Author Topic: Buy a Better You!  (Read 4894 times)

EDSMedS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 205
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Washington, DC
Buy a Better You!
« on: December 17, 2014, 09:45:40 AM »
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-idea-2015-how-digital-you-denise

It sends shivers down my spine to read "taking charge of their well-being through the use of data and digital sensors, wearable health bands and smartphone apps that can track and quantify everything from their heart rate, blood pressure and sleep quality to steps walked and calories consumed."

This CEO supports status-quo poor health with a splash of quantification - Campbell's "Healthy Request" Vegetable soup, with <5% of daily recommended calories per serving, contains ~%30 of daily recommended sodium!  If MMM has taught the world anything, it is that SELF-RELIANCE and HEALTHY HABITS (like making your own soup!) are the path to happiness, not consumer technology solutions.

I am a firm believer in investing in personal health - good food, conversations with nature, even a GYM MEMBERSHIP if you are completely uncreative - but, come on!, really?!?!  Do you need a pedometer to tell you that walking for an hour is healthier than sitting for an hour?

Does anyone in the MMM community utilize the technologies she lists?  Can anyone say the purchases have been worth the cost?

jda1984

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 179
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 10:43:16 AM »
I could see it being beneficial to encourage employees to friendly competition, particularly for industries that are more sedentary.

EDSMedS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 205
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2014, 11:49:05 AM »
Anecdote: My mother works for General Mills, and they have "Biggest Loser" competitions every year, among other employee health initiatives.  The prize?  A heart rate monitor!  Interesting, sure, but effective?  The same folks seem to win every year...

I propose that without addressing underlying cultural issues - office work is soul-crushing; the fridge is smaller than the vending machines; "lunch time" is notional and rarely occurs; etc. - new technologies, like a watch that monitors your heart rate, will only improve the health of the profit/loss statement of the product's manufacturer.

gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2363
  • Location: NZ
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2014, 12:18:19 AM »
It's all a fad. And will die a slow death.

seanc0x0

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
  • Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2014, 06:10:02 PM »

i've used a FitBit, and found it to definitely increase my activity levels. From silly stuff like walking to the slightly further away bathroom to get my step count up, to taking longer routes between buildings on campus, to walking home (7km, great for bumping up the step count!).  It really depends on the person, and apparently I am motivated by seeing the numbers. YMMV.

That said, if I hadn't gotten the tech for free through work, I'd never have bought it on my own.

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2424
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2014, 08:41:29 PM »
I get what you're saying, OP, but I'm actually a fan of the quantified self movement and find some of its ideas helpful. Some patterns are hard to spot without study and people easily deceive themselves without an objective way of viewing their actions. For example, people may convince themselves that they get lots of activity on the weekend but then find out they actually get less than when they're at work, or vice versa. Or they may discover keeping the temperature lower forces them to move around more, unconsciously, and be able to use that to their advantage.

Of course the marketing puts emphasis on the data you need a machine to tell you and on the convenience of tracking it automagically. People could do themselves a favor by also logging things like how much they eat for the first, and using a plain pedometer and an excel spreadsheet for the second. Etc. Otherwise it's the usual business of relying on a product to give legitimacy and order to your actions.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7965
  • Location: United States
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2014, 01:26:43 PM »
Anecdote: My mother works for General Mills, and they have "Biggest Loser" competitions every year, among other employee health initiatives.  The prize?  A heart rate monitor!  Interesting, sure, but effective?  The same folks seem to win every year...


My husband's company does this too- although the price is a decent amount of money. The same person has won 4 years in a row.  He loses 50-75 pounds each year, and then usually weighs more the next year than he did the year before. It's a general upward trend with some weight loss from January-March. That is NOT good for the body.

DH actually lost a lot of weight the first year (maybe 15 pounds?), but only a pound his second year. Why? Because the weight he lost the first year stayed off, so he didn't really have anything to lose the next year- he's low "normal" in BMI. Does the company want them to be underweight?

The contest really encourages lack of health, not health.

EDSMedS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 205
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2014, 02:50:56 PM »
I get what you're saying, OP, but I'm actually a fan of the quantified self movement and find some of its ideas helpful. Some patterns are hard to spot without study and people easily deceive themselves without an objective way of viewing their actions. For example, people may convince themselves that they get lots of activity on the weekend but then find out they actually get less than when they're at work, or vice versa. Or they may discover keeping the temperature lower forces them to move around more, unconsciously, and be able to use that to their advantage.

Of course the marketing puts emphasis on the data you need a machine to tell you and on the convenience of tracking it automagically. People could do themselves a favor by also logging things like how much they eat for the first, and using a plain pedometer and an excel spreadsheet for the second. Etc. Otherwise it's the usual business of relying on a product to give legitimacy and order to your actions.

Did you mean to say "automaGically"?  That is my new favorite word!!!!

I understand how seeing "facts" can be enlightening - I track my income/expenses with YNAB even though MMM says it is unnecessary - but I detest a CEO that makes money from making folks fat/unhealthy trying to enliven those same fat/unhealthy folks with promising new technological solutions.

i've used a FitBit, and found it to definitely increase my activity levels. From silly stuff like walking to the slightly further away bathroom to get my step count up, to taking longer routes between buildings on campus, to walking home (7km, great for bumping up the step count!).  It really depends on the person, and apparently I am motivated by seeing the numbers. YMMV.

