We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together: My Fitness Watch Breakup

fitness watch break

fitness watch break

(please note that the apparel in these photos was provided to me by Brooks Running as an official ambassador, but I truly love everything I promote!)

I started wearing a fitness tracking watch in the summer of 2016 when I first committed to recovering from my disordered eating and exercise addiction. That seems backwards, I know, but my sports nutritionist thought it was important for me to truly have a visual of how many calories I was burning every day. It was easy for me to play mind games and trick myself into thinking I wasn’t actually burning that many, that I probably wasn’t as active as my constantly aching body was telling me I was. Getting my fitness watch was a HUGE wakeup call for me and it helped push me in the right direction. I finally had set-in-stone numbers screaming at me, telling me to fuel my body more (like way more).

fitness watch break

fitness watch break

(Besides ignoring numbers, a huge thing for me in my workouts that helps me feel GOOD during them is wearing clothes I feel comfortable and confident in. I've been loving these Brooks Running greenlight capris, Launch 5 shoes and especially this fastforward bra! They're the only capris that NEVER slip down when I workout and these shoes feel like a cloud. And the bra? Cute and functional!)

Even after recovering I kept wearing my watch because by that point it had become a habit and it felt like a necessary part of being passionate about fitness. I liked seeing how many steps I was taking, I liked timing my lifts and checking my heartrate during them and it was especially helpful for tracking my runs. I would take little breaks from it here and there but started wearing it religiously again when I was training for the marathon. I needed to keep track of my mileage (obviously), but also my daily caloric burn so that I could ensure I was eating enough to properly refuel. I don’t count calories or macros, but I’ve gotten really good at being able to eyeball how much I’m eating and it was a LIFE SAVER because I couldn’t have even fathomed how much I was burning every day without my trusty watch.

fitness watch break

fitness watch break

But, guess what? I’ve officially broken up with my fitness watch.

And in the words of Taylor Swift – we are never ever getting back together.

Okay, maybe we’ll have a fling when I run another marathon one day, so I shouldn’t say never ever, but as of right now, that’s what I’m feeling.

Here’s the dirty deets on how the breakup went down - I forgot to wear it for a few days during Jan Term because it was charging and I realized how liberating it was to not workout with it on. I also realized how nice it was to go about my day without being constantly barraged with numbers. I had no concept of how many steps I had gotten in, I wasn’t being told to get up and move in the middle of class (which would always stress me out) and I felt like my lifts were better than ever because I wasn’t relying on numbers telling me if it had been good or not. There would be days that I felt like my workout was amazing, but then I’d notice my heartrate hadn’t been as high or I hadn’t burned as many calories as normal and second guess it, thinking, “maybe my workout hadn’t been so good after-all.” Now, I am able to truly listen to my body after each workout to see how it went, rather than rely on external forces telling me how it went.

If not wearing a fitness watch seems nerve-wracking or foreign to you, I’ve been there. It felt weird the first couple of weeks when I fully decided to stop wearing it for an extended period of time. My wrist felt a little naked and it simply felt unnatural. I would catch myself going to mindlessly check the numbers, only to realize it wasn’t on. It made me think – how often had I been checking that dang thing?!

fitness watch break

fitness watch break

As mentioned above, I also struggled with feeling like wearing a fitness watch was something I had to do if I loved fitness as much as I do. That wearing a fitness watch was like a right of passage. It meant I was committed to my health and fitness. It meant I was more “legit” in the gym.

Well guess what? All of those thoughts are a lie and are simply constructed by society. Society feeds us a one-size-fits-all image of what fitness is, when in reality fitness has nothing to do with how you look. Fitness isn’t the fancy lululemon gear or Nikes you wear, it isn’t the fancy gym bag full of even fancier water bottles and yoga mats and it definitely isn’t the expensive watch on your wrist.

Fitness is about doing something good for your body. It’s about feeling strong and setting goals. It’s about showing gratitude for an able body. It’s about staying healthy mentally and physically. It’s about me-time and good music and clearing my head in the early morning.

fitness watch break

fitness watch break

But it isn’t about the numbers, at least not for me.

See here’s the issue, we live in a society where so much of our confidence comes from numbers. And it’s not just how many calories we burn, miles we run, steps we take or minutes/hours we workout for. It’s also how many followers we have on social media, how many likes we get on Instagram, how much money we make in our careers, what grades we get in school. And quite frankly, I’m fed up with it.

Life is more than numbers. YOU are more than numbers. If you have to count something, count how many times you’ve told your parents you love them in the last month. Count how many times you’ve seen your best friends. Count how many things you have to be grateful for. Count how many times you’ve practices self love this year. Count memories, adventures, special days and books read.

fitness watch break

fitness watch break

But don’t feel pressured to count calories burned or steps taken.

Because those numbers don’t define your worth.

So next time you go to check your fitness watch, all I ask is for you to think twice. Are those constantly available numbers healthy for you? Are you defining your workouts (or yourself) based on those numbers? Do you ever feel disappointed in yourself when looking at those numbers? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, then I challenge you to take that sh*t off. Not just for a day, but for awhile. Until you can fully realize that YOU are more than numbers and FITNESS is more than numbers.

Trust me, it’s liberating as hell.

XO nat

Related: 10 Lessons I've Learned From Running, 4 Reasons You Should Ditch Your Running GPS