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Off Track

Well that was a nasty shock. My scales had been lying to me. And like all the best lies I was only too happy to believe them.

I’ve succumbed with the help of my main birthday present this year to the endless fascination of fitness tracking. Probably it is my stage of life but it seemed a good time to take a long hard look at how I’m managing my life and make some sensible adjustments. It seemed a good idea at time. But I should have reminded myself about various sayings about uncomfortable truths.

So the good news was that, allowing for inaccuracies these things inevitably bring with them, somethings at least are going well. Heart rate is in a nice healthy area and I’m doing more than enough exercise it seems (although possibly not the right type). But yikes, the new smart scales to go with the wristband has reduced any slightest amount of smugness that might have been brought on by the initial few days of tracking to a growing sense of things not being how they should be.

Whenever you get a new set of scales there is an opportunity for a nasty shock, and if the new scales are really that much more accurate the old ones have been underestimating my weight by several pounds… And I’m not even going to mention the dreaded body fat percentage measurement. So in a few moments, I’ve gone from a small amount of satisfaction to worrying about my BMI and thinking ‘how did it get like this?’

Not that I regret it. I’d rather know and then feel motivated to do something about it then stick my head in the sand and just let things get worse. I quite like these tracking things and ideally I’d like to be able to track other health parameters such as blood sugar and liver function, if only to be able to spot problems at an early stage and give me a chance to make the changes before they become a problem. That said, part of me wonders about the drawbacks of getting too involved with the figures. In the end, we all probably know the problems; I drink a bit too much, I’m not as careful about my fat intake as I should be, and take in too many ‘incidental’ calories, such as snacking on olives while cooking (very bad habit). Looking at the exercise I am doing, I start to see why this perhaps does not help as much as it should. Most of it fits into the cardio range which is great for my heart but not that good when I want to lose weight. Sigh. Who knew it was all so complicated? Well, I did, but it is easy to put your fingers in your ears and hum. It’ll be alright. I’ll start the healthy eating tomorrow. And that is one possible drawback of actually tracking these things. If the figures look good, then everything must be fine, right?

Maybe I am better off getting nasty shocks from the scales. The reality is that there is plenty of time for me to put things right, but it needs to be now as it will not get any easier as I get older.

So generally I am happy to have a better dataset then before to see how I’m doing – but I cannot say it is making me cheerful. I can also do without the cheery little emails from the system telling me how well I’ve ‘nailed’ today’s exercise goals, best exemplified by the one I received yesterday proudly informing me that since I signed up I have walked the same distance as the penguins in ‘March of the Penguins’. That really helps. Maybe I should go on a pilchard diet….

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