bowl with yummy colorful gummies on table

Losing Control around Halloween Candy

There is currently a video going around on social media showing a woman creating a cute Halloween candy display in a large glass bowl. But that’s not the part that has been raising eyebrows. At the end of the video, she nonchalantly sprays hair spray all over the candy and the caption reads “so you don’t eat all the candy.”

Responses have been mixed, with some commenting that it’s funny or even a good idea. Others have been commenting that there is something wrong if you are spraying toxic inedible chemicals on food to avoid eating it. Here is my take.

When I first saw this video, it immediately harkened back to a practice that some individuals with eating disorders resort to: they in some way “ruin” their food so they can’t continue to eat it. Indeed, when I was in the peak of my disordered eating habits in college, I would routinely dump a shaker of pepper onto what was left on my dinner plate so I wouldn’t eat it while waiting for my friends to finish up. This is a very problematic and disordered practice and the woman in this video is promoting it like it’s the next greatest idea. So that is issue #1.

This video also prompts the question: why are you feeling that out of control around Halloween candy? As an anti-diet nutrition coach, I can answer this one. Deprivation and restriction are the top causes of binging and overeating. In other words, the foods that you feel the least in control around are the foods you allow yourself to consume the least. You may also have thoughts about those foods along the lines of: “I can’t trust myself around that food,” “it’s my weakness,” “it’s my guilty pleasure,” or “I’m being bad when I eat that.” And if you believe these things, of course you’re going to avoid certain foods!

The urge to binge or overeat when we are around foods we seldom allow ourselves to consume is a normal human response to deprivation. It’s not always conscious, but it is both a mental and physical response. When we do engage in these behaviors, it’s referred to as “last supper eating” because we tend to consume a food as though it’s the last time we will have it. And, indeed, it can feel that way because we truly don’t know when we will allow ourselves to have it again.

So what is the antidote for this?

In order to break this cycle of restriction and overeating, we must put those “trigger foods” on the same level as every other food we eat. Take the novelty out of them. Take the guilt and shame out of them. We do this by giving ourselves unconditional permission to eat them.

This unconditional permission does a few things:

  1. It removes the novelty from them and with that novelty goes the allure.
  2. It provides the reassurance to us that we can have those foods whenever we want, so we don’t need to overindulge as though we won’t have them again.
  3. Even if you at first overindulge in these foods once you give yourself permission to eat them, it will eventually level out and they will just become “normal” foods once that initial excitement wears off.

So, if you thought spraying hair spray onto your Halloween candy to prevent yourself from eating it was an appealing strategy, it’s probably because you rarely allow yourself candy or sweets to begin with. You may want to consider making candy a more run-of-the-mill presence in your life and see how that changes your relationship with it. And, from a nutritional perspective, this coach can assure you that having some candy from time to time or even a small piece of candy every day is perfectly fine. There is room in every healthy diet for some fun foods. And, having those fun foods regularly, makes your healthy eating habits more sustainable in the long-term.

people woman relaxation laptop

Employee Burnout Doesn’t Happen in a Vacuum

Employee burnout is a hot topic right now, as it very well should be. A July 2021 survey by The Hartford found that 55% of US employees reported feeling always burned out while 16% said they often feel burned out. And study after study has shown that levels of burnout in the American workforce are all-time highs with no signs of dropping. We also know that burnout is one of the factors fueling our current Great Resignation in which employees are leaving their jobs in droves.

At this point in time, if you are an employer or manager who does not realize that employee burnout is a very real issue, something is wrong. Whether employee burnout is real isn’t the question. Rather, the question is: what do we do about it?

As a wellness provider and an employee wellness program provider, specifically, I can say with confidence that employee burnout does not happen in a vacuum. It’s not an isolated incident and it is not the sole responsibility of the employee. The employee does not choose to wallow in stress and burn out. Management plays a critical and massive role in both creating and preventing burnout. So a few webinars on self-care and stress management for employees simply will not cut it.

What Causes Employee Burnout?

A number of factors contribute to employee burnout, but at its most basic burnout occurs when the burden is too great and the outlets too little. Or, as Emily and Amelia Nagoski explained in their 2019 Book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Code, burnout occurs when we become stuck in between our stress response and stress resolution. Something must happen to break us out of that jail and resolve that stress response.

So what gets us stuck?

