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Fitness, Feedback, Fitbit

September 9, 2014 2 Comments

In the 1970’s I went to the Elaine Powers Salon to exercise. The regime included a food list sheet divided in to food groups to be filled in daily and reviewed with a staff person once a week. The exercise was self serve, and included those fat rolling machines. Once and hour there was a ten minute session in the middle of the room that anyone could join. This was a primitive, but pretty good model for monitoring diet and encouraging exercise. The consultation with the food list included a bit of physiological counseling because every time the food list was used the emotion felt at the time, the place the food was eaten, and the time of day were also recorded. The chart was divided into food groups and meals, but I don’t think there was mention of calories or fat. The discussion with the counselor was intended to draw attention to habitual patterns and possible ways to improve. The system worked well, and I am not sure why the company folded, but I copied the food lists and used them for years after they were gone.

Today the feedback does not require a sheet of paper or a staff person to review and make suggestions.  Now there is Fitbit.  We can get real time feedback about our diet and exercise habits, as well as sleep patterns from these tiny devices.  I read an article by David Sedaris recently about how the Fitbit encouraged him to move more and be adventurous (and slightly mindless in pursuit of steps).  He also told how addicted he became after his step counting became part of his life.  When his device died he lasted 5 hours before ordering a new one with express delivery.  I love his style of writing and often the stories he tells come alive and go on living and being funny in my head.  This Fitbit story has been like that.  Today I decided to order my own and see what all the fuss is.  I believe that awareness is the best way to make meaningful changes in lifestyle habits.  I know I am less active now than I want to be, but am not sure how grave the issue really is.  I will soon know exactly what is happening with calories in and calories out.  Two days from now I will join the Fitbit generation. Do you use a fitness tracking device? How does it work for you?  I think it will be fun.

Digital Personas and Delusion

August 27, 2013 4 Comments



The era of likes with mouse clicks has ushered in various forms of approval that may or may not be sincere.  Approval requires judgement and investigation.  False approval requires nothing but a click on a button.  This false world of endorse, like, share is the nightmare underlying quid pro quo SoMe relationships.  I know people on various platforms with whom I almost always agree, and others with whom I never agree.  This is not so different from daily social life.  Social clicks, clubs and groups in real life at least have the opportunity to see each other engage.  Some avatars and auto retweeters my be the social media equivalent of codependent.  They thrive on false acceptance and deliver the same to others.  They both spend and accept the fake currency of unfounded and insincere mutual praise.

Experience teaches us how to avoid being spammed or interrupted by endless chatter as we learn the ropes in social media.  I openly joke around with my social media image, freely admitting I edit out any content unflattering to me.  Everyone does; nobody uses a personal platform to highlight the worst in themselves.  In the past mad men produced media to sell to consumers.  Today we are all both the consumer and the media producers.  Much ado has been made about the commercial value of this new influence horizon.  I agree that consumers benefit form the vast array of information available to them today.  The social influence and digital bonds of personal branding may be insidiously damaging as well as lucrative.

The unintended consequences of the digital edited public persona create havoc with the self image and the soul.  Being fully present in a community or personal relationship is a high standard to keep.  Making basic decisions today about budgeting time and resources is generally stressful.  Conscious deliberate action will make the difference between finding a happy medium and wasting precious time creating delusions.  It is a brave new world. Caveat emptor.

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