How my fitness tracker turned me against myself

Enthusiasts of quantifying maintain that paying attention to individual health data is how they achieve a state of nirvana. And these metrics can be powerful tools. For example, if someone has a chronic condition such as migraines, they can track their sleep cycles to learn that they can avoid a headache when they have, say, nine and a half hours of sleep versus their usual seven.

That’s the best-case scenario. Mine was not that. I became obsessed with quantifying myself. I thought if I could push my health metrics, that level of optimization would flow into the rest of my life, which felt inadequate at the time. I was perpetually anxious, and I teetered on the edge of another depressive episode right as I switched jobs. It didn’t help that several health issues kept me in and out of the hospital that year, fueling my anxiety about my body and well-being. All of it made me feel as if I wasn’t good enough. So, if my body was optimal, I thought, maybe everything else would be, too.

Developing a healthy relationship with fitness is vital for anyone looking to enhance their overall physical and mental well-being. But just because it’s vital doesn’t mean it’s easy.

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