3 Reasons To Consider Ditching Your Data Device (Or At Least Take a Trial Separation)

April 17, 2014 · 5 comments

Hello from Paris! You may recognize today’s guest post author, Jessica Smith. She has appeared in many fitness magazines as the beautiful fitness model and trainer as well as many fitness DVD’s. To say I was flattered that she was interested in writing a guest post on my blog is an understatement. From my Jawbone Up to heart rate monitor and RunKeeper app, I’m taking her advice below seriously and you should to. Enjoy Jessica’s post!

Could constantly plugging in be causing you to disconnect with your body?

Ditch Your Data Device

One of the things I’ve been contemplating lately is whether or not technology is actually helping or hurting us when it comes to our health and fitness goals. These days digital devices are changing the way view our workouts, food and even sleep! And as a certified personal trainer and wellness coach, I’ll be the first to admit there are some pretty amazing gadgets out there that can track everything from your calorie burn, step count and even sleep cycles, but how much good are they really doing for you? If we end up relying on devices to tell us what’s going on with our body, could they be doing more harm than good? Are we losing touch with our body’s true signals by placing too much importance on what that wristband says? Here are 3 reasons I think you should consider ditching your data device (at least for a little while):

1) You may not realize it, but that little device could be putting an awful lot of pressure on you.

 Hear me out – I get that tracking stats is important and that measurement and milestones can be very helpful in goal achievement. I also know there are two sides to every coin, and that those benefits are not without potential downsides too. Have you ever felt the need to get up and move after a long, stressful day simply because you haven’t reached your step count or calorie burn goal yet? Sometimes the most important thing you can do for your body is rest, something your device may not always register at the right time. And the rest I’m talking about here isn’t just laying on the couch eating chips out of the bag, but true, restful rest like taking a nap, treating yourself to a massage or even doing a little meditation when you feel you need it. It can be hard to hear that internal voice crying out for that kind of a break if you’ve got a device buzzing or beeping at you to remind you that you haven’t done “enough” for the day.

2) You know that saying, “a watched pot never boils…?”

Well, there may be some truth to that.

I understand that it can be helpful to track calories, distance, heart rate, and all that jazz, and that it can help you lose weight (especially if you had no previous idea of how many calories you were eating and/or not burning off), but if you’ve been using your device for awhile and the scale seems stuck, focusing all your attention on those numbers could be hindering your progress rather than helping it. Here’s why – in my years of coaching and training (not to mention my personal experience with being 40 pounds overweight), I’ve found that usually weight gain isn’t just a matter of calories in, calories out, but rather a symptom of something beyond what you can measure with a tracking device. For me, I find that the harder I work to “diet and exercise,” the more weight I gain! Instead, when I start tuning into my body in all areas of my life I’m able to find the right balance of work, play, food, rest and movement that made me feel healthy, happy and full of energy. To get to that place where losing weight simply becomes a positive outcome of a positive life, you may need to ignore what the numbers and data say to truly find what makes your body, mind and spirit feel the absolute best.

3) You don’t need a device to tell you how far you can (or should) go.

Sure, it’s nice to know that you ran 5 miles or burned 500 calories with that last workout, but the truth is, you don’t need a device to tell you when your workout is done or how far you have left to run! Tuning back into your body could help you push yourself even further without that much extra effort. By honoring your body’s need to rest on certain days (no matter what that activity meter says) you may be able to replenish a depleted gas tank and push yourself even further or faster on your next workout. By eating when you are hungry (instead of skipping a snack because you’ve reached your calorie intake for the day) you may be able to starve off a binge attack later. Not to mention ladies, you know that there are certain times of the month where your energy levels drop, and that’s a natural part of your cycle that is worth honoring, not fighting through just to make a certain daily goal.

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Finally, I’m not saying this has to be a permanent break up! If you love your data device and have found success using it, by all means keep at it. But, if you’ve been feeling a little stuck or frustrated lately, you may want to take a trial separation for a bit. Who knows, once you are ready to start using it again you may find that you both appreciate each other even more than before you got together!

Tell me, what do you think? If you are a dedicated device user, did any of this ring true for you or do you think I missed the mark? I love to hear all points of view so please share your thoughts and opinions with me in the comments below. And special thanks to Sarah for allowing me to share this guest post!

About The Author

Jessica Smith is the host of JESSICASMITHTV, co-author of the Thin in 10 Weight Loss Plan (Sunrise River Press, 2012), and a certified wellcoach, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Having started her own fitness journey more than 40 pounds ago, Jessica knows how challenging it can be to lose weight (and keep it off). Recently named one of Sharecare’s Top 10 Online Influencers and one of SHAPE’s Hottest Female Trainers in America, she loves finding and sharing the latest info on weight loss, fitness, and healthy lifestyle habits. The star of several best-selling exercise DVDs, Jessica has over 13 years of experience in the industry, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Fordham University. For more info, please visit jessicasmithtv.com.

 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emma @ Life's A Runner April 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

I have definitely felt too plugged in at times, and it is for that very reason that I don’t monitor my steps anymore! I know when I go for a long run or walk for hours that I’ve been active – I don’t need confirmation. I also think that balances out with the days I move less. Great post! :)

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2 Becky@TheSavedRunner April 17, 2014 at 9:47 am

You made so many good points!@ I use a Garmin when I run, but I try not to look at it too much in my run or take too much time studying my results from the watch.

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3 Lauren April 17, 2014 at 11:02 am

I liked this post, especially #3!

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4 Karleen April 17, 2014 at 5:19 pm

yes, I certainly agree that you should ‘unplug’ occasionally. BUT, if you’re training for an event (I’m training for a half marathon in May) it’s helpful to have a gps device to help you figure out what your pace and how far you’re running. But on the other hand, it is nice to run ‘hands free’ so to speak sometimes so you can really be in tune with yourself and just enjoy and freespirited run.
Also, I’ve used myfitnesspal on and off. I say on and off because I find that if I use it for more than a couple months at a time, I want to rebel and binge since I’m over it. I think it’s good to check in with something like that if you feel you’re overeating and want to get an idea of your calorie intake, especially if you notice the scale creeping up OR your clothes aren’t fitting comfortably but using something like this 100% is ZERO fun and leaves you feeling stressed and trapped.
Overall, I like your article. Definitely a good idea to go ‘hands free’ sometimes!

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5 Jessica Perez April 24, 2014 at 4:06 pm

I’m glad I read this. I have been stressing over for months whether or not I should splurge and pay for a gadget to help me. This all made more sense.

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