The concept seems innocent enough–track your steps to increase your activity level; increase your activity level, and improve your health– or so it seems.
But the question I want to present to you today is this:
Does your Fitbit actually improve your health? Are you able to wear it without obsessing over how many steps you’ve taken or how many calories you have burned? What happens if you’re forced to go without it?
Fitbits are not inherently bad– but they can be dangerous when we live in a world that idolizes physical fitness.
And I don’t use the word idolized lightly. To idolize is to blindly adore.¹
Quite literally, we live in a world that worships (with blind adoration) anything and everything related to diet and exercise, without considering the negative consequences.
Is it possible that your interest in fitness tracking has gone too far? How has it influenced your overall quality of life?
In a survey conducted by CNN, out of 200 women surveyed, 59% reported that their daily routines were controlled by their Fitbit, and 30% felt that their Fitbit was an enemy and made them feel guilty.²
A few years back, I was one of these women. My Fitbit did control my every decision, from how long I worked out to what I ate that day. I could not go a day without wearing it. My Fitbit was my best friend and my worst enemy. It affirmed me when I met the ever-so-praised “10,000 steps” mark, yet scolded me when I did anything less. It urged me to eat anything and everything available when I burned a certain amount of calories, yet convinced me not to eat when I hadn’t “done enough”- whatever that means. I would workout even if I was sick or had an injury just to please a piece of plastic. I never truly knew how much to eat or drink. There were many times I was still hungry, even after I had surpassed the amount of calories I had “burned” that day.
Was I supposed to eat if I felt hungry? Was I allowed to disobey the Fitbit?
Of course I was– but I didn’t know that.
I took the arbitrary numbers from my fitness tracker and claimed them as absolutely truth. Sure– I was losing weight. But my overall health was in a dismal place. It’s no wonder that I was completely disconnected with my hunger and fullness cues.
Fitness trackers discourage you from listening to your body.
But when I decided to ditch my Fitbit once and for all, I was finally able to learn how to listen to what my body really needed–whether that be a brief walk in my neighborhood, a group fitness class, or a day off.
My day is now no longer dictated by “have-to’s” but rather, “want-to’s”.
Today, I am Fitbit-free…
…free to listen to my body, free to move, free to rest, free to eat, free to make decisions out of self-care rather than self-hate, and free to live. I encourage my clients (and you) to do the same.
- Idolize. Dictionary.com. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/idolize. Accessed October 5, 2018.
- Duus R, Cooray M. Research reveals the dark side of wearable fitness trackers. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/01/health/dark-side-of-fitness-trackers/index.html. Published September 1, 2016. Accessed October 5, 2018.
Photo: Mashable / Elizabeth Pierson