Causes of employee burnout often have little to do with the employees themselves:

  • Having too great a workload and/or too few resources to deal with it
  • High-conflict work environments/lack of community in the workplace
  • A lack of trust or recognition from supervisors
  • Ineffective or poor management
  • Unclear roles

These are issues that management is responsible for. These are not issues that employees can address or fix. And no amount of meditation or nature walks will remedy them.

Related to these contributors to burnout are factors such as:

  • lack of social support
  • lack of boundaries between work and home life, and
  • poor stress management

What Can Management Do?

Giving employees tools to manage their stress is important – I should know, since I provide those webinars. But it cannot end there. Management must demonstrate to their employees that they are supported and their well-being matters. In this day and age, if an employee doesn’t believe that to be the case, they are walking out the door.

It Starts with You

As a manager, you can model behavior to help mitigate burnout. For example, implement boundaries between work and home life for yourself and adhere to them. Don’t keep it a secret when you take a mental health day or do some type of self-care. Make sure your employees know that you do these things. This demonstrates that it is acceptable for them to do the same. Then, take it a step further and make expectations for employee availability explicit. If you don’t expect them to answer emails at 9 o’clock at night, tell them that…and make sure you’re not emailing them at 9 pm either. This creates a company culture in which caring for your well-being is not only accepted but expected.

But modeling these behaviors isn’t helpful if you aren’t creating an environment conducive to employees utilizing those behaviors as well. As a manager, you need to have open and honest conversations with your employees, even the quiet ones. You need to check in with the regularly. You should know what their workloads are like and whether they are properly resourced for them. You should how they’re feeling. And you MUST be able to offer flexibility to support them. That can mean redistributing the workload, sitting down with them to help them prioritize, reallocating resources to them, etc. It also means that you need to be aware if and when you needlessly contribute to that workload through unnecessary or drawn-out meetings, micromanaging, excessive email or phone communication, etc. And you must reel that in when it happens.

As a manager, it’s critical that you always have your finger on the pulse of your workforce so that you can see the early signs of burnout and take action to mitigate it as best as possible.

color colour fitness health

5 Tips to Help You Start Exercising

To start exercising regularly when you aren’t used to it can be a challenge. Where should I start? What should I do? What if I’m not motivated? Depending on the day of the week, there is a new headline out touting the superior benefits of one style of exercise over another. But here’s the thing, it’s not supposed to be that complicated. Very simply, our bodies are made to move. Here are a few tips to help you start exercising.

1. Start simply

Start by just trying to move more each day. Increasing your daily movement can boost your energy levels as well as your motivation and confidence. Plus, it’s good for you! This can look like choosing the stairs over the elevator or taking a short walk on your lunch break. While fitness trackers can be problematic if you live and die by them, aiming for that 10,000 steps per day, can be a simple way to make sure you’re moving more.

2. Go with what you like

What happens if you try to force yourself to do something you hate? Chances are you will find every excuse in the book not to do that thing. One of the best ways to ensure your success when you start exercising is to start with something you think or know you will enjoy. For example, if you know you like to dance, try a Zumba class or barre. If you know you hate cardio, start with strength training. If you like it, you are more likely to do it.

3. Don’t rely on motivation to start exercising

woman stretching on ground
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

One of the most common pitfalls I see is when folks assume that motivation is a force that just materializes out of nowhere or it doesn’t. Waiting for motivation to spontaneously strike is a recipe for failure because it just doesn’t work that way. Very often, a little bit of action must precede motivation. For example, have you ever noticed how sometimes getting yourself to the gym is the hardest part but then once you’re there and moving, you’re fine? That’s a great example of how pushing yourself through a little action (getting yourself to the gym and starting) helps create motivation to continue. Not sure if you’re up for a run? Trying lacing up those sneakers and walking for a bit. Not feeling the idea of lifting today? Try doing some stretches or yoga first.

4. Accountability

Peer pressure can be a very effective tool! Well, maybe it’s not peer pressure. But having the accountability of a gym buddy or workout partner can be very helpful when you start exercising.

5. Don’t go crazy

The quickest way to sabotage your fitness goals is to do too much too soon. This could mean setting overly ambitious goals so that you become discouraged when you can’t meet them. Or it could look like pushing too hard and getting injured. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day and muscles aren’t either! Take your time, listen to your body, and go easy on yourself.

sliced green fruits

Wellness Industry Red Flags – Buzzwords to Watch For

It can be hard to tell what is a waste of money in the wellness industry, but there are certain red flag words you can watch out for to avoid getting scammed. You can find scams in pretty much any industry, but the wellness industry has the advantage of being able to use sciencey-sounding words to convince you a product or program is legitimate. That combined with capitalizing on people’s insecurities and health goals, creates some pretty tantalizing offers. Here are some common wellness industry red flags you can watch out for to clue you in that an offer is bogus.

