FitBit Cat-Fight

Earlier this week I posted an article about not cheating in FitBit challenges and that you should earn your steps.  I’ve been in tons of challenges and have won some and lost some. I’ve been in challenges with people who bust their butts in order to keep them active and moving, and I’ve been in challenges with people who do whatever they can to earn first place…including cheating.  These people freely admit that they cheat (well, some of them freely admit it) and find it humorous to knock each other out of first place on an ongoing basis.  I really couldn’t care less if I’m in first or second or seventh place, as long as I know I’m doing what I can do to keep my activity up and earning my place – wherever it may be.

Unfortunately, I’ve received some backlash in relation to that post, and one woman in particular has taken great offense to the post.  A woman I have never met, do not know, and likely will never meet in my lifetime.  Here’s what happened:  I created a challenge earlier in the week.  I invited a friend (we’ll call her Bonnie) and she invited a friend (Clyde) and Clyde invited this woman (we’ll call her Jane).  When I shared my post to my Bonnie’s Facebook wall she tagged a few of her friends so that they could also read it.  I got a lot of positive feedback from her friends, as well as from others I shared the post with (and from the blog itself**). However, this one woman, Jane, commented something along the lines of “no cheating here if that was implied”.  Since I don’t know Jane I did not respond.  My post was shared with Bonnie and others simply because we were currently in a challenge together and thought it might be of interest for her to read.  I should also note that Bonnie is a BeachBody coach and inspiring people with her own fitness journey.

Shortly after her comment, Jane removed it and added something else about her weight loss – which I commend her for.  From there, it seems all hell broke loose.  As I continued on with my day, my step count continued to go up.  My coworker and I have been walking on our lunch break since the winter.  I will note that my current coworker Boo Boo is filling a maternity leave for my BFF/coworker Spanky and for a good portion of last year and thru most of her pregnancy, Spanky and I would run on our lunch breaks – so lunchtime fitness is nothing new.  In addition, since the start of the summer and since I began physio for my ongoing back injury, I have been dragging my butt out of bed bright (not quite) and early every morning and walking several kilometers before getting ready for work.  Since race season is starting back up, I need to condition myself to get back into running after stopping for several months to allow my back to heal.  And in addition to all of this, I have been doing a lot of dog-walking/hiking with another friend Dora since the Spring when there was still snow on the ground.  This is all on top of my regular gym time and teaching boot camp and fitness classes.  Therefore, my step count each day is pretty high.  That’s just my life.

When I went to bed Wednesday night, I had a high step count.  I had gotten in several walks that day, taught my boot camp class (in 34 degree heat, mind you) and finished the night off with a near 10k hike with Dora, not arriving home until after 10:30.  I don’t keep data turned on on my cell phone and I turn it off at night (I have a house phone) , so when I turned my cell phone on in the morning, I was about 10 or 12 thousand steps ahead of Jane.  Apparently, Jane did not like that my step count was higher than hers as she posted in the challenge that I was a “looser” (eep! Loser?) and a cheater and then she quit the challenge.

But Jane took it further.  She called me out, indirectly, of course so that I had no way to defend or explain myself.  She posted some nasty stuff about me on her private Facebook page – naming me specifically, calling me a cheater and saying it was disheartening because I’m a fitness coach and saying that I didn’t like that she had blown by me, etc.  Of course, since I don’t know, therefore am not friends with Jane, I had no way of seeing these posts publicly – until others starting sending me private messages with screenshots of her post and comments.  My blood pressure went through the roof!  Thankfully, severally people came to my defense stating that perhaps I don’t sync my steps at night and yadda yadda yadda.  And, Bonnie and Clyde totally defended me and shamed her for her comments about me.  They both commended me on my abilities as a trainer and as a fitness professional and that her very public comments could hurt my credibility as a trainer.  (Thank you lovely ladies for that!)

