Stepping into snow

Yesterday was the first snowfall in the city. The day also brought another gift: my friend Connie gave me a Fitbit! My goal is 10,000 steps a day, which is paltry compared to the avid walker Connie, who logs multiples of that—but it's a start. She sent me a Flex, the wristband model, in swimming-pool aqua.

Overcome with enthusiasm, I headed out, malgré les temps.

Special of the Day: wet snow, with seconds on the house!

The waiter asked, "Are you taking photos for your girlfriends?" Yes!

I had to watch every step!

 Few cyclists braved the streets; more than one walked a bike:

 Ah, the glee of the first snowball fight!

The walk lifted my spirits, as walks will. I was charmed by this window display: a tutu of evergreen-and-gold boughs, a bodice of sheet music. This is the window of the local boutique, Fripe Fabrique; what an eye for design!

WIW note: That's a Golightly Cashmere watch cap on my head, and I can't think of a more practical luxury for frigid climes. (Golightly also make a feather-weight watch cap, as well as other styles, and the hats are available in a range of sizes.) 

The colours are magnificent, the weight substantial, and the watch cap model is deep enough to pull down over your delicate ear lobes. It was a stretch to buy it some years ago, but it's been worth every penny. 

A reader sent a note to say how happy she was with hers, so I wanted to be sure, as the temperature drops, to mention it again. 

I've signed on for "the magic of 10,000 steps", just in time for holiday goodies and the seductive sloth-induction of our long, dark winters. When I came home, a a chirpy Fitbit shoutout and a badge were waiting! Ho, it knows what I'm doing. (You can control just how much it knows, somewhat.)  

So is the little sensor naughty or nice? If I can maintain my goal weight over the winter, I'll be a convert—maybe even as devoted as Connie, or David Sedaris, who wrote a very funny piece about his obsession here

If there are FitBitters reading, please say hey. How are you doing?


If you're anything like me, you will be absolutely addicted to your Fitbit in no time at all. I've been known to pack around my apartment to get the last couple of dozen steps in at the end of the day!

Someday, I want to go walking in the snow with you; I think you enjoy it as much as I do.
Susan B said…
Cute cap! I'd be afraid to know how few steps I'm taking daily right now with my desk job. ;-)
LauraH said…
Love your photos, I feel like I'm taking the walk with you. Also love the bright cheerful colours of your mitts, hat and boots.

Are you a good walker on ice? I see many people just stride along whereas I tend to be very cautious,...fear of falling!
Susan said…
The photo of the waiter is making me chuckle He seems so pleased to be photographed.

A friend gave me a fitbit too! I need to start using it! Thank you for the motivational post!
Swissy said…
No fitbit here, but maybe it's just as well, since I tend to be a little OCD. We do walk our hills a couple or three miles each morning and I always find something wonderful to see and remember. Morning walks lift my spirits, always have. I also have flights of stairs to climb, from cellar to second floor, many times daily.

Love your photos!
Frugal Scholar said…
Many years ago my California in-laws lived in Montreal for a year when my mother-in-law swapped jobs with another teacher. They loved it even in winter (they had grown up in the midwest so had some experience with snow/cold). You are so lucky to live in that great city.
Kristien62 said…
You reminded me that I have signed up for a new device that should arrive in January. For the life of me, I can't remember what it is called! I need inspiration to walk in the winter- our weather is much like yours. I do love the first snows, but by February will need to be pushed out the door by a force greater than I.
LPC said…
No Fitbit, but a focus on moving at least moderately throughout the day. And Bompard cashmere watchcaps, which I truly rarely use here in SF:).
Montréal is extraordinarily walkable in all seasons for a North American city (and there are groups acting to make it more so, in particular for elders and children).

Much as I do NOT like winter, since it greatly reduces my mobility from cycling to slow-walking speed, I do walk outdoors every day, for an hour at least unless I have a huge rush of work (it is rare that I can't take a walk break). The problem is the one Laura mentioned: I'm terrified of slipping on ice (and it is very icy today) which limits the aerobic benefits of a stroll. Yes, I do own cleats, but one doesn't stride as well in them as in normal shoes or boots.

This foretaste should melt by the weekend though...
Our son and DIL have fit bit's and love them.
I like that cashmere hat and can imagine how toasty it would keep you in the snow...walking in the snow here is usually treacherous as we have ice under the snow and very little snow removal equipment and many people do not shovel the sidewalks so it is like a broken bone waiting to happen when we gingerly venture out. So I'll need to cut back on my intake and do some weight training when it snows here.
materfamilias said…
I have such a happy memory of walking in Montreal the morning after a blizzard, ending up shaking off the snow at Verses in the Hotel Nelligan for a wonderful meal, boots dripping melted icicles onto that beautiful room with nothing but warm hospitality from the waitstaff. . Your happy photo has rekindled that memory -- can't wait to get back there!
Jill Ann said…
I have had a Fitbit for almost a year. I got the smaller clip-on kind, because I didn't want to wear the bracelet every day! I wear it almost all the time, but I'm less than diligent about getting my 10,000 steps. Need to "step" up my efforts!
Duchesse said…
Janice: Yes, let's- here or there. I can see it's addicting, but it's a healthy habit.

une femme: It has a way of nudging you toward a goal.

Laura H" I'm OK on ice as long as I watch every step ;)

Susan: Oh, he was a flirt!

Swissy: A delightful ritual, morning is a beautiful time and the movement benefits seem to last all day.

frugal: Yes, but may I say, we chose to live here, and made certain trade-offs; luck did play a part in us finding a great apt.

LPC: Aww, too bad; I have one too, and use it when it's not so cold. In fact the whole family wears them.

lagatta: Yes, treacherously icy today. I see Pajar have come out with special boots for ice; I might check them out.

hostess: I also walk on a treadmill at a gym- it is the ice that deters me from outdoor walks more than the cold.

materfamilias: Walking in a blizzard is SUCH fun! And usually not that cold. When it's really cold, it is too cold to form snow.

Jill Ann: We can motivate each other! If you wish, e-mail me and we can Friend on FitBit.

Hummingbird5 said…
You who can safely walk through the winter are fortunate. In my 60's with osteoporosis, walking outdoors in the winter is a risk for broken bones that I'm not willing to take. I move as much as possible at home, but I'm sure it's not "enough."
Duchesse said…
Hummingbird: Might there be other places where you can move? Today, I walked the corridors in my building and tomorrow will walk on a treadmill at a small neighbourhood gym. Other people our age (I'm 66) walk in malls.

Sometimes there's too much build up of ice to walk safely outdoors.

Unknown said…
We received a fit bit as our incentive for completing our bio marker health assessment at work a couple of weeks ago. Duchesse has been my steadfast friend and supporter on My Fitness Pal for the past two years. So as I already have a fit bit, I wanted my good friend to have this one. I hope you like it Duchesse! I too walked in the snow on Saturday with mine. It was like walking in a snow globe. No wind, and the snow was so lovely!
Duchesse said…
Connie: Calm vs windy makes all the difference to enjoying an outdoor walk in our deep winter climate.

OK now will admit I named my fitbit for you. Thank you SO much!
I'll check out the Pajars. Not happy about trudging (slowly) rather than sailing by à bicyclette (I cycle a lot), but one silver lining is noticing new businesses opening up on St-Laurent in the nabe: A Rachelle-Béry (natural foods shop) and a boulangerie-café called Toque Toque between St-Zotique and Beaubien.

Hummingbird, there are special exercise groups for people with osteoporosis. Some Ys and other community fitness centres hold them.
Jacinta Arnold said…
Am maintaining my goal weight very easily for the first time in my life with a variant of the 5:2 diet. Its so easy. I skip breakfast most days and lunch two days a week. Magical.
MJ said…
I've been wearing a Jawbone UP band - similar to the fitbit - for more than a year now, and I find that it really motivates me to move more than I otherwise would. Better yet, my husband got interested enough to ask about it, and now he is a real devotee. We think it's a great way to remind ourselves to keep moving. We've been known to do laps around the house in order to make sure that we make our steps for the day.
Anonymous said…
Long time reader here! As some one who regularly used to run on snowy, and icy sidewalks, these
were a lifesaver.

Now I live in a much warmer climate, but do remember my outdoor winter workouts with pleasure. I loathe the treadmill.

Happy walking!

Duchesse said…
Jacinta: I know that the 5/2 system system works for some women and maintaining a healthy weight takes effort. Counting calories and regular exercise is the most palatable method for me.

MJ: One of the posters on a fitbit site wrote, "We still chase each other around the house, but the reason has changed".

Sharon: Snow crampons are big sellers here. You can also buy them at Costco and some hardware stores-varying levels of quality. Like snow tires for your feet!
Sounds like you are running on the beach now.

Gretchen said…
Oh, I do love that first snow of the March, not so much. These watch caps are now on my wish list - you do know how to tempt us, Duchesse! It's amazing; when I was younger and living in Minnesota, I was outside every day, no matter the weather, and now here in Annapolis, I'm a complete weenie. I've considered a Fitbit but haven't taken the bait quite yet. Perhaps that, over the cap??
Duchesse said…
Gretchen: Yes, our bodies acclimate to the environment, especially in the more temperate direction! Hat or fitbit would be a tough choice. In MD, you might be covered with this lighter-weight watch cap from Eric Bompard; they usually go on sale after Jan 1.:

That's the one I use when temps are above freezing.
Eleanorjane said…
Good for you with your Fitbitting!

I'm struggling mightily at the moment with trying to fit any movement at all into some days. A combination of lots of travel and long commutes for work and it getting dark, cold and wet. I don't know what I'm going to do about this, 'cos I can't just veg out 'till Spring.
Duchesse said…
eleanorjane: Commutes are fitness killers whether you drive or take the train. Wonder what you will do- Connie, who commutes too, does a lot of stairclimbing at work. She is lucky to also have a gym at her workplace.
It is great if employer can provide a gym (needn't be large) or at least a shower for people who cycle or run in hot weather.

Bit of respite right now with everything melting, so I could go for a good bicycle ride. Feels so good!

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