Last week, I saw a press release from the American College of Sports Medicine of the current top 20 worldwide fitness trends. These included Group Exercise (good news for School of Strut), annoyingly HIIT Training (high intensity interval training – urgh) and Exercise for Weight Loss. (Double urgh. This point in itself is an entire blog post, but that’s for another time.)
Number one on the list was Wearable Technology. This includes fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, GPS tracking devices and gadgets which track calories, distance travelled and time sat still. with Christmas just days away, I can imagine these devices to be sat under many trees and in many stockings.
Hands up those, who have used MyFitness Pal or any other app or wearable technology to track your food intake and/or exercise output? Yup, me too! Several times over the years. Ok, now hands up, who has struggled to keep on top of it, stay up to date with inputting everything, only to feel like a failure for not being organised enough? Yup, again, moi aussi! Maybe you told yourself that you’re a useless human being, or listened to a “Fitness Guru” or “Wellness Coach” condemning you, saying that clearly you don’t want it enough: you mustn’t want your dream body badly enough – what’s wrong with you? Are you crazy?
Well thank goodness, I didn’t want my dream body badly enough to develop an eating disorder, but billions of people worldwide are not so “lucky”. The vast majority of eating disorders, whilst are not always about weight loss, they are triggered by diet mentality. The obsession with tracking calories in vs calories out, stepping on the scales daily, more than once a day can oftentimes be utterly debilitating, all consuming, devastating.
Whilst I’m not blaming FitBit, MyFitness Pal or the Apple Watch for the reason that people want to take up less space – that falls on the patriarchy and capitalism – but the invention of these things has been made inevitable by the continual messages that being or having fat is bad and must be eradicated, bit by bit, calorie by calorie, pound by pound. Let’s not also miss the irony that whilst we’re spending all that time inputting figures and activities into the technology, supposedly so that we can live healthier, longer lives, we’re literally missing out on that precious commodity, life itself!
And should your body fail to maintain a decline in body fat, it’s probably because YOU FAILED to record everything you consumed. It’s all your fault. So very clever. What a sneaky way for us all to get hooked on needing more help to fix ourselves.
Please note, if you have bought someone wearable technology that tracks input/output, or a “fitness” device of some sort, unless they ASKED FOR IT SPECIFICALLY, may I suggest getting a refund. Passive-aggressive suggestions that a loved one could do with “getting a bit fitter” don’t always go down well.
A slice of Body Shame to go with that glass of sherry?
I posted the image above on my instagram earlier today and some of the comments are heartbreaking. One lady said…
"I had a FitBit that fed into MyFitness Pal and my WeightWatchers app. I was doing all I could to get more and more exercise in daily, weighing myself up to 20 times a day and still making myself sick. Thanks, fitness apps for enabling my eating disorder."
It’s a very real problem.
If only we would stop listening to the subliminal messages of the advertisers telling us that we’re hopeless and completely unable to provide our bodies with what they need to thrive, not that thriving is on the agenda for many who say they want to get fitter (but in fact mean get thinner). If only we could remember that the benefits of gentle exercise and eating intuitively are far more helpful to our bodies than restricted and heavily monitored calories and excessive, joint damaging exercise.
If you’re in or around Bristol in between Christmas and New Year and you’d love to find out more about intuitive eating and if you’d love a jolly good strut, my good friend Helen James, founder of Nutriri, and I are running an event with a bit of dancing and bit of learning. Nutriri is a ‘not for profit’ organisation and Helen has developed a body confidence and mindful eating practice, available to ALL bodies; growing a network of weekly groups to be the compassionate alternative to slimming clubs!
It’s the perfect collaboration and it’s perfect time, right before people start pinning their opes on their resolutions. Instead, join us for our REVOLUTION.
Tickets are on sale now for “Zoe & Helen’s New Year’s Revolution“, December 29th, Clifton High School, Bristol.