Sunday, February 18, 2018
News Roundup

Miller: Where's my Fitbit? Shame, shame

Past experience, or maybe mother's wisdom, tells you that once you stop looking for something you've lost, it will turn up.

That's the tactic I was going to use when I relinquished the furious search for my newfangled step counter.

I have had my share of pedometers, but none like the Fitbit Charge, a wireless device with all sorts of bells and whistles that you wear on your wrist.

My gadget was a gift from my tech-savvy kids and a nudge for Mom and Dad to embrace the new world order. They've also bestowed us with e-reader devices, Bluetooth speakers and another wireless gizmo that can turn what you thought was a state-of-the-art TV into an even smarter model.

The Fitbit is supposed to encourage a healthier lifestyle — a cheerleader of sorts that tallies steps, calories burned, the scant flights of stairs I might climb in these Florida flatlands and the hours and quality of sleep.

Reach 10,000 steps and it gives you a little vibrating buzz. Congratulations!

Another caveat is that it synchs to a smartphone or computer so you can get "yay you" emails and progress reports. You can also keep tabs on your "Fitbit friends" — maybe draw inspiration or "When did I get so old?" lamentations because of friends like "Katie D," a mother of four young children who consistently doubles my distance.

I am also a mother of four and a grandmother of one, with arthritic knees. Even so, my Fitbit had me lapping the newsroom parking lot, pacing my neighborhood with newfound vigor and taking roundabout ways to wherever, all in pursuit of reaching the surgeon general's recommended 10,000 steps per day.

Then it was gone. I was on the hunt.

I searched high and low. Retraced my footsteps at work and at home. Dug through trash cans and laundry hampers. Overturned sofa cushions and crawled around on the floor and through too many dust bunnies. I tore my car apart.

No luck.

So I gave up.

As it turns out, stray Fitbits are pretty common — at least according to people who complain on the Internet that the wristband on models such as mine don't clasp well. And while Fitbit Inc. has improved the wristband on later models, it does have an online help section called "I lost my Fitbit" to aid folks like me. Add to that various versions of rubber fasteners that have been designed by others specifically for the Fitbit that you can purchase before you lose it.

Lucky for me, I have tech-savvy people in my life.

In this case, a daughter-in-law who introduced me to an app aptly named "Find My Fitbit" that I — or rather she — downloaded on my smartphone.

The thing works like a Geiger counter, depicting a snowflake, a beaming sun, or a yellow, flaming fire on the cellphone screen; it beeps faster as you move from "cold" to "warm" to "hot" in proximity to your lost Fitbit.

Turns out my Fitbit was somewhere at work. I was on the hunt again, pacing the newsroom and weaving through the advertising department as the app beeped faster while I made my way to the break room.

There, in front of a vending machine filled with an assortment of sworn-off sugary, salty, calorie-laden snacks, it registered blazing hot.

Must be under the vending machine, I figured, as I got down on my hands and arthritic knees to look.

Nothing.

Then it dawned on me — a moment of true clarity as my eyes landed on the vending machine slot where, about a week earlier, I had snatched a bag of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies — or maybe it was Peanut M&M's.

I reached in, slid my hand along the bottom and — voila! — pulled out my Fitbit. My sense of triumph was short lived, giving way to the thought that I was being snack-shamed by a newfangled pedometer in this new world order.

Contact Michele Miller at [email protected] Follow @MicheleMiller52.

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