch. That I breathed and lived and walked and was happy.

Those Reeboks took me all around this island of Manhattan, on the country roads of Northeastern Pennsylvania, to Ireland and everywhere in between. By the end of the 2014, I had walked more than 950 miles with my Fitbit, plus another 400-plus miles using Map My Walk before I started using the Fitbit, so I think it’s safe to say that these feet of mine walked at least 1,400 miles in ’14. Wow. Wow.

My favorite moment of 2014 was actually almost an entire day. A day that was just a moment in a year’s worth of days, but when I was in it, basking in the sunshine, in the fresh blend of Irish air mixed with an Atlantic breeze with my family, I knew that this was the moment that would define my entire year, define my very existence.

Standing in the middle of a country lane on the Aran Island of Inishmore that was buzzing with crazy tour-bus drivers, polite bikers (who could teach New York bikers a thing or 10) and more cows than tourists like us as my family and I took photos and reveled in beauty the likes of which I’d never seen before, I knew that as long as I had the fella and my family beside me and comfortable sneakers on my feet, that’s all I’d really need in this world — to make the best of this world.

So, that’s my resolution: Walk. Live. Breathe. Take it all in. Exist. Kill my Nikes … and any other pair of sneakers that may follow.

Nikki

Walking California (almost)

On May 26, I started using my Fitbit. And now, four months later, like, just four months later, I hit a huge milestone with this fantastic fitness gadget.

Fit Bit 750 miles

I’ve walked 750 miles — in four months.
That’s just 50 miles short of the length of California.

And oh, what wonderful miles they were, through the streets of New York, the beautiful landscapes of Ireland and anywhere and everywhere in between. The soles of my Reeboks have worn away, same thing for the gray Skechers GoWalk I usually wore to and from work during the week; the latter are now retired and replaced by an obnoxious neon yellow pair, while I’m in desperate need of replacing the Reebok RealFlexes I fell in love with two years ago and am on my second pair of.

Now, had I been eating the way I should, or the way I did when I lost 20-plus pounds earlier this year, I should probably be skin and bones right now. However, that wasn’t the case. I’ve been weak. Like, real, real weak. Luckily, though, with all this walking, and logging more than my required 10,000 steps a day, I’ve not gained anything, so at least there’s that.

But I can do better. I know I can. And, much more importantly, I know I have to, so I’m making a pact with myself to lose at least 10 pounds by Christmas. That’s 10 pounds in three months, which really is nothing, but it’s not too large a number to make me quit when the going (read: temptations) gets tough, as it oh-so-often does.

So, here’s to the next three months — and the next 750 miles. I have to walk back up California, you know!

Nikki

The first 250

On Friday, there was an alert in my in box from Fitbit that told me I’ve hit the 250-mile mark with the device, after having it for just under two months.

250 fitbit

Two-hundred and fifty miles in less than two months? Surely, that’s some kind of Superwoman record, right?

Well, that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself as I pat myself on the back. Here’s to the next 250!

Nikki

100K with Fitbit

2014-06-30 21.51.42It’s not just the fact that, for the first time, I’m killing the fella on Fitbit … OK, it kinda is since we’re so highly competitive and motivating toward each other.

But either way, even if I did come in second, which, as you can see I most certainly did not, yesterday I broke 100,000 steps for the current seven-day period. One hundred thousand steps. In a single week.

You have no idea how good this feels, and how much my love for the FitBit has grown. If you don’t have one, get it. Stat. It’s a life changer. Now let’s keep the momentum going, self!

Nikki