That said, if I hadn't gotten the tech for free through work, I'd never have bought it on my own.

I'm glad you have used some free tech for health improvement!  Would you say that you still walk to the further b-room when not wearing the fitbit?  Or is it the ability to track that creates the movement (aka if it doesn't "count" it isn't done)?

seanc0x0

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
  • Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2014, 10:48:59 AM »
i've used a FitBit, and found it to definitely increase my activity levels. From silly stuff like walking to the slightly further away bathroom to get my step count up, to taking longer routes between buildings on campus, to walking home (7km, great for bumping up the step count!).  It really depends on the person, and apparently I am motivated by seeing the numbers. YMMV.

That said, if I hadn't gotten the tech for free through work, I'd never have bought it on my own.

I'm glad you have used some free tech for health improvement!  Would you say that you still walk to the further b-room when not wearing the fitbit?  Or is it the ability to track that creates the movement (aka if it doesn't "count" it isn't done)?

It's definitely the effect of having the information. I ended up returning the FitBit (it was a FitBit Force, which had a recall for skin reactions... I was one of those who got the reaction) and I stopped doing the extra stuff. Something about having that little counter there causes me to think about how to get more movement in. It's a bit of gamification, and as a lifelong video gamer it's an ingrained motivation to get that number as high as possible, I guess. :)

I'll be getting one of the new models with the heart rate monitor in when they come out early 2015, again free through work.

EDSMedS

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 205
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2014, 11:02:08 AM »

It's definitely the effect of having the information. I ended up returning the FitBit (it was a FitBit Force, which had a recall for skin reactions... I was one of those who got the reaction) and I stopped doing the extra stuff. Something about having that little counter there causes me to think about how to get more movement in. It's a bit of gamification, and as a lifelong video gamer it's an ingrained motivation to get that number as high as possible, I guess. :)

I'll be getting one of the new models with the heart rate monitor in when they come out early 2015, again free through work.

1) HOLY SHIT!  The tech attacked you?!?!  I think that assists my point more than anything!  LOL
2) I have always felt incredibly lucky that I sucked at video games when I was young (fucking duck hunt...).  I would impulsively rather walk through a muddy field and kick up a few ducks then shoot at fake ones (and miss...).
3) Have you tried keeping a journal about additional "unnecessary steps?"  That tech costs like, what, $2.50?  I know I have tons of free notebooks and pens that I have accumulated from various branded promos and banks...  I'm not trying to delegitimize the positive effects of (free) tech or mock the real appeal of "gamification" that you mention, but fancy tech seems to be a pretty common crutch with millennials and gen-Zers, which I can only say b/c I am one. :)  Please talk this through a little more to make me understand.  What is the advantage of high-tech (fitbit) over low-tech (pen/paper)?

seanc0x0

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 304
  • Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2014, 01:25:31 PM »

It's definitely the effect of having the information. I ended up returning the FitBit (it was a FitBit Force, which had a recall for skin reactions... I was one of those who got the reaction) and I stopped doing the extra stuff. Something about having that little counter there causes me to think about how to get more movement in. It's a bit of gamification, and as a lifelong video gamer it's an ingrained motivation to get that number as high as possible, I guess. :)

I'll be getting one of the new models with the heart rate monitor in when they come out early 2015, again free through work.

1) HOLY SHIT!  The tech attacked you?!?!  I think that assists my point more than anything!  LOL

They used a surgical steel that had a small amount of nickel in it. Apparently it caused reactions in a small percentage of people. No different than the cheap 'silver' ring my sister once bought in Mexico. :)

Quote
2) I have always felt incredibly lucky that I sucked at video games when I was young (fucking duck hunt...).  I would impulsively rather walk through a muddy field and kick up a few ducks then shoot at fake ones (and miss...).

Video games have been a real positive force in my life, really. I have been playing them for pretty much my whole life, and they've been great for teaching me the kinds of problem solving and computer skills that lead me into a high-paying career in tech. I do spend a fair amount of time in nature, though. I live 100m from the South Saskatchewan river, and we've got a great set of nature trails along the banks.

Quote
3) Have you tried keeping a journal about additional "unnecessary steps?"  That tech costs like, what, $2.50?  I know I have tons of free notebooks and pens that I have accumulated from various branded promos and banks...  I'm not trying to delegitimize the positive effects of (free) tech or mock the real appeal of "gamification" that you mention, but fancy tech seems to be a pretty common crutch with millennials and gen-Zers, which I can only say b/c I am one. :)  Please talk this through a little more to make me understand.  What is the advantage of high-tech (fitbit) over low-tech (pen/paper)?

The advantage is that it's automatic. I don't have to do anything.  I'm terrible at remembering to record things, so if I can have some piece of technology do it for me, I'm in favour of it. Technology should improve my life in some way, and be priced to meet the value I get from it.  As I mentioned before, the FitBit was free through work, and as such the price/value equation works out.

I've become a lot more choosy over the years, though. I'm Gen-X, and used to be real gung-ho for anything technological. Lately, though, I have been slowly starting to discriminate between those technologies that are genuinely useful and those that seem to exist just for the sake of technology. There's so much waste caused by technology churn that I've started to question the whole thing a bit. Makes for a bit of cognitive dissonance sometimes, since my job is extