I've had several conversations this week revolving around a common theme, one that is far too pervasive in the world of health and wellness. This trend is touted as common wisdom, but it actually sets us up for more harm than good in the long run.
Let's be honest; we've all fallen prey to measuring our health by the numbers...pounds lost or gained, cholesterol, steps taken, calories counted.
Part of the problem is that numbers are so easy to keep track of. We have Fitbits counting our every step, scales keeping track of every ounce, and endless apps quantifying each calorie in and out. But do we really want to go the rest of our lives living by the numbers? Can we afford to feel guilty each time we miss 10,000 steps or eat 100 "extra" calories?
Simply put: numbers are great for robots. Inputs and outputs balance out quite nicely. But humans are a bit more (wonderfully) complex. Everything from hydration, to sleep, to stress can influence the quality of each of these quantifications. A calorie is not a calorie. An ounce is not an ounce. There's so much variability in this beautiful system of the body that we can't keep track of every number. We can't even skim the surface. What we can do is track those things that don't lend themselves to measurement; if you've trained with me, you know them as our "extracurriculars". These tend to be the more important things: how well did we sleep? Are we regular? Do we fulfill our--ahem--primal bedroom duties?
These qualitative measurements are infinitely more beneficial in the long run. The reason? They're immediate, tremendously human measurements of real-world health. They're things you can track without strapping gadgets to yourself or going in for complicated tests.
So here's my challenge for you: unplug for a week. Don't track your calories, your reps, your steps, or your pounds. Instead take stock of those extracurriculars each day. Keep a small journal. Are you rested, regular, and randy? If not, it really doesn't matter how good your numbers are. Numbers aren't human. Health is.
(P.S. While you unplug, ditch the treadmills and machines. Start building real-world strength and mobility with a complimentary consultation.)