I think I’ve become a little bit scared of food. Well, not food so much as calories. Not only that, I think it’s sucking me into the vortex of data collecting apps.
After reading through posts of other January Blog a Day participants yesterday, I was encouraged to see a number of people working hard to get in shape and get fitter. I shared a bit of my own story last week for “Day 7: Shoes” with some really positive feedback from people I know (thanks all for the encouragement).
However, the major downside to this whole ‘get fit’ thing is that I’m finding myself glued to my phone more than ever before and it’s starting to get annoying – for me and for others.
Every meal I have, I’m looking up foods, scanning barcodes or feeling guilty about guesstimating how much I’m eating. Unless it’s something I’ve had a number of times, I can be staring at my phone or iPad for a good five minutes trying to work out how many calories I’m consuming and missing what’s going on around me.
The apps and the calorie counting is starting to take over – and it’s not good.
Especially when I’m eating with others. I really enjoy sharing meals with others, but I know I’ve missed a conversation or two because I’m entering data, or at least I’m not giving my whole attention to other people because I’m doing sums in my head.
But it’s not just about the fitness apps.
It’s something I battle with everyday. How much time do I spend staring at my phone? I’m sure I’d be surprised if I sat down and worked it out.
My phone has become my personal hub. It holds the key to my calendar, email, news, social media channels, sms, games, events, my ability to make it to the toilet in the middle of the night without walking into a door and of course my efforts to lose weight. Needless to say, my eyes are almost glued to it.
The problem comes when I can’t function without it or more to the point – when I depend on it to dictate what happens next. When a notification of a tweet comes through, it’s almost like everything needs to stop so I can check it, evaluate if it needs a response and then take action. Seconds later it buzzes again letting me know what my next task is – reply to email, call mum, remind myself to set a reminder.
In the case of these fitness apps, it’s telling me what I should/shouldn’t be eating and how much more sweat I need to pump out to burn off that donut I had for morning tea.
Right now, there’s a fine line between my phone being assistive to being prescriptive.
But I’m fighting back.
It’s almost time for some of the apps to go. While they’ve been helpful for getting me this far, they’re starting to be more of a burden than a support and I’m starting with the calorie counting.
Two simple solutions to break free of the fitness apps
Right now though, I am concerned about the calorie counting apps and letting them go. These are the two things that are really working for me right now and I hope that by maintaining these simple truths, I’ll be able uninstall the apps and simply make it part of everyday living.
1) Changing my approach to food: eating less and eat healthier
I have to say, one of the big changes to my daily diet has been cutting out bad snacks and coffee. I have to be honest and say I was hitting those Snickers bars pretty hard as they kept on taunting me with their promise of winning another of their tasty, tasty brethren. Two coffees, a Coke and a Snickers – not a good habit. It wasn’t just the snacks though, stripping back the portion sizes of my meals has been a big change. I used to eat until I was full… REALLY full… have-to-wait-a-while-before-standing full. Turns out, that’s not a great idea. By cutting out bad snacks and portion sizes, I’m already ahead.
Eating better food is just as welcome. I actually enjoy salads and fruit a lot more these days and learning to appreciate quality, fresh food over two-minute mi goreng (mmm, two-minute noooodles). Thankfully, I have a great wife who’s all about healthy eating – that support has been more than welcome
2) Changing my approach to exercise: ride for a purpose
Being able to work my exercise into transport has been essential. I ride for a reason – to get to work and to get home from work. Super simple but super effective. It means I don’t have eat into any much needed family time to exercise and it works out faster than waiting/catching the bus.
Riding three days a week gives me around 2.5 hours worth of calorie burning activity. Throw in a run or two for good measure and it’s not too hard to see that fat’s going to be burned.
On top of this, there’s a lot of great stuff happening around Adelaide at the moment encouraging people to get on their bikes.
I’m really happy with where things are at right now. I’ve hit my goal weight, meaning I’m back in the ‘healthy’ zone for my height/age. I’ve also picked up some habits I hope will stick with me.
I’ll be updating the apps for a little while longer, especially to ‘train’ myself around my food choices and I’ll probably hold onto a running app or two as I really want to get my times down as a personal achievement (I’ve never been a good runner). But in the next month or so, the plan is to be less focussed on counting calories and more focussed on enjoying the company of the people I’m eating with.
(Because January can be kinda boring.)
Put together by Lindsey and Katrina to help make January a little more exciting. There are 31 topics for 31 days. There are no rules except that your posts reflect the topic of that day
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