There’s a lot to like about fitbits –or any of those devices that track steps. I should know – I’ve been wearing one for about 4 years – or thereabouts.
The case for wearing a fitbit is mostly based around what they track – and therefore make you aware of:
- Steps/ movement
- Heart rate
- Sleep patterns
- Water consumption
- Calories consumed
The movement part is especially good if you are, like me, spend most of your day on your bum.
The first sign for me that I was coming to be guided too much by the numbers was in relation to sleep. I’m not a great sleeper – I never really have been. I certainly don’t need a fitbit to tell me that I’ve had a bad night, yet that’s exactly what I began to do – using it to prove my restlessness.
So I stopped wearing it at night.
Then I began to set myself targets regarding calories consumed and used – and yes, you guessed it, began to obsess about that too.
So I stopped entering the calories.
I’ve been in a challenge for most of the time I’ve been wearing a fitbit – and I’ve met some great people in the process who I otherwise wouldn’t have connected with. And, while it’s designed to just help me get to my 10,000 steps – that magical, yet arbitrary figure that gets bandied about – hello, it’s a challenge. But of late I’ve noticed that I’m obsessing over the challenges I’m involved in and am choosing to avoid spending time doing activities that I know I need to do to help my body age more healthily and mindfully – like yoga/pilates for flexibility, strength training for stronger bones – because there are no steps attached to them.
Each morning I walk 5kms. It takes me the best part of an hour and equates to 5000 steps – or thereabouts. The rest of the day my butt is planted on a chair and thanks to crappy mobile reception in our house – my workplace – I can’t even do the walk and talk thing. In the absence of incidental exercise, to get my 10,000 steps I need another long-ish walk. Most days I do this, but on the days that I spend that hour doing an alternative exercise that doesn’t give me any step credits, I beat myself up. I know, ridiculous thinking, right?
Of course, I could say to hell with the challenge, and do the non-walking alternative a couple of days a week – after all, it’s the movement, any movement, that’s doing me good – but numbers and I don’t have a good relationship. I’ve always allowed them to have a power over me that is, quite frankly, both unhelpful and unhealthy. It’s not fault of the numbers, it’s my reaction to them.
I’m that person who doesn’t know if I’ve gained or lost weight until I see it on the scales – regardless of the relative comfort and fit of my clothes. I honestly am that far out of touch with my own body and my own reality.
In the job I left mid last year the numbers each morning would determine how bad the day ahead would be. They’d be texted through at 7.30am as I was driving to the office and if they weren’t as expected, I’d spend the entire commute strategizing and composing emails in my head to avoid the inevitable fall-out.
My fitbit would show that on some of those days I’d spent the entire working day with my heart-rate (another number) in the cardio-burning zone – which sent yet another number, my blood pressure, into an even more dangerous area.
After a few months into our sea-change things have quietened to an extent that I’m starting to listen to my body again. I’m eating seasonally, I’m less likely to medicate with food or alcohol. My heart rate has slowed, I’m walking most mornings, I’m belly dancing, dancing in the dark, and am intentionally active for at least 90 minutes every day. Yet way too often I’m not hitting my 10,000 steps – and as ludicrous as it sounds, I continue to beat myself up over that. Nor am I losing weight…yet…and yes, I’m beating myself up about those numbers still too.
Wearing the fitbit hasn’t taught me to move more – I’ve always moved and know that creatively I’m better when I do. It has, however, made me more aware of my movement and heart rate patterns. Likewise, the challenges are fabulous for external motivation if you’re not yet in an exercise habit, but I’m done with it – at least for now.
It’s about learning to listen to (and trust) my body. It’s also about the quest for mindfulness and balance – whatever they are. Having said that, don’t be surprised if you see me popping up again in a challenge sometime soon!
What about you? Are you in touch with your body or do you need the numbers? Have you ever been into the whole fitbit challenge thing?
Ok, it’s Thursday, so that means sharing our happy. Like the Partridge Family sang C’mon Get Happy! Am I the only sad case old enough to remember that?Feel free to link up a post that reflects what you’re lovin’ about life. All bloggers are welcome! Fashion, food, beauty, business, personal, parenting … whatever …
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