In Fitbit v. Fatso Gene, Another ‘Bit Bites the Dust


I read in the paper yesterday about the FTO gene, nicknamed the “fatso” gene.  (Ha-ha, aren’t those scientists cute and zany? Not. ) One in six adults carry two copies of the gene variant; they weigh on the average seven pounds more than most folks. I think it likely that I reside within this unlucky group.

Last spring, in a response to my rising numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, age and scale,) I went on the mother of all diets and set out to lose thirty pounds. I lost thirty-five in six months by writing down every bite I put in my mouth. Sometimes it pays to be a little OCD.

But for me, like most people, the holidays took their toll and I was up five pounds by January. Luckily, a device arrived in the mail (a gift from a loving relative) promising salvation. The Fitbit is a small plastic paper-clip sized super-sophisticated pedometer that records steps, miles and calories burned and offers the additional lure of a website where one may journal food consumption without resorting to the giant book of calorie counting, pen and paper. It even has a little flower that “grows” as you increase your activity level.  It’s kind of like your sweat waters it and it blooms. Whatever. I adored that flower and pushed the button frequently just to check its size. Very inspirational.

Oh, how I loved my Fitbit. It went everywhere with me. I even wore it snuggled in a silky little band around my wrist as I slept. In the morning it comforted me with the knowledge that I had burned 430 calories even as I slept! We conspired frequently and rejoiced on the days I hit my five-mile goal. I petted it, bragged on it – even introduced it to all my friends.

But apparently, it did not love me. After a week, as I rather hurriedly responded to the inevitable consequence of drinking umpteen glasses of water (the exact and requisite amount that all diets seem to insist upon), it jumped from my waistband to a watery grave. I was disheartened, but still thought I could sustain a Fitbit relationship.

But alas, within ten days my second darling just up and died. No explanation, no farewell note, no autopsy – but I speculate that it may have despised my underwire Olga almost as much as I do. (Someday, when I’m even older and far less vain, I’m going to be one of those old ladies whose deflated bosom rests unfettered and unobstructed on the mound of her ample stomach – but not yet.)

I mourned, but recommitted to yet another intimate Fitbit relationship. But my carefully nurtured third suffered the cruelest of fates. I was cleverly multitasking four or five activities and just presumed that my beloved was, as usual, nestled securely near my heart. As I struggled from the car with library books, groceries, purse, water bottle, etc., I thought I heard a faint sound. I stopped, listened, and scanned the car, the air, the ground. Nothing. So, I pulled the car into the garage. And then I saw, laying behind my car, the pitiful remains of my final Fitbit. I hadn’t felt it leap, nor heard its last cry. I pushed its little button. No life, no flower. I stood speechless in a silent moment of memorial and woeful comprehension that I could not go through this again. My life with Fitbit was over.

So this article, “Movement can beat effects of ‘fatso’ gene,” says all you have to do to beat your genetic destiny is exercise an hour a day. No numbers, no gimmicks. It’s that simple … and un-fun. (Sigh.)

Hollyn Chase

Since her retirement, Hollyn Chase has served as VP of operations at Chez Chase--she also cooks and vacuums. Darling Jack, her husband of forty-two years, gets to be President; they agree that this is because he works much harder than she does. Being the VP is not all glitz and glamour, she does many mundane things. But she does them happily since she discovered that listening to audiobooks makes the boring bearable. Because her mind is always occupied, she's stopped plotting to overthrow the government. Her children, who rarely agree on anything, are both happy about this. Besides her addiction to fiction, she's fairly normal and sometimes even nice.

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