Why ditching my fitness tracker changed my life!

Watches are no longer just for telling time. They can now be used to read texts, listen to music, pay for things. They can even check your heart rate and count your steps. This makes them perfect when starting out on your fitness journey as it can boost motivation, keep you accountable and help to understand the amount of exercise you’re doing each and every day. Twin that with a food tracking app and surely, it’s a recipe for healthy success.

I do think that there can be a bit benefit to tracking your calories and exercise at the beginning. If you track your food intake each day for a month, it can help to paint a mental picture of a ‘healthy’ balanced diet. The same goes for exercise. If you know a walk round the block burns 200 calories, you start to understand the ‘calories in, calories out’ concept. This can have a big impact if you’re trying to get more active or lose a bit of weight.

My problem, however, occurred when I started to be too fixated on the numbers. When my calories out for the day, were less than the calories in, I would start to feel extremely guilty. Thus began my complicated relationship with food and exercise. It was always about eating low calories and doing as much exercise as possible. And then I would punish myself for going ‘off track’ the following day with an early morning run or an intense HIIT session. Lunch would consist of cup-a-soups and crackers to keep the calories low, and at the end of the day I would feel weak and irritable.

I hurt my foot quite badly in the first lockdown from over exercising, which meant that I couldn’t walk or do much for a few months. Anxiety ensued and I decided that I had to ditch the fitness tracker so that I wasn’t constantly reminded of how little exercise I was doing each day. I also uninstalled the food tracker from my phone, for good measure. And I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did. I was free.

Slowly my anxiety and guilt started to fade, and I was enjoying eating again. Focusing more on healthy food, how it was good for me and how it fuelled my body. Instead of agonizing about the calories in every mouthful.

It’s been about 18 months since I last tracked my exercise or food, and I can honestly say that I feel the strongest both mentally and physically than ever before. I try to eat ‘well’, and make sure I treat myself to the things that I enjoy. I no longer label food as good or bad, and I don’t exercise manically for 3 days after going out for a meal. I exercise because it makes me feel good, not to look a certain way or as penance for a slice of cake. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m full, I stop. If I want chocolate…I have it.

So, take some advice from a recovered fitness tracker. For anyone looking to get a little bit healthier, use the information as a helpful tool and remember that life is all about balance. It’s about finding a sustainable lifestyle (not a diet). And not sucking the fun out of going out for dinner with your mates.

Back to all articles