I used to be addicted to my Fitbit. For almost a year, I wore that thing religiously. I worked out with it, I ate with it, I slept with it. The only time that blinking green light left the skin of my wrist was while it was on the charger and I was in the shower. I loved it. When I traveled the country for work, it encouraged me to walk through the terminal instead of sit at the gate. Or to take the stairs to my hotel room instead of the elevator (even when I was on the 16th floor in a sky rise in Atlanta). When I lived on the third floor of my apartment building, it motivated me to take on those two flights as many times in a day as I could find the reason for.
But, because it solely tracked steps, it also encouraged me to run on the treadmill instead of flow through a hot yoga class. I caught myself skipping out on strength training just to get in a few more minutes (and steps) on the elliptical. And because it tracked calories, I found myself strictly tracking my food. Always trying to make sure I afforded myself the permission to consume it.
I defined the success of my day by a count of steps on a screen. I measured my health by the amount of green bars I saw in my app at the end of the night. I let indiscriminate numbers run my life and rob my joy.
Now don’t get me wrong, an activity tracker can be an amazing tool. It can encourage accountability and consistency. And especially for people who are new to a healthy lifestyle, it can be an amazing way to introduce good habits. But, for me, it was doing the opposite. It was reinforcing my restrictive rules and promoting my sin. It was feeding my addiction. By trying to control it, it was instead controlling me. And through this I learned the single most important lesson that changed absolutely EVERYTHING for me:
| Our intentions behind our choices matter just as much as the choices themselves. |
I used to wake up at 5:00am every morning for a workout to make up for every wrong thing I ate the day before. I used to eat salads for lunch because I was trying to make room in my macro count for the chocolate I just didn’t have the willpower to stay away from. I used to take the stairs up to my hotel rooms just to hit that 10,000 step count at the end of the day.
Now I wake up every morning to sweat it out in hot yoga because it grounds me, it energizes me, and it empowers me. Now I eat salads because they fuel me with nutrients and put LIFE in my body. Now I walk on my lunch break because it feels good to soak up a little sunshine and stretch my legs in the middle of the work day.
I used to make healthy choices because I felt obliged to do so within the confines of restrictions I had set for myself. Now I still make many of those same healthy choices, but I do so because I’m chasing every day to feel better. Because I see this life and this body I’ve been given as a gift and I choose to treat it as so. Because it just feels damn good.
For me, my Fitbit represented all the wrong reasons I had for my healthy lifestyle. It represented exercise because I hated my body, not because I loved it. And it represented the world of control I subjected myself to. It literally represented the chains I bound myself in.
But I’ve found freedom. Freedom from calories and macros. From steps. From numbers at all. Freedom from constraints or controls. Freedom from obligations or compulsions. There is freedom to be found, y’all. And it’s all in intention. In defining the purpose of everything. In clarifying the motive for anything. When you free yourself from the obligation, you allow yourself the choice. And when you have a choice, you empower yourself to make the good one. The healthy one. The right one. And more importantly, for all the right reasons.
xoxo, Mollie Mason