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Move more, sleep better and improve your overall health. But don’t make these mistakes.
Getting a fitness tracker is exciting. Now you can track everything about your health from heart rate to movement to sleep patterns and in some cases, even being able to monitor your diabetes. We love to take health to the next level with knowledge. Let it be your coach for when to workout, how hard to workout and even how to breath. Fitness trackers are meant to create awareness around your workout, eating and sleeping patterns and correct for what you notice isn’t working. Many fall into a trap.
In an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association, results suggested that wearing a monitor device does not help people lose weight; in fact it may do the opposite compared to the people in the study who did not wear a tracker. Learning from the study we can understand the shortcomings and change the behavior to better reach our goals.
Fitness Tracker Pitfalls
Mistake: By wearing a Fitness Tracker I’m doing something good for myself.
Correction: Wearing a tracking device only gives you some feedback; however, it’s what you do with the data that will make the difference. Unfortunately, it also gives some people a false sense of security or what is known as a “health halo.” For example someone might say they were just fine eating another piece of pizza because they completed 6,000 steps today. This justification is the psychological warfare you have to watch out for. Do you really need another pizza or are you just justifying the natural desire to have more? You have to put in the work in order to receive the benefits, and in this case it’s recognizing the pattern and correcting for it. It’s great that you’re wearing it and make sure you aren’t justifying desires with it.
Mistake: As long as I stay within my 2000 calories, I’ll be fine.
Correction: Counting calories doesn’t do us any favors; in fact, it may do the opposite by allowing poor food choices to be justified. Eating 2000 calories of cookies and pizza sends a different message to the body than does 2000 calories of greens and protein for example. Food is information and we need quality information in order to get good results on the outside. Get to the root of the problem by recognizing the types of foods you’re eating and not the number of calories.
Mistake: The label said its natural and organic so I can eat it.
Correction: Marketing companies are smart in learning what sells. By putting key words like organic and natural, they lure consumers into thinking it’s healthy. No-added sugar juice is still sugar but it sounds better to consumers. Organic sugar is still sugar to the body. Skip the front packaging and go right to the ingredients list. Here you will be able to see if it’s truly something that will fuel your body.
Mistake: I walked 10,000 steps today so I should lose weight.
Correction: Yes, about 10,000 steps is the recommended amount of movement for health. However, there are so many other moving parts to the equation. Make sure to put this data in perspective… great, you’ve got your movement in for the day and make sure the other boxes are checked as well. Look at sleep patterns, eating patterns, stress relief and social qualities as well. All have to do with allowing the body to lose weight just as much as 10,000 steps.
Mistake: I can’t get my heartrate over a certain number because I’ll no longer be burning fat.
Correction: Just like the food we eat, rotation and moderation count! Rotating your workouts is just as important as monitoring them. Sometimes we make the numbers mean one thing when it really has nothing to do with the bigger picture. Yes, at lower heart rates the body preferentially burns fat for fuel. At higher rates it has to switch over and make the fire hotter for the greater demand. This part is true. What isn’t taken into account is affect on the body at higher heart rates. One is the after burn… Post workout oxygen consumption is higher and for longer with high intensity workouts as the body catches up and replenishes itself. So do your body a favor and rotate your workouts to incorporate high intensity, lower and longer duration and things like yoga that are a completely different kind of workout.
Keep in mind your goals and discover where you might be justifying or not hitting the target. Use the Fitness Tracker as a discovery tool instead of a justifying tool and your goals will be closer than you think with less frustration and disappointment.