I jest, of course. I officially quit my manic tracking & over-exercising ways 25 days ago, and this is a little summary about the experience so far.
The first few days after ditching my Fitbit, retiring the scale and stopping with the calorie counting were hard – antsy, guilty and rudderless days. Not having my Fitbit on me made me feel amputated. I kept feeling for it, then realizing its absence with a pang.
I know this will sound absolutely ridiculous to someone not so afflicted, but if you’ve been devotedly keeping tabs on every movement, every bite of food for two years you somehow feel that without those controls you’ll start eating crazy amounts, gain tons of weight, lose all self-control, turn into an inert blob or something even worse.
And obviously just because I wasn’t using mechanical devices that didn’t stop my head from keeping tabs. Tabs on distance walked, calories burned, food eaten. Just not quite to the same level of detail.
Things did get better after a week or two. I’m working out of an office at the moment which also helps. Less time to “over-walk”, less time to think about this crazily trivial, yet somehow mind-consuming nonsense.
And I did lapse here or there, I confess. Not with the Fitbit; that’s still stowed away, though I still miss it. I weighed myself a couple of times and I tracked calories a couple of days, when my paranoia about putting on weight got the better of me. I also couldn’t quite stay away from the health, exercise and nutrition blogs. They’re such catnip to me.
Please don’t judge me. This stuff sounds crazy. I swear I am a sane, intelligent person. I have a master’s degree, a responsible job and a family. Nobody knows about this.
The learning so far is, you can take the trackers off your body, you can delete the spreadsheets and hide the scale. But changing your habits of your mind so that it will no longer keep tabs is a painful, long-term and perhaps futile project.
I will say though that it is getting better, if slowly. I spend a lot less time thinking or reading about the whole subject. It’s footprint in my mind has gotten smaller. And I walk enough, but not as much of it is just to rack up mileage. So I’ve got more time for other things. Next questions: what grand, adventurous, productive thing to focus on now?