Have you been getting a little obsessed with what your fitness tracker is telling you? You are not alone, as it appears that many are watching what their tracker tells them, like a hawk. There is nothing wrong with keeping tabs on how much effort you exert, as long as it isn’t taking a toll on your self-esteem. Everyone and their cousin seems to have a Fitbit, Garmin, or other device that give you all sorts of information, based on your movements. Welcoming the insight with open arms, most of us don’t have any issues with having our activity (or lack thereof) tracked and reported to us.
Things aren’t all going according to plan, as some users are finding these trackers as a source of humiliation. Body image is what you see when you look at yourself. Throw out all of the measurements and strength numbers, your image is only concerned with how you physically appear. If someone has a bad body image, they will always see areas of improvement and flaws. Even if you have two people are in perfect shape and look the same, one may think that they look flawless, while the other person will only see the negatives.
When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong
For those latter people, a tracker can start out as a friend and can turn into a hated enemy. This all occurs because someone with a low opinion of their own shape is not going to handle having every flaw reported to them, daily. Sometimes body conditions can crop up from being ridiculed in the past. Whether it was a mean name or someone pushing them too hard, a Fitbit can bring up these feelings from the past, leading some to push themselves to a borderline obsession. Over-exerting oneself, in order to appease an app is not the ideal way to stay healthy. Some are even being sent to the doctor because they overdid it, trying to meet the new daily or weekly goals, set by a fitness tracker.
I have one of these myself and love being able to have something else track everything that I do, so that I don’t have to. I would say that I have thicker skin than some, which makes being told to push myself more a comment that doesn’t bother me. I could see where others, who are suffering from physical or psychological issues to have an opposite reaction to the ongoing critiques. When people are told that they need to be doing more, then get hurt because of it, it doesn’t mean that the trackers are to blame. I don’t have any image issues, making it hard to speak for those that do, but there has got be some kind of common sense to apply here. If you’re Fitbit is telling you to run and you feel abnormal pain, don’t run! I don’t like reading about people wanting to jump out of their current workout regimen, due to what a program recommends you do. Maybe all of this is a concern that makers of these trackers should listen to. These reports remind me of what happened when the Wiifit video game was released for the Wii gaming system. This product had a scale that came with this game, in order to accurately track your weight. One big flaw with the weight tracker was that it only tracked your actual weight and not your BMI. The body mass index is a better indicator, when looking at amount of fat versus how much you weigh. It was no surprise that when I, a bulkier weightlifter, stepped onto the scale that the Wii was calling me obese. I laughed it off but I would be lying if I said that it didn’t get to me, even if just for a minute. Putting in everything that I had, to only be told that I was considered obese is not a good memory.