I received a Jawbone UP wristband last week as a gift, and it is the first quantified self device I’ve used.
Before the UP I would sporadically track my exercise and food with the My Fitness Pal iPhone app, but the UP wristband has taken it to another level with mostly passive monitoring of my activity. The only things I can optionally add in myself are my food and my mood.
As a woman in her late twenties and a startup person I’m generally more focused on my career and spending time with my friends and family than on my health, and so it comes as no surprise I have gained about 20 pounds in the past 18 months since setting out as a founder. In the past 2 months I have finally started taking steps to turn that trend around, and one of the unfun things I knew needed to start doing was stepping on the scale more regularly to see whether I was making progress.
I think most women (and many men) can relate to the years of emotions tied up around stepping on a scale, and as much I am a confident person overall I had the sinking feeling when the number read out on the screen doesn’t reflect how good you feel about the better decisions or the challenging activities you’ve been embarking on. Weighing yourself isn’t about confirming progress, it’s about conceding that what you did just might not have been enough to move the needle yet. Very rarely do I feel elated or anywhere near happy after stepping on the scale.
The UP band on the other hand has a completely different emotional connection. It shows me how many steps I’ve taken, how many minutes active and inactive, and how many calories I’ve burned for the day. It also tracks my sleep, showing me how much deep and light Zzz’s I got and also how many times I woke up during the night. When I plug in my UP to sync with my phone I am always excited to see what new progress I’ve made, and I know it’s within my control whether I will hit my goal of 10,000 steps a day or not.
Another really cool thing about the UP is that my husband has one too, so we can compare our sleep and notice patterns about each other. We speculate on how we might be negatively impacting each other’s patterns, which has made me a lot more conscientious about things like making sure the blinds are draw, lights off, door closed, etc. in the early morning hours when I’m up and about and he’s still sleeping (he tends to go to bed 3 hours later than me and wake up 3 hours later). With steps it’s more of a playful competition, and turns a walk to a meeting for me into a nudge to get up and walk to Starbucks or go to the gym for him.
Overall it has been a really cool experience so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing some weight loss progress eventually… but for now I am happy to just have a better understanding of what’s going on with my body, and I feel in control of where to go from here.
What a great product.