Activity Tracking - More than a device
Monday, September 30, 2013
Spark Activity Tracker
No one likes to hear that they are doing less than what they believed. But so far, that is my experience with the Spark Activity Tracker in comparison to using FitBit.
Having your expectations challenged is a shock; I certainly don't want someone or something to say: "You're not really working as hard as you think." Rather than take it personally, I realize that I have to "get over it"; I have to recognize that the Spark Activity Tracker is the new baseline of what I am doing day-to-day. So get used to it.
I find wearing the Spark Activity Tracker to be easy; once I clip it on, it stays, and there is no problem. There are several movement classes that I do for which it is not suitable to wear. When I take it off, I make certain to have a zippered pouch available so that all of my small belongings stay together.
The problems I am having with the tracking page are just growing pains, I think. People who use the Spark Activity Tracker will love the integration with SparkPeople.
There are some fundamental, basic questions about one's attitude to tracking. I have mainly positive experiences with the movement that I initiate with myself. I am at the stage that, if I don't go as far, as fast, or as long as I had anticipated, it's no big deal.. it is what it is. That wasn't always the case. Now food tracking, that is a very, very big deal. There are the mixed emotions of love and attention contrasted with poor nutritional information; the disappointment of making a "healthy" recipe that doesn't taste or look good after the 2nd of 8 servings -- these failures, really just new experiences of independent decision making, are part of the Edison experience, the multiple mistakes leading to the practices that bring us comfort and familiarity. Yes, it has taken many experiences of doubt to produce the positive take aways I now have with food. Grab and go meals, prepared one or two days earlier, "work" for me. I have a few food strategies that work -- right now, food tracking is not an overall strategy that I connect with.
In contrast, the fitness side of lifestyle is one that I have taken charge of for myself. It is that activity that makes me feel OK, even with twinges of discomfort. I treat myself with the attitude of an athlete, but without the pressure of personal bests and specific competition deadlines. Because I feel at home with movement, even though people around me say that new movement patterns don't come naturally to me, I am always prepared to experiment with new ways to track it.
Why use any activity tracker?
There are many ways to consider your lifestyle progress. Some people use clothing size. Others are happy to be able to comfortably sit. To walk in freedom from discomfort is yet another sign of progress. I like seeing numbers - miles moved; calories burned - and I trust that an activity tracker will allow me to see those trends so that I can use that information along with clothing size, eating patterns and intentional activity (planned "workouts") to make plans for the future. I still am at the stage that I ask myself: "Can you afford to eat _____ ?" And if the numbers don't look good, I probably will put on my breastplate mental body armour and say: "No, not today."
Using an activity tracker is less expensive than using certain professional testing clinics. As I don't have medical reasons for those testing services, I want access to the information only for curiosity, and to keep my mind on sustaining the movement patterns that placate food appetite.
I have changed types of activities due to changes of priorities in personal and public life; an activity tracker helps me to see "the big picture" for judging the impact of the intensity of these substitutions in activity.
So for me, using some kind of activity tracker, whether anecdotal or electronic with an online account over time, will be a permanent part of maintaining the balanced lifestyle I want to sustain.