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Is Our Obsession with Health Data Making Us Crazy?

May 30, 2019


When Bri Cawsey started wearing a Fitbit, she thought it was simply a “really cool tool” for charting her runs. Slowly but surely, however, the British Columbia-based strength and conditioning coach began tracking everything—calories, macronutrients, fertility—and noticed the habit spiraling out of control.

“It became a little bit of an obsessive habit, especially around the food,” Cawsey remembers. Eventually, she says, it got so bad that, if she didn’t research a meal’s calorie and nutrient breakdown in advance, she’d feel anxious and upset at restaurants. In 2014, after realizing that her once-healthy habit had turned hazardous, Wilson “broke up” with her Fitbit, detailing the decision in a post on her fitness blog. She’s been tracker-free ever since, save for a brief stint while training to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and recommends her clients stay that way, too. “It was this great sense of peace,” she says of ditching the data. “I wasn’t as critical with myself.”

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