Toxin/Toxin-Free

Toxins are a huge buzzword in the wellness industry, playing on our fears and the average person’s lack of knowledge about chemistry, biology, and manufacturing. The “natural is best” argument makes sense on its face, but just because something is manufactured or lab-made, doesn’t make it unsafe. The wellness industry would have you believe that we are constantly being bombarded with massive loads of chemicals that do everything from make us gain weight to cause infertility. But there is little to no scientific evidence behind those claims. These companies also neglect to mention that plenty of natural solutions can actually be toxic, so natural is not necessarily safer.

Bottom Line: You don’t have to pay $47 for a toxin-free shampoo and the claims these all-natural companies make are unfounded.

(if you want to learn more about chemicals, particularly in food products, check out @FoodScienceBabe)

Cleanse/Detox

Similar to “toxin,” marketing of cleanses and detox programs rely on consumer fear and distrust to convince us that we need these products to cleanse our bodies and optimize our health. But here’s the thing: our bodies are already equipped with a top-of-the-line detoxing system, our liver and kidneys. Our bodies simply don’t store up all of the toxins we’re exposed to and we don’t need any special products or programs to rid our bodies of them. Our bodies already do that.

Bottom Line: Save your money and skip the cleanses and detoxes.

Superfood

Repeat after me: there is no such thing as a superfood. “Superfood” is literally a made up marketing term designed to play up the supposed nutritional superiority of a food to sell more of it. Off the top of my head, blueberries, kale, acai, and cauliflower have each had their turn as superfood of the year. But the nutritional value of these fruits and veggies is no greater than any other produce. All fruits and veggies are good for you, but none of them are going to magically cure any ailments or upgrade your biomarkers overnight.

I see this term used most often to market over priced protein powders, mostly from MLM companies. They’re just another shake. There’s nothing super about them.

Bottom Line: Superfoods do not have super powers.

(For more reading on diet industry shenanigans, check out Food Isn’t Medicine by Dr. Joshua Wolrich)

Limited Time Only/Limited Edition Flavor

This is another one MLM companies LOVE to rely on. They fabricate a product shortage to create FOMO and convince you that you just have to seize this opportunity because you can’t live without X wellness product. This is a huge red flag that the product is not worth it. You shouldn’t have to fake a shortage to convince people to buy your product if it’s really a good product.

Bottom Line: Short of an actual prescription medication used to treat a specific condition, there is no wellness product you truly can’t live without.

Bonus Phrases!

Here are a couple bonus wellness industry red flags to clue you into possible scams.

Boosters

Anything that promises to boost your immune system or boost your metabolism, etc. is a scam. It’s just not a thing – 0 science behind this.

Spot Reducing Fat

Any product or program that promises you will lose weight (specifically fat) in a specific area is selling you on lies. You cannot spot reduce body fat – whether it’s with a supplement or doing those weird air humping videos on TikTok. If you want to reduce fat in your belly area, you have to reduce fat in your body overall. You can’t just target one area – that’s just not how our bodies work.

Rapid Weight Loss

Any product or program that promises you can lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time is a HUGE red flag. First, you can expect that any weight loss from such programs/products will not last. Secondly, they could be relying on unhealthy means to get you there. Third, the means they do use will without a doubt not be sustainable in the long term. A reasonable rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, for reference.

photo of people having dinner together

What to do when you overdo it

Feeling like you overate can be a really crummy feeling, but the tactics we tend to turn to in those instances typically aren’t helpful options. Skipping meals to compensate, overexercising, only eating certain foods – these tactics don’t work and promote unhealthy habits. Fact: you can’t “compensate” for overeating. So what should you do when this happens?

First, let go of trying to compensate for overeating. This simply is not how our bodies work. Your body has already digested and dealt with that food accordingly. It is not sitting in a reserve tank to be emptied and you can’t create a void in your body for that food to take up by creating a calorie deficit the next day. Furthermore, even if you do successfully undereat or overexercise the next day, your body will adjust for that accordingly. You may or may not notice it, but 2-3 days later you will be much hungrier than usual and eat more. Remember, our bodies evolved to keep us alive through periods of starvation. Finally, we don’t get to pick and choose what gets burned and what doesn’t.

