Can you remember what you had for lunch two Thursdays ago?
Not only can I tell you exactly what I had for breakfast, lunch and dinner – I can tell you how many calories I consumed that day and how many glasses of water I drank.
In fact, pick any date from the last 30 days and I can tell you what time I went to bed, how many pounds I weighed in the morning, or what my heart rate was when I woke up. Not to mention how many steps I walked that day, or kilometers I ran, or miles that I biked. It’s all about the numbers, baby.
Now, the old school way to do this would be to have a physician, a nutritionist and a physical trainer trailing me around 24 hours a day and taking measurements and jotting down numbers in a spiral bound notebook. But my wife probably wouldn’t appreciate all those people in our bedroom. Plus, I’m a geek. I do geeky things. So instead, my daily life is measured by a Nike Fuel Band, a Garmin GPS running watch, and a bunch of useful little apps on my cellphone.
Here’s the kicker: because we live in an age of social media, I’m not doing all of this in a vacuum. There’s a competitive element to keeping track of all these numbers, and it keeps me going. I see my friend’s 10K time and I want to beat it. I notice my buddy lost 6 lbs in the last few months and I can’t help but want to do the same. It’s a great motivator.
The most noticeable effect that all this data tracking has had on me is definitely on my waistline. It made me realize just how many casual binge snacks I’ve been sneaking in after dinner. In a bit over a month of obsessively tracking my calorie intake, I’ve managed to drop a few pounds and move one size down as far as clothing is concerned.
But lest you think it’s all about tracking apps and fitness measurement gadgets and geeky graphs, it’s not. I mentioned the social aspect earlier, but it’s not just to be competitive.
It’s also the joy of going for an early morning run with buddies, and good natured teasing about each others’ calories in the subsequent post-run pancake breakfast, and swapping not just training tips but life stories, and simply knowing that however tough a goal I may have set for myself, I’m not alone in my efforts.
It’s all about numbers – and there’s strength in numbers.
Some recommended apps:
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