The explosion of apps, web sites, wristbands and even utensils (well, it will at least tell you when you’re eating too fast) that will help you track your health and fitness each day can be overwhelming! Even the types of things you can track these days are out of control- it’s been labeled the ‘quantified self’. What a great phrase- it makes me think of Quantum Leap (that I used to love when I was in college!).
Anyway, the first thing you should really do before you dive in is ask yourself what problem you are trying to solve by tracking. For me, I am constantly thinking about the calories I have consumed (mainly because I have a serious sweet tooth and I seem to forget over the course of the day how much sugar I’ve already had) and my water intake (because water is life, and you should make it a habit to drink it all day long). And if you find a tool that also allows you to log your daily exercise and mood, you can start to identify patterns that may be associated with how you are treating your body.
Most people consume way more calories than their body actually needs. I’m not going to throw out a daily caloric target, because everyone is different and needs a different number of calories, but most of us eat way more than we need. Tracking your daily food intake can provide perspective on this and help you figure out if you are one of those people (I know I am!). Once you have a sense for this, it might you think twice about those cookies after dinner (because you had a tall Mocha from Bibgy for breakfast).
That said, my main challenge when it comes to health and fitness tracking is twofold:
- I’m lazy and seem to fall off the tracking wagon.
- When I fall off the food wagon, I feel it’s not worth tracking anymore because I’ve ‘failed’ for the day.
This can be a slow progression and a tool that helps you over time change the way you eat, helps you drink more water and exercise just a little bit more each day. It can only help you if you are honest about those activities (I think I’m lecturing myself here more than anyone elseJ).
So find the tool that is right for you (there are so many options out there I won’t try to compare them in this post) and start living the life that makes you feel good!