Second, be realistic and take it easy on yourself. One day of overdoing it isn’t going to make a difference. One weekend of overdoing also probably won’t make a significant difference. You won’t gain 10 pounds overnight and you won’t “undo” any progress you’ve made. Something else to note, when I work with clients who feel like they went way overboard with their eating, very often when we actually map out what they ate, it’s not as much as they thought.

Third, still practice those healthy habits you’ve been working on. Remember, there is no proverbial wagon to fall off of, no proverbial train to derail. Every day is a new opportunity to pursue your goals and those 4 margaritas didn’t “ruin” that opportunity. So carry right on with eating in balance. Move your body. Drink plenty of water. Listen to your body.

If you want to avoid overdoing it the future, keep in mind the main reason why we engage in overeating is deprivation. When we don’t allow ourselves to eat certain things, when we dub certain foods “bad,” we give those foods all of our power. It’s human nature to respond to deprivation this way. The best way to make sure these overindulgence episodes happen rarely, is to give yourself permission to the eat the foods you want to eat when you want to eat them. Yes, absolutely, practice balance and make sure you’re also eating lots of veggies. But, chocolate cake doesn’t only have to happen on your birthday. Mashed potatoes and gravy don’t only have to happen on Thanksgiving. When we only let ourselves enjoy these foods once a year, that’s when we get into issues with last supper eating.

photo of people having dinner together
Trying to compensate for overeating is not the answer. Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

flat lay photography of vegetable salad on plate

You don’t need a meal plan. Here’s Why

It may seem like it’s the solution you need, but a meal plan probably won’t be very helpful…not in the long-term anyway.

Here’s the thing about a meal plan: it tells you what to eat and when but what happens when you’re not longer on it? What if you can’t afford to continue having someone write them for you? Or your nutritionist moves on? Or whatever program you’re doing ends?

You will probably resume the same eating habits you were accustomed to previously. And that is not your fault.

You see, a meal plan is really no different than a diet in that it forces you to overhaul all of your eating habits at once without teaching you any skills or helping you gain insight into your eating habits. The result? It’s not sustainable.

So if you are hoping to change your eating habits in the long-term, a meal plan is not the answer. In fact, unless you’re just looking for someone to plan your menu for you because you’re tapped out in terms of energy, creativity, and brain power, I don’t recommend them.

So what is more effective? Work with someone who can:

  • teach you how to compose a balanced meal and how to snack to keep you energized throughout the day
  • coach you in setting reasonable meal planning and prep goals
  • help you develop the skills you need to meal plan effectively
  • coach you in working through obstacles that may disrupt your meal plan

The difference is that skills continue on. They’re translatable. Meal plans are a one-time fix. So you’ll get way more “bang for your buck,” so to speak, focusing on picking up skills and strategy rather than having it done for you.

So before you seek out meal planning services from someone, ask yourself what your goals are and what you are hoping to get out of it. If your goals are more focused on long-term eating habits, that meal plan probably isn’t the best solution.

If you’re interested in learning how to make healthy eating work in your busy life, give me a shout.

woman seated at computer

About Your Work From Home Space…

What does your work from home space look like? One of the most common issues that I hear from employees now working from home is that they very often feel like they’re living at work rather than working from home. This can significantly impact their stress levels in negative ways, leading to burnout and even physical ailments. Luckily, there is something you can do today to start to improve this situation.

Work Space vs Living Space

I’m sure you are familiar with the saying “your home is your castle.” Home is supposed to be your safe space, the place where you relax, recover, unwind. But when we are working in those living spaces, they lose that relaxing feel.

Ideally, you should have a workspace that is separate from your living space and the two do not cross. However, this is not possible for many of us, in which case, we need to get a little creative to separate the two.

The Bedroom is not a Work from Home Space

First and foremost, your workspace should not be your bedroom. If your home is your castle, then your bedroom is the keep – the strongest most protected part. This is your most important rest space. When you start working in your bedroom, or worse, in your bed, you stop associating that space with rest and start associating it with work and all of the stress and anxiety that may go with it. This translates into poor sleep, low energy, higher stress levels, and more. Once that association is created, it’s difficult to change it back.

Working in Your Living Space

Crossing the bedroom off your list may leave you with your kitchen, dining room, or living room as your shared work and living space. In this situation, you can set the scene for your work day versus your non-work hours in order to create some separation.

