A Life Dictated By Numbers

You never realize how much you rely on something until it’s taken away from you. For a lot of people, it’s their phone. For me, this object is my FitBit…

Okay, probably also my phone, but I’ll never let anyone take that from me… 🙄

Anyway, I never realized how much time I spent obsessing over my Fitbit and using it to fuel my eating disorder. Okay, yeah I knew I had a problem, but I just kept telling myself that it’s fine because I was okay with doing it, so it’s fine right? Haha, yeah no… One big problem is that it provides lots of data which just means that there are lots of numbers and for some reason, my OCD loves to play with numbers. So every day, I had to get a certain amount of steps, burn a certain amount of calories, exercise a certain amount of minutes, and so on. It’s kind of funny because for the calorie part, the numbers got really obscure and were down to the exact calorie based on some calculations I did that I figured were accurate enough. I would calculate by the minute how many extra calories (meaning not including the calories burnt by body processes) I would have to burn to reach that goal by the end of the day. That often meant pacing back and forth in my room in the middle of the night for sometimes hours trying to meet my crazy goals. And for awhile, I was tracking the calories I ate and would only allow that to get to a certain number as well (which was always less than calories burned). If only I had to get a certain amount of sleep each night and then it could be healthy! The other week, I had zero hours of sleep for 2 nights in a row. Okay, I was sick and couldn’t sleep though, so I had an excuse…

So why don’t I have it anymore? I had been having problems with my eating disorder and it was in my best interest to take a little break from it. No I wasn’t throwing up anymore, but I was exercising too much to compensate for that and had been getting a little too obsessed with my Fitbit numbers which was just exacerbating the problem even more. So my dietitian and therapist said I could either give up my Fitbit or give up exercising. Long story short, I couldn’t choose so they decided my Fitbit had to go and I could still exercise, but with limits.

I can’t even explain the feeling of attachment I have to that thing. It’s like the feeling of not having your phone with you. It gave me relief and a sense of security and control in my life. For the first day, I wore the Fitbit still and just deleted the app from my phone and set it up to where I couldn’t see the data from my Fitbit itself. That way, it was still tracking everything and I could always just see it later. This whole thing was going to mess up my averages for the month, year, etc. and I was was determined to not let that happen. But then the second day, they asked me to go further and I did NOT want to give it up, but then my dad asked me, “Do you want to get better or not?” And so, deciding that I want to recover, I reluctantly gave it up to my parents.

So after my appointment that second day, I went to school and I was NOT having it. Just walking the long distance from the parking lot to the school made me tear up because none of my steps were counting. I decided to go to the guidance counselor so I could just let it out and get the crying over with because I knew it would come eventually. It was hard because I would stop crying and calm down a little bit, but then I’d instinctively look at my arm to see what time it is or what my heart rate is (because I like to know that when I freak out I guess) and realize that I couldn’t and just start crying all over again. And the rest of that day, I would have many times where I would look down to see the time, what my steps were at, how many calories I burned, etc. and would tear up at the reminder that I wasn’t in control of any of that anymore. It didn’t help either that where my watch is supposed to be are little scars where I first started cutting myself before I did it worse on other places and it was just a whole reminder of all of that too. Let’s just say, it was a rough day and it’s a good thing I was sick the days before because I could blame my red face and puffy eyes on that when people commented on it (and A LOT of people did…). Oh yeah, this whole thing probably contributing to the no sleep for 3 days straight since it was those same days whoops.

Anyway, it was obviously super hard at first, but then I became surprised at how easy it got as time went on. By day two or three, I would still look at my wrist, but I would just be annoyed for a second and then continue with my day. Then after that, I just kind of accepted it. To be honest though, I have to have something on my wrist and since I don’t have any extra watches at the moment, I have been using one of my mom’s watches that don’t even work lol. But hey, as long as it’s not tracking anything. 🤷🏼‍♀️

And yeah, I’m still struggling sometimes with not doing compulsions where I’m just counting my own steps or just feeling like I have to exercise to burn calories, but I’m getting there. I’m proud of myself for getting this far without my Fitbit when I thought I could never live without it. Okay, it just occurred to me that’s its only been a week and a half, but it’s felt like forever and every little step counts! Yeah, I still have a little bit farther to go, but I’m going in the right direction and I’ll get there soon. I’ve realized that my self worth isn’t dependent on whether I exercise or reach my goals for the day. People will still look at me the same and most importantly, God will still love me the same. It’s hard to always be in this mindset, but when I am, I feel a lot more freedom in my life. I’m not bound by all these strict rules or defining numbers anymore. It also helped because when I was sick, I became okay with myself laying in bed all day with very little exercise. We just have to be okay with giving our bodies a break. Honestly, that was probably my body’s way of telling me I had been pushing it too hard lately and was exhausting it. So when I normally would be running or pacing in my room, I just laid in my bed, took care of myself like I needed to, and did everything I could to be okay with it. 💕


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