Fitbit: The New Gym

Fitbit: The New Gym

Skip the gym and join a friend's challenge.
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January is the year that most gyms see their memberships skyrocket. Getting in shape, losing weight and fitting back into a favorite pair of jeans from a few years ago are probably the top few goals for most people who set goals. A few weeks into the new year and a vast majority of people stop going to the gym. In fact, going by statistics, 80% of the New Years Resolutions crowd drops off by the second week of February. Meaning only 20% remain, and the rate of sign-ups tapers off by February. I did not partake in joining a gym this year. Instead, I received a Fitbit and have gotten more out of it than I would have with a gym membership.

There are many reasons why I feel like the Fitbit has done more for me than the gym. One of those reasons is that it holds me accountable. I can set certain goals and if I slack off one day, it will literally send a notification to my phone to get moving. It keeps up with all the steps I’ve taken, how many miles I’ve walked, and just how far from my goal I am. So far this year, I have walked over 100,000 steps which roughly equal around 51 one mile, give or take. That only accounts for the days that I have worn it. My husband has seen my frantically run around the house just to reach my daily goal before bed.

Another aspect that Fitbit helps me with that a gym wouldn’t is that I can log my calories on my phone. It holds me accountable for what I eat. Instead of being told by a trainer or gym partner what I can and cannot eat, I can physically see what I can and cannot eat. The Fitbit has a section where you can even scan the barcode on the food you are eating and log it into your daily food intake. From there you can see how many calories you have eaten and how many calories you have burned.

Much like setting a goal for how many steps you take, you can also set a goal for losing weight based off calories. It gives you four goals to choose from. Easier means a -250 calorie deficit . Medium is a -500 calorie deficit. Kinda Hard is the -750 calorie deficit. And Harder is the -1,000 calorie deficit. It is true that you are constantly burning calories, but being able to see the amount of calories burned in a thirty minute walk around your neighborhood will blow your mind. By simply walking three times a week and watching my calories, I have lost 9 pounds in three weeks.

The last aspect, which I absolutely love, is the friends option. You can add your friends who have fitbit, and have a little healthy competition. I participated in my first “Weekend Warrior” challenge this past weekend with a lot of people I don’t personally know, but with a mutual friend of them. It was fun to see all these people, from different parts of the country, walk it out on the weekend! Some of these ladies were in the upper 50,000 steps in two days, where some of us were much lower. When I got close to the person in front me on steps, I would walk back and forth for a few seconds just to beat them. It seems petty, but hey, I placed in the top five.

While it may not give me perfect abs and the ideal beach body that some machines in the gym will, Fitbit has helped me change my everyday life for the better. I am achieving my goals almost every day. In fact, since the first of the year, I have only slacked off two days. I'm eating less calories and burning more. Getting in shape can be as simple as putting a device on your wrist and just becoming aware. It’s a really simple solution to keep people accountable. And I really doubt that I’ll be putting the Fitbit down by the second week of February.

Cover Image Credit: Fit Bit

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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An Open Letter: To The Simple Things

An open letter dedicated to living within the small and simple things in life.

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To the Simple Things,


I know there's probably a saying dedicated to the "simple things," that life gives us. I suppose one could label that phrase, indeed, a cliché. However, could it be that maybe, just maybe, the simple things do impact us positively?

Recently, there was something that happened to me that I wished would come to pass a while ago. I let that hope pass as time quickly produced no results. But then, without warning, little bits of positivity would come about: a word of encouragement here or healthy advice there. It all seemed to be smaller pieces of a bigger puzzle. These simple things lead to that one event I wished for long ago.

We often times think that the major occurrences should happen right now. And if they happen right this moment, it'll appease us in all we've hoped for. But what is overlooked is the simple things that helped build your positivity along the way. I understand that it may not seem like much, but any sign that everything will work in your favor is worth remembering and living in. The smaller moments are just as important as the bigger ones.

Life is difficult. However, I wish for everyone out there to admire all of the simple things that come your way. And most importantly: believe that those small moments will lead to something greater for you. Anything is entirely possible, and you're worth all of those possibilities. I've said many times before, but here it is yet again: never let others mute your happy little moments. These simple things in life hold various meaning for each individual. No one in any shape or form is allowed to tell you what exactly that meaning is. That is completely up to you.

As with anything I write, I am only voicing from perspective. But I know how hard it is to see the positive in small bursts and not getting the immediate result. I have learned to look at these simple things as building blocks and relish what they give to me. All things will work out fine; just believe in the simple things.

May you find comfort in these mini bursts of happiness even if, at first, they're hard to place faith in.


Positively,

Jessica

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