As 2018 begins to draw to a close, we can look back on what could be regarded as one of the ‘healthiest years’ of our lifetime thanks to modern technology. The number of people purchasing Gym memberships, substituting meals for Protein shakes and wearing Fitbits has rocketed to new heights. However, as a result of this ‘health’ craze, are we neglecting our mental well-being? Are we sacrificing smiling for the sake of losing a couple of inches around our waist line?
A Fitbit, for example, a tracking device advertised as allowing us to achieve our fitness goals, can have a drastic effect on our mental stability without us realising. Whether we track our steps on our phone or strap an Apple Watch to our wrist, thousands of people today receive constant updates on every metric related to their bodies. For some, these devices encourage individuals to make simple switches to their daily routine in order to lead a more active lifestyle, such as walking rather than driving to the shops in order to reach their 1000 step a day target. Tracking these numbers, however, can often be a bigger problem than we realise.
thousands of people today receive constant updates on every metric related to their bodies
By wearing a Fitbit, we are policing our bodies. Rather than exercising being a means of stress-relief and a chance for our minds to unwind, a successful hour’s exercise is now determined by the number of calories burnt in a given time. By constantly worrying about how many steps one has taken, the rejuvenation qualities of sport are stripped away. We are straining our mental and physical capacities without understanding the consequences. We are focusing on losing weight and ignoring the burden of the weight we are adding to our shoulders by monitoring our every move.
To combat the problems induced by these calorie counting devices we must make a fundamental change to our definition of a healthy lifestyle. Health does not equal weight loss. We all buy into the concept of monitoring our steps taken each day because we’re obsessed with attaining that which society defines as an ‘ideal body’. These little devices strapped to our wrist prove to us that we are heading in the right direction, by burning more than we consume or by stepping more than we sit. However, our culturally accepted ideas around body size actually create a situation in which our over-all health often declines when we lose weight.
Health does not equal weight loss
Constantly monitoring the number of calories consumed can lead to obsessive tendencies and can often lead to more serious health problems such as anorexia and depression. Whilst these may be extreme circumstances, by removing that little tracking device from our wrists we are saying “no” to counting our steps and instead taking a big step towards a healthier and happier lifestyle.