Setting Up Your Work from Home Space

When it is time for you to work, set that space up to resemble work. Set all your work materials up nearby. If you have some things from your desk in the office, like a certain mug full of pens, setting those out is helpful. Next, remove as many distractions unique to your home as you can (by turning off the TV, for example). Finally, try to create a work routine. This could mean getting up at the same time every day, actually preparing a lunch for yourself for later, or setting a schedule for checking email, etc. Taking these steps will help mimic a routine workday at the office and put you in a work mindset, making you more focused and productive.

Setting Up Your Living Space

Once your work day is up, it’s time to convert that work space back to a living space. Put away everything that you used to create your working space in the morning. As long as those items are in view, you will find it more difficult to “switch off.” Plus, if your laptop is away, it will be a lot harder to answer emails at 8 pm! If possible, replace some of those work items with “homie” items – whether they be scented candles, family pictures, etc. Creating a routine can play an important role here as well. Set a hard stop time at the end of the day and create a ritual to mark the transition from work time to home time. For example, take a walk around the block every day at the end of the day to mimic your old home commute. Taking each of these steps will help transition you back into your home mindset so you will be better able to relax, switch off, and unwind.

Many of us have found working from home far more stressful and challenging then we could have imagined. While this may be our reality for a while, there are, fortunately, little tricks we can use to help mitigate that stress.

Since work from home is our new normal, many employers have started offering wellness webinars to support their employees from home. Be sure to check out Well & Simple’s employee wellness offerings to help support your workforce!

The Case against Employee “Wellness” Challenges

Employee wellness challenges are very popular corporate programs – from walking challenges to weight loss challenges. But these challenges actually come with a number of issues which can make them more of a problem than a solution.

1. Change is temporary

One of the big drawbacks of these challenges is that they are not effective in creating any lasting changes in employee behaviors. Typically, employees will engage in a given healthy behavior for the duration of the challenge but fall off as soon as it’s over (if they make it that far). This is because the challenge prize is an extrinsic motivator rather than an intrinsic motivator. Extrinsic motivators are simply not as potent as internally-driven motivators. If one of the goals of your wellness program is to change employee behaviors in the long-term in meaningful ways that will improve their health, challenges will not achieve that.

2. Workplace wellness challenges don’t teach skills and strategies

Another reason why change does not last following these challenges is that they don’t provide employees with the skills and tools they need to implement the challenge objectives in a meaningful way. Instead, left to their own devices, employees will find a strategy that works for the time being, typically forcing the habit. Strategies are hodge-podge and not sustainable rather than accounting their day-to-day reality in the long-term. A more effective way to impact employee health is to focus on habit-building programs.

3. Challenges can be triggering and stigmatizing

For someone struggling with or in recovery from an eating disorder or disordered eating, weight loss and fitness challenges can be triggering for them. This puts their recovery in jeopardy and can result in their sliding back into disordered behaviors. These challenges are also inherently fatphobic, equating weight with health and overlooking the fact that there is more to someone’s weight than eating and exercise habits. Employees in larger bodies may feel singled out or unduly pressured in the course of these challenges. Indeed, according to Aubrey Gordon, weight-focused programs in particular may compound inequities amongst employees. If you want to foster a safe, inclusive work environment, then it is best to avoid these wellness challenges.

4. Success tactics may not be healthy

When there is the promise of a prize and the challenge is short-term, some employees may resort to tactics that are not healthful for the sake of winning. Obviously, employing unhealthy tactics undermines the intent of the challenge and can create other issues for employee health. So is it worth the risk? (The answer is “no).

So what should you offer if employee wellness programs aren’t effective?

An effective employee wellness program must take into account the unique needs of your staff. When is your most difficult season? What are their major stressors? What are their biggest health concerns (if you know of any)? It must be educational as well as practical and motivational. It should teach appropriate skills and strategies and leave employees with doable action items. There should also be some variety in the program to appeal to different learning styles: some webinars, some demonstrations, some interactive and hands-on options. Above all, your employees need to feel that it is a program that truly has their best interests at heart.

Be sure to check out Well & Simple’s comprehensive employee wellness offerings

You Aren’t Addicted to Food

Many of us believe that we are addicted to food. It explains away binges, obsessive thoughts about certain foods, our inability to say no when temptations are around. But the truth is that food addiction is a lie. We are not and cannot become addicted to food. What we can do, though, is respond to deprivation and restriction in ways that feel to us like addiction.

The basis for essentially every diet out there is deprivation – whether we are talking calories or carbs or meal frequency. This seems harsh to say, but the facts are that: adults need more than 1200 calories a day, our bodies need carbohydrates for energy, and our bodies tell us we’re hungry because they need food. When we choose to deny ourselves and our bodies the things they need, our bodies will react.