Jane also made comments that I joined the challenge and took it over and that she never would have joined if she knew it was all trainers.  Clyde responded that Jane was wrong – that I, FB, created the challenge and that she, Clyde, invited her, Jane, and that it wasn’t all trainers.  In fact, I, FB, had only invited a few people – most of us who have sedentary jobs – in order to motivate each other to keep moving.  It wasn’t until Jane had joined the challenge that it turned into something so freakin’ dramatic.  I believe Bonnie or Clyde may also have pointed out to Jane that she had had no problem with this challenge and the step count while she was in the lead and it wasn’t until that morning with my additional 10,000 steps that she had lost her cool.

I also want to mention that, after Jane called me a “looser” and a cheater that I sent her a message stating that I work my ass off each and every day to achieve my fitness goals and that I had not cheated and I invited her to spend a day with me so she could see first hand how I earn my steps.  Of course, however, I received no response.

It’s unfortunate that a FitBit challenge and a blog post could cause such hoopla.  And, admittedly, perhaps my article comments went too far, but I meant no offense to anyone and if anyone took offense to my writing, then for that I apologize.  That being said, Jane was the only person from the many my WordPress stats show who’ve read the post who became defensive.  My theory on that is if you’ve done nothing wrong (ie. cheat), then why are you getting so upset.  Again, if I am wrong, I sincerely apologize.

Any challenge I’ve created as a fitness professional – or just as a regular Joan – FitBit Goal Days, Boot Camp Bingos, etc, have been meant to be kept lite.  They’re supposed to be fun ways to motivate yourself and each other to stay on track and get up and move.  They’re not meant to bring anyone down.  For Heaven’s sake – it’s a FitBit Challenge!! I shouldn’t be receiving hate comments (I expect those only in my boot camp classes and only in jest).

So, for those of you who’ve defended me, thank you.  For those of you who’ve participated, thank you.  And for those of you who continue to support each other, thank you!

Keep it lite, folks.

**One positive outcome from all of this incredible drama is that it caught the eye of a company in the US and they have asked me to write a guest post for their online site.  Stay tuned later this week for the upcoming article.

~FB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Confessions

I don’t ever remember being comfortable in my body.  Not even as a little girl. I remember being 3 years old and having an uncle call me “fatty”, and my entire life my brother has tormented me about my weight. 

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

When I was in high school I started skipping meals and eventually developed full-fledged eating disorders. I initially thought I had the control but in reality, the disorders were controlling me.  And so the struggle continued.  My weight has almost always fluctuated – up and down, up and down – until I discovered fitness those years ago.  I changed my lifestyle completely – exercising regularly and eating differently, and I saw the payoff quickly – losing close to 60 lbs in just about 3 months.  I’d gained around 30 lbs after college and the extra weight that came off was bonus.  I was quite thin for my frame and certain bones poked out here and there.  I loved it.  But I still wasn’t comfortable in my body.

Starting off my exercise routine was pretty basic – a few times a week.  Then, about 4 years ago I started doing Shaun T’s Insanity routine again.  It’s a 60 days program where you work out 6 days a week.  I did this program twice, back-to-back, rarely taking that scheduled day off, therefore working out nearly 120 days straight.  I did another 30 day program, twice, back-to-back, not taking a single day off.  Somewhere in and around these times is when I developed my exercise addiction.

via Yahoo

via Yahoo

I didn’t realize at the time that I was actually doing a disservice to my body (and mind and soul).  I was proud of my commitment to physical activity.  I was excited that I had fallen so deeply in love with exercise and I craved it.  I planned my days, no, my life around my workouts as they were the most important thing.  I missed out on social events because they conflicted with my exercise time, If I had to travel I ensured the hotel had a fitness center and was certain to pack my gym clothes, and sometimes, many times, I’d double up on workouts the few days before just to ensure I had met my own personal quota.  For a little while, it got to the point where I was working out two and three times a day just for the hell of it.  I still didn’t see any issue with my exercise addiction.  

