Tag Archives: Sleep

The FitBit

A FitBit is a tiny, wearable device, sort of like a pedometer that tracks your everyday steps, activities, calories burned, sleep, etc to help you stay fit. You can log your food, workouts, track your weight, blood pressure, and heart rate, keep a health journal – it does almost everything.

A friend first introduced the FitBit over a year ago. It looked pretty cool so I ended up getting one, but my Mom wanted it so I ended up giving it to her. This holiday season I decided to gift one to myself, which turned out to be no easy task. FitBit’s are so popular, that they are hard to find! I finally got my hands on one earlier this week and have been wearing it for the past couple of days. I must say, for a Type A person who tracks *everything*, it’s love at first sight.

During the day, I clip the FitBit to my waist and it sync’s with my computer when I’m within 15 feet of it. There is also a base that you can hook it up to for faster syncing/charging. It gives you a dashboard view of:

Food Log

After using several different online food journaling programs over the past several years, I’ve found that the key for me to be consistent about doing this is if the program has a good food database. If it doesn’t, and I have to enter in all the foods that I eat, I’m unlikely to keep it up.

Thus far, I haven’t had any problems with entering what I ate into the FitBit food database. It’s pretty extensive and conveniently populates the fields with whatever it is I’m trying to enter.

During set-up, I entered in what my dietary goals are and it tracks my log against those goals.

Personally, I find the breakdown of nutrient percentages the most useful to helping me maintain a balanced diet. However, as you can see, I had a carb-heavy day; what can I say, I’ve been obsessed with orzo lately. The point is, it helps me put it into context.

Activities

Like the food log, you can also enter in your workouts. I’ve used the FitBit during my workouts over the past 2 days so I didn’t enter it since it already tracked my calories and steps while I was working out.

To give you some context, my activities today consisted of a 4-mile run, an easy 30-min workout on the bike trainer, and then carrying four 20-gallon containers between my house and my storage unit located across the street. I don’t know how accurately it tracked the bike trainer distance (I’m not tracking this mileage so it isn’t a concern to me), but it did pick up the calories burned.

Sleep

As I have mentioned in many previous posts, I am not a good sleeper, so the Sleep Tracking feature is easily the most intriguing to me.

At night, I wear the FitBit in a wristband that came with the product. I press a button on it right when I’m going to sleep and it starts it’s tracking.

So while I got a lot of hours of sleep, less than half of it was “quality sleep”. I “woke up” 17 times during the night! Fascinating!

Overall I’m finding that the device and web site is very easy to use, has resourceful online community, and also offers mobile apps! I think the FitBit is really going to help me stay on track with some of the things I want to accomplish next year. I like what I see so far!

Rested and Rejuvenated

I was supposed to run the half at the Salt Lake Marathon this weekend. It didn’t happen and I couldn’t have been happier about it. This training cycle has gone pretty well, and I didn’t experience exhaustion until last week, after the 21-miler.

Since then, the exhaustion, coupled with my terrible sleep patterns had me feeling worn out. A drama-free weekend at home was just what I needed.

I actually slept in till past 7 am on Friday morning (I was so excited about this), and since it was a scheduled rest day, I leisurely lounged around and spent the morning reading. Can’t remember when the last time was that I did that!

Later, I met my cousin for brunch (she had the day off too), then headed off to spend some long overdue time with friends. We had a pretty chill day, finishing it off with a heaping dinner of pizza and pasta.

I woke up on Saturday morning, fully rested on 8 hours of semi-interrupted sleep! I felt like a new person!

I had 13-miles scheduled and it looked like the East Bay weather was going to cooperate with me. That is, if I had actually left when I had intended to.

Lounging in bed on Friday morning spoiled me, and so I didn’t actually get out the door until after 8 am.

I ran a course that was used for a half-marathon a couple years ago. It ran down long streets, which made it very easy to follow, but there were a couple of tough hills thrown in there.

Like this one up Old Ranch Road:

Or the 2-mile climb on Crow Canyon Road:

The fog had burned off by the time I got to the last few miles, making it pretty tough to run in minimal shade. I hadn’t passed by any water fountains and had to make my 2 itty bitty water bottles in my fuel belt last the whole way. The thought of the ice-cold Gatorade waiting for me in the fridge was the only thing that motivated me to finish.

This run honestly felt harder than the 21-miler I did the previous week, but I finished and that’s all that matters.

Not only did I pig out on Mexican food at lunch, I also treated myself to a piezookie that evening at dinner!

My Sunday’s are usually pretty structured where I like to get up early to get my workout in (usually done by 9 am), then go through a whole list of errands and chores. But today, I didn’t get out of bed till 11 am. I managed to get some laundry done, then went out and spent the afternoon with family. I usually “don’t do Sundays” so this was a nice little break to my routine.

This weekend was exactly what I needed; a chance to rest and reconnect. I feel very much rejuvenated and ready for another week! Only 14 days till race day!

Vritti

Workouts
AM: Weights, Spin, and 30-minute Core Class
PM: Yoga

After Saturday’s 15-miler, we went to Scottsdale Stadium for our final Spring ball game, ate lunch at the Yard House (of course!) and then had more pool time. I finished off the day with a massage at the spa. My right IT band wasn’t feeling so hot after the run and the massage really helped.

But now vacation is over. As much as I wasn’t looking forward to going back to work and the hundreds of emails that awaited me, I was looking forward to getting back to my “routine.”

Unfortunately, that has included my old friend “Insomnia.”

I was wide-awake at 3:30 am this morning and could not go back to sleep for the life of me. So I got up, and worked out for 2+ hours.

I’ve been battling insomnia for months now. You’d think with all the workouts that I do it would leave me exhausted, but it doesn’t. I’ve tried everything – Ambien, Lunesta, Calms Forte, herbal tea, lavender – nothing has really helped.

Today I had a realization. Ever since I’ve been plagued with insomnia I’ve become short-tempered, easily frustrated and angered by the silliest of things. It’s carried over into tension-filled workdays and less social outings.

Throughout the day this weighed heavily on my mind and I felt more unfocused than ever.

At this evening’s yoga class Alex (instructor) opened the class with the word “Vritti.” It means to “clear the fluctuations of the mind.” I sat there thinking, “Are you kidding me?! How does this guy know exactly what I need every single class?”

As class progressed and I concentrated on the mantra it became clear to me that I need to see a doctor. This insomnia that’s plagued me for months is affecting my well being more than I realized. I’m a physically fit person, so more than likely; it’s related to another kind of problem – like maybe anxiety or something. So hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll be able to get in to see a behavioral health physician; i.e., a shrink.

I last saw a therapist 6+ years ago when I was going through some really heavy life-changing stuff. To be able to sit there and freely speak about things that are troubling you without the fear of being judged or hurting someone’s feelings was one of the most freeing, therapeutic experiences I’ve ever had. I am hoping that it will have similar affects this time around. While I have an immensely strong support system of family and friends, I do believe that a little more professional help will help me find balance once again.

I unabashedly share this with you because our mental health is just as important as our physical one. When our physical bodies get “out of whack” we seek treatment from our doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, etc. Doesn’t our mental health deserve the same?

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