Right now, you might be thinking to yourself, What is wellness fatigue?
Let me explain…
Wellness fatigue happens as a result of constantly thinking about and tracking your health stats. Whether it be through simply keeping a daily log of what you eat or tracking a wide range of elements, like your daily steps, your sleep quality, your calorie intake, etc.
The best and simplest example of this is using an activity tracker like a FitBit.
The fatigue part? Well that comes into play when you become tired, overwhelmed or disheartened with constantly and relentlessly logging all of these details.
If you’re a huge FitBit fanatic or you love sharing your workouts on social media (like me), maybe this idea seems silly to you.
I’ll admit, it is a little bit silly, but not entirely because I actually recently experienced it while using an app called Rise — it pairs you with your own personal dietitian and they rate your meals on a daily basis. (There’s actually much more to it than that, but that’s the basic gist.)
You can actually read more about the app and my thoughts on it here: Can A Virtual Nutrition Coach Actually Help You Lose Weight?
Anyway, while I found a lot of value in the app and my coach Katie (yes, she had the same name as me) taught me so much and I actually felt like I was making progress and my eating habits were improving, after about three months of literally logging every single thing that I ate, I was suddenly starting to find that I just didn’t want to do it anymore.
Here’s part of what I wrote to Katie to let her know what I was thinking:
“I’m feeling like I’ve become overwhelmed with keeping track of everything I eat. I think I may need a break from it for a little while. I hope you already know that I’ve valued your feedback SO much since I signed up and I feel so much more confident in my ability to eat healthy and to do it consistently. I just have grown weary of photographing all of my meals and tracking everything I eat. Sometimes I feel like I can’t eat something just to enjoy it because I’m worrying about what kind of rating I’m going to get. And I love that you understand that there needs to be a balance and “treats” are allowed, but even knowing that, it still takes a mental toll when I log something and get a poor rating.”
Have you ever experienced anything like this? Am I just overreacting or do you think this whole wellness fatigue thing is actually a legitimate concern?
One reason I really do think it’s legitimate is because just as I was experiencing all of these feelings, I came across a pretty interesting tip that I included in a story I once did about building healthy habits that last for life.
Here’s my (amateur) take in a few simple steps:
- Identify the source. Is it a specific app or tool? Is it a certain goal that you’re working towards? Figure out what exactly it is that’s making you feel overwhelmed.
- Once you’ve identified the source, vow to take a break from it.
- Establish parameters for that break. Determine how much time you would like away from whatever it was that’s making you feel overwhelmed. If you still feel like you’re not ready to go back to it after that period of time, maybe you either need to extend the break or if you’re really not enthused by the idea, maybe it’s time to find a new approach–something you’ll enjoy more — or, maybe you don’t need it at all. Explore all possible options!
- If and when you do reconnect, be mindful. Pay attention to how you feel and make sure that you’re feeling good about your health and fitness routine as a whole.