Recently, I became more observant of how I use gadgets and digital media. I have noticed some weird habits I have or used to have in regards to how all sorts of gadgets interfere with my understanding of my own body.
In the past couple of years, I have bought or started using devices or software of various nature which are all supposedly making my life easier or better: give me some insightful information about my body. ‘Great!’ you may say, don’t we all love some technological development? I certainly do and for this reason, I own a Fitbit, and a ‘smart’ scale and, at one point in my life, I was even tracking calories and macros with an app.
Let me start by describing how I use/used each of these things and the problem with them:
Oh my LOVELY Fitbit! (No, that’s not sarcasm. I really do adore it). It tells me about my heart rate, how well I slept, how many calories I’ve burnt, reminds me to talk short walks, and makes me feel proud of myself when I reach my 10,000 steps goals. *yay*
But why is all of this an issue? If you think about it we, as humans, did not develop with a Fitbit on our wrists. We have always had something better than that: our instinct. So shouldn’t I know by myself if I have walked, exercised, or slept well enough???? Because yes, my Fitbit app rates my sleep!!!!!! And this feature, which is relatively new, got me very excited when it was first released.
This scale gives you data on your weight, water, muscle and fat percentage, bones density, visceral fat etc etc etc. But is this information accurate? Of course not! Yet I guarantee you that most people who find out about this odd little object want to try it, get excited about it and, most importantly, obsessively scroll up and down their phones trying to understand the significance of such numbers and if it means they have a healthy body or not.
Now, once again, shouldn’t we just know if we carry so much fat to the extent it is detrimental to our health? And should strength (aka muscles) really be measured by a simple graph and a number on a phone?
Calories and macros tracking:
At one point, I used an app to track calories and macros. Why? I wanted to lose a bit of weight and I had heard about the Keto Diet and wanted to try it for myself. (It didn’t last long)
I may sound repetitive but: are these apps necessary? …by now, you probably know what I think about it. We have food cravings (most of them) for a reason!!! Thoughts like ‘I have had enough calories today but I won’t eat even if I’m still hungry’ or ‘I’ve only had 1,600 calories today, I should eat even if I don’t want to’ are nonsense. Hunger cues should be regulated by intuition, not an app. To control satiety we have the hypothalamus, leptin and other hormones I don’t know even know about. And that’s the point, I don’t really need to know any of these things to be healthy and to have them to work properly.
But even now that I have gained this consciousness, I often find myself being out of touch with my body and way too connected to whatever device I’m using (ultimately being my phone).
I’m trying to make sense of all of this, of this urgency to have access to explicit data describing information that I know is not as clear-cut and numerical as it may seem. Does having access to any type of knowledge at any time made me believe I could gain similar statistics on my body in the same straightforward way as when I google ‘how many dogs in the world’? Did or do I care about the accuracy of the information I gather about my self or is it just for the sake to have a record of what I/my body does? And why did I find such comfort through devices and apps?
I not sure about any of these questions but what I know is that despite this awareness I recently gained, my dependence on digital media goes beyond what I had initially thought.