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Must we DIGITIZE our well-being?

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Old 01-18-2014, 12:44 PM   #1
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Default Must we DIGITIZE our well-being?

This is not about people who started dieting for medical reasons.
We've all been there. You can't get out of a car easily, climb a flight of stairs without getting exhausted, do simple things without feeling the need to wait a few second to catch your breath. Then you tell yourself "I have to do something about this. I want to GET BETTER."
So you walk into the fitness center, sign up for a dieters forum, begin reading articles on healthy living etc and you discover a world full of DIGITS you did not even think about initially, from simple ones to complex ones: weight, BMI, total body fat, miles, steps count, calories burnt, calories eaten, heart rate, maximum heart rate, blood sugar levels, then arms, belly, waist,calves, thighs, chest measurements etc etc
Before you realize, you become obsessed with a bunch of numbers and you forget the reason why you started in the first place: FEEL GOOD, BREATHE BETTER, SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT etc. It helps me when I don't overlook those little victories.
True, those numbers help us to stay afloat when the scale is being stubborn but then we CAN fail to notice the healthy and stronger us emerging day after day.
I admire dieters who can cope with all of that but is it really NECESSARY?I stopped using the heart rate monitor on my treadmill. This time I want to let my daily activities tell me my progress. I'm however closely monitoring my progress on the TM: calories crushed and miles.That's just me!
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Old 01-18-2014, 01:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirti4thirty View Post
This is not about people who started dieting for medical reasons.
We've all been there. You can't get out of a car easily, climb a flight of stairs without getting exhausted, do simple things without feeling the need to wait a few second to catch your breath. Then you tell yourself "I have to do something about this. I want to GET BETTER."
So you walk into the fitness center, sign up for a dieters forum, begin reading articles on healthy living etc and you discover a world full of DIGITS you did not even think about initially, from simple ones to complex ones: weight, BMI, total body fat, miles, steps count, calories burnt, calories eaten, heart rate, maximum heart rate, blood sugar levels, then arms, belly, waist,calves, thighs, chest measurements etc etc
Before you realize, you become obsessed with a bunch of numbers and you forget the reason why you started in the first place: FEEL GOOD, BREATHE BETTER, SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT etc. It helps me when I don't overlook those little victories.
True, those numbers help us to stay afloat when the scale is being stubborn but then we CAN fail to notice the healthy and stronger us emerging day after day.
I admire dieters who can cope with all of that but is it really NECESSARY?I stopped using the heart rate monitor on my treadmill. This time I want to let my daily activities tell me my progress. I'm however closely monitoring my progress on the TM: calories crushed and miles.That's just me!
I suppose some people like and need that accountability - the more numbers to keep track of, the better they perceive their progress to be.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing; it's just bad for ME.

I don't do any of that any longer. I don't track calories, carbs, points, miles, minutes, hours walked, nothing.

I eat when I'm hungry, stop when I'm no longer hungry, and walk when I feel like it. And I've never felt better.
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Old 01-18-2014, 02:42 PM   #3
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Haha! I love your post, thirti4thirty. It's true. I totally agree. I suppose it's just the way the weight loss industry continues to make money off of us. "You need a pedometer" or "You need to have your BMI at this figure to be considered healthy" or "You need a proper hip-waist ratio." It's all very exhausting, yes.

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Old 01-18-2014, 06:12 PM   #4
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I like numbers (I also work in data analysis haha). I don't like to see ALL of them simultaneously so I like that in fitness places you have the option of seeing the numbers or not at all - I just throw a hand towel over the machine. TA DA! no numbers! =)
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:15 PM   #5
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It's part of the mindset of productivity and performance that is western culture. Our school systems boil down to numbers, our businesses, jobs and our worth as human beings are all given numbers. How much value we assign to those numbers is up to us, but personally, I do value performance and progress. Of course, I don't mistake human beings for numbers. Numbers and formulas are useful, but not the basis of humanity. If they were, we would be robots, basically. Hence the human obsession with numbers. The key: it's measurable. If we can measure progress with numbers, that awareness leads to the ability to analyze data and adjust our lifestyle accordingly. We aren't confident in what we're doing unless we have a standard and evidence of improvement.
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:57 PM   #6
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I remember the days before digitizing was available. I had to get my information from a book that listed calories. Food did not have nutrition labels. Pedometers might have been available but I don't think so. The only dieter's forum was Weight Watchers meetings. I imagine there were articles about weight loss in the magazines but the Internet was not available for the common person.