We often chalk up our fixation on certain foods to being addicted to food, but deprivation is actually the key.
We often chalk up our fixation on certain foods to being addicted to food, but deprivation is actually the key.

Our bodies have very distinct, powerful physiological and psychological responses to that kind of deprivation. On the physiological side, we have the compulsion to seek out food. We have cravings for foods. We have hunger pangs and consequences like lean mass loss. On the psychological side, we want those forbidden foods even more. We think about them frequently. We might even dream about them!

And what happens when we are finally faced with those forbidden foods? We overeat, feel out of control. In some cases, we binge. And the message that we too often take from that experience is that it’s proof that we can’t be trusted. That we have no self-control or will power. That we must be addicted to food. When in actuality, we aren’t addicted to food; we’re just having a normal human reaction to being denied the things we need and want. But the diet industry relies on us believing that we are the issue and not the restrictive diet plans in order to make money because, if we realized the diets were the problem, we would stop doing them.

Now, some will point to the fact that there is a dopamine reaction in our brain in response to food and that we can see this response in our brain when we take certain drugs as evidence of food addiction. But, dopamine is simply our feel-good chemical. In fact, there is a dopamine response to exercise, socializing, and to music, but we don’t talk about addictions to those like we talk about addictions to food, do we?

Studies have shown that unrestricted access to “forbidden” foods actually results in the end of binging on those foods. And studies that purport to show evidence of food addiction, actually seem more to indicate a response to deprivation when you really look at them (plus they haven’t been done in humans). So, while it may feel like you are addicted to certain foods or to food in general, it’s much more likely that you’re actually responding to deprivation. I suggest taking a look at your eating habits and your diet history to see, do you have a history of dieting and restrictive behaviors? Have you ever designated the foods you think you are addicted to as forbidden and off-limits? Have you ever tried to just let yourself have those foods?

The Trouble with Fitness Trackers

These days it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have some type of wearable fitness tracker. You probably have one yourself. I have one – it’s on the floor between my bed and nightstand where it’s been gathering dust for months. Oops. From the Apple Watch to the Fitbit, these things are everywhere, but are these fitness trackers as beneficial as they seem?

Accuracy and Arbitrariness

The first issue with these trackers is that many of the goals they set for you are completely arbitrary. The goal of 10,000 steps, for example, is not some magic number that was arrived at after decades of scientific studies. It actually came from an ad campaign for a Japanese pedometer in the 1960s. And, while there are some studies that show it is beneficial to walk 10,000 steps a day, those studies also show that ANY amount of exercise is beneficial. So you need not beat yourself up if you come up short of your 10,000 step goal. Also, because any exercise is beneficial, you don’t need to worry about 10,000 steps PLUS your fitness class. You can do one or the other and still reap benefits.

Looking at the other possible goals a fitness tracker may set for you, keep in mind that these are not tailored to you, even if you enter your biometrics into their app. These are numbers based on general populations data. So those goals may not be right for you specifically.

When it comes to tracking those arbitrary goals, these devices vary widely in how accurate they are. For those of us who have a tendency towards obsessiveness or perfectionism, this could lead us to push ourselves too much for the sake of reaching that goal. Then there is the feeling of disappointment or defeat if you fail to reach your tracker goal as well. So it’s very important not to place too much stock in those numbers.

Tracking of Other Metrics

The newest fitness trackers can also track metrics like sleep and blood pressure, which may be very appealing to those who struggle in those areas. However, some evidence shows that these trackers could actually create or exacerbate issues in those areas just by tracking them because the tracking creates an anxiety there. Think about it, it’s hard to sleep if you’re worrying about getting enough sleep. Likewise, stressing about your blood pressure could impact your blood pressure.

The Slippery Slope

My major concern with wearables is how easy it can be for an otherwise healthy habit to turn into something destructive. Just as dieting can turn into eating disorders, fitness tracking can become disordered as well, leading to injury and health issues. We live in a culture where how little you ate, how much you exercised, and how much weight you lost are worn as badges of honor without regard to the toxic impacts that paradigm can have.

Fitness trackers can be a good source of motivation and can help show you (some of) the progress you’ve made. But they have significant limitations and drawbacks. If you’re wondering if fitness trackers are beneficial, make sure you consider these points.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a medical doctor and that none of the above information is to be construed as medical advice.