I worked through injuries – a torn rotator cuff, a sprained ankle, and a stress fracture in my foot – refusing to give up on my exercising.  Two years ago when my eye surgery was confirmed and the surgeon told me no exercise for 6-8 weeks my initial reaction was a full blown panic attack with sobbing and tears and partial hyperventilating because the mere thought of not exercising (especially for that amount of time) stressed me out, gave me guilt and, literally scared the crap out of me.  I considered not having the surgery so that I could continue my workouts. I still did not see a problem with my exercise addiction.  I often said that “it’s a healthy addiction.”

Then my weight started creeping back up. I didn’t understand it because I was exercising every day.  So I increased my workouts and my exercise time.  And my weight continued to climb, not a lot but enough to really piss me off – and confuse me.  How was it possible that I was working out every single day; sometimes spending 3-4 hours at the gym, taking tons of fitness classes, running, strength training, you name it, yet my weight was still climbing.  I was beyond frustrated.  Every time I went to my doctor about anything, the subject of my weight came up and I’d end up in tears.

One day this past winter I was having a conversation with a cousin and the subject of my fitness addiction came up and I got really emotional – choked up, teary eyed, cracking voice.  It was the first time I realized that my love of fitness had gone beyond that and once again, something I thought I controlled was, in fact, controlling me.  Unfortunately, I tried to ignore it.  For me, the guilt of not exercising was so overwhelming that I just couldn’t fathom the idea of taking days off. So I didn’t.  And I continued to struggle with my weight climb over the winter and spring.

Then at the very start of summer I went to see a nutritionist.  Although the offer for dietitians and nutritionists have always been there, it was the first time since my eating disorder days that I decided to speak to someone.  And to be honest, the only reason I sought to speak to someone this time around is because it was my fitness instructor who’d just completed her nutrition course and, although somewhat intimidated, I also felt (semi) comfortable with her.  She knew about my whacked out exercise habits – at least to some extent – and I told her that my weight was ever-increasing and I wanted to bring it down, especially since I was working toward my certification as a trainer.  I wanted to get back to looking the part.

She and I discussed my routines and I disclosed to her that, over the last four years I’d logged every single workout I’d done – I accounted for every exercise, every class, and the amount of time I’d put into the workout.  She said to me “So, you can tell me, for the last four years, how many days you’ve worked out and how many days you’ve taken off??”  Of course I can.  (And I’m certain the number of days I’ve taken off from working out can be counted on maybe 3 or 4 hands.)

After a little more discussion (and soul-baring) she determined that I have adrenal fatigue syndrome and over-training syndrome.  That, because my body has been under constant stress for the last 4 years – with little or no rest – my cortisol levels have been elevated for so long and it’s the reason for my weight gain.  She told me I had to start resting and with rest, eventually my weight should start to decrease.  Coincidentally I had an appointment with my doctor the next day, discussed this all with her and she concurred. 

So I started taking rest days.  And I felt no guilt.  I feel no guilt.  What’s really sad – really sad – is that, deep down I knew what the problem was.  Hell, I’d JUST taken the PTS course and read over and over that one only need exercise 3-5 times a week.  Yet, I did not allow myself off the hook that easy.  I think maybe I needed someone to actually tell me that my over-exercising was the root cause of my weight gain but until that happened I wasn’t ready to let go of my addiction.

When it comes right down to it, addiction is addiction.  If I were hooked on heroin or an alcoholic I wouldn’t be able to just quit in the instant because I knew it was bad for me.  And even though exercise is wonderful and so good for your health, I couldn’t – no, I wouldn’t – allow myself to grasp that my over-training was detrimental to my health.  I was so proud of my lifestyle change over the years and my successes that I was determined to keep going, to keep striving for this stupid idea of perfection, to finally feel comfortable in my body.  I still haven’t reached that point yet.  I have a feeling that this will be a lifelong journey and struggle, and although fitness and healthy living has become such a huge and important part of my life, that one little meeting back at the start of summer helped me realize that it doesn’t have to be my whole life.

~Fit Bitch