I find the wealth of information available today very valuable.

I don't worry about the numbers with exercise but I learned through experience that some numbers are necessary for me..... primarily, the weight or measurements of my food, the calories and the carbs. I could use paper instead of digitizing my food logs but the online calorie log makes it easier.
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:33 PM   #7
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On my very first diet, I had to look up or memorize the counts of everything and keep a notebook...so I'm loving the apps out there these days.

Seriously, it is a lot! Or it can be. But I think it's a lot of potentially helpful numbers. When I track a thing, I naturally start trying to improve it. So if I track walking time in a day, suddenly it find a lot of reasons to walk, which is a win. As for eating, I've learned that my intuition is not my friend. I wish it weren't true, but eating what I feel the need for, stopping when I'm full...means gaining weight. And if I don't track my weight, I don't feel I'm making real progress/won't know if I'm maintaining. If not tracking a lot of things works for you, wonderful! But for me, I've had to accept that I have a blind spot in this area, and luckily there are systems to do for my health management what my contacts do for my eyes (i.e., give me focus). I don't track everything that can be tracked, though, just a few metrics I find useful.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:40 PM   #8
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I'm at the point in my weight loss that the numbers don't show smaller clothes or anything. The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that I feel better and worry less.
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Old 01-19-2014, 09:34 AM   #9
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Yes it is necessary to me. I like holding myself accountable. I lived in denial for a long time. That's how I got to be nearly 200lbs - by indulging in denial. I'm like a child that needs to be watched at all times so that I don't get in trouble. I wouldn't let my 2yr old son walk on the sidewalk without holding his hand. He's too immature to understand the dangers of running into the street. Likewise, I am emotionally fragile to triggers, hunger and food. I don't do it to punish myself, I do it as a form of love for my own self. I don't think of it as too much, I think of it as the only time this busy mom can keep my focus inward on my own needs.

Obviously not everyone needs that. My husband doesn't track anything at all, food/exercise/calories etc - none of it. And he's thin and fit. I have nothing to say about that other than hooray for him. But I have a handicap and so I use the tools that I need in order to survive. Wearing my pedometer is not a nuissance and it doesn't cause me headaches. On the contrary, it helps me maintain my sanity.
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Old 01-19-2014, 10:51 AM   #10
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I track. I can be obsessive about it and it's hard not to be. I track calories and pounds. I use My Fitness Pal for my calories and my exercise. Some people can do this without tracking things. Unfortunately I'm not one of them.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:23 AM   #11
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Yeah, I don't like doing all that stuff. I'm doing it how I want to always be doing it. I used to not weigh because I was big. I knew I was big, I just didn't know the number. Now, I am weighing every day because I like to.

I can see how some people need to have all that but I also see how it can be self defeating just as my constant scale jumping could be. I get positive feedback from knowing I've only eaten that which I meant to eat and moved around more because I know the scale isn't going to immediately show it but it will eventually.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:35 AM   #12
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Must we? No. Should we? For me the answer is yes. My heart rate monitor has been fantastic for pacing and getting better at running.

I weigh myself every morning. If I've lost I say way to go, have another good day. If I haven't I say lets make this a good day. Motivates me either way. So if numbers are a positive then great. If you find them a negative then that is great you realize that for you.
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:17 PM   #13
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I'm with you on most of what you wrote. I do count calories and I monitor my weight every few months, but those are the only two numbers I care about. When I don't count calories, I find that it is very easy for me to eat more calories than my body burns, and I gain. I find that calorie counting is much easier using an app, so I do. However, if I had to focus on macronutrients, heart rate, etc., I would give up after a couple of days. Different strokes, though: I think lots of people really get into numbers.
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:38 PM   #14
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I'm a numbers gal, so I do find it invaluable to count calories. I also love charts and forecasting my weight loss. My weight though, it's never been an obsession, I normally weigh-in once a month or so, but now that I'm so close to my GW, I am doing it weekly. Otherwise, I don't care about BMI etc...
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:41 PM   #15
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I tried for a week to religiously monitor my macro nutrients. Just about went nuts. There was no real point. I've been at it long enough that I know as long as I keep my carbs low, I'm usually intuitively eating enough protein. I don't monitor my heart rate, and I only worry about my health markers once every quarter when I have my blood work done.

The minutia of dieting in general adds up after a while. There is so much information you can drown in. At the end of the day, only you know what will work for you.
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