Fitness

My Fitness Pal & Other Food/Fitness Trackers Are Not Your Pal

Everyone seems to be tracking something in the health arena these days. Whether it be calories, macros, carbs, or even steps, there’s an app or device ready to use! But what we see as intending to promote health, may actually be causing our minds harm around food and our bodies. 

I used to rely on the My Fitness Pal app to track my eating and exercise. I would religiously enter in recipes I made, snacks I ate…gosh I’d even take time to manually put in recipes I created at home in order to “accurately” keep track of calories. Then I’d log in my exercise and pray that the amount I ate didn’t surpass how much I exercised and leave me with a red negative calorie allotment. 

If you’ve ever used My Fitness Pal, you know that feeling you get when you’ve gone in the negative. As much as I tried to not let it bother me, even knowing that I ate well during the day and genuinely ate when I was hungry, I still was affected by the feeling that I’d failed by “over-eating”. 

On the flip side, if I’d been super active (borderline unhealthily over-active) and still had calories to spend at the end of the day, I’d indulge just to fill that gap…even if I wasn’t hungry. 

Fitness and food trackers are just another way that culture is promoting obsessiveness with our health. They give the false notion that if we stay below a certain amount of calories per day and get in a certain number of steps each day we’ll be healthy. They keep us believing that all calories are created equal, but more-so, that we can’t trust our own bodies and minds to tell us how to eat. And with exercise, they guilt us into moving when maybe our bodies are telling us to rest.

Here’s how you be healthy without the need to track every calorie or step:

  1. Listen to your body when it’s hungry and honor it with eating.
  2. Eat foods that are satisfying (sometimes that may mean reaching for a donut, but most of the time feeding your body with nutritious foods high in protein, fiber, complex carbs, and healthy fat).
  3. Retrain yourself to move for pleasure, not obligation. 
  4. Rest when you’re fatigued. 

Your body wasn’t made to need tracking devices to be healthy. You already have “tracking devices”, in a sense, in place from birth. They’re called hormones and signals. You have hormones to let you know you’re hungry, and signals from your stomach will let your brain know you’re full. You have senses to let you know you should move more, and others to tell you it’d be best to rest. 

Listening to your own body, it’s individual needs which vary daily, is so important to having a healthy relationship with food and yourself. You don’t need a tracking app to tell you how to be healthy! 

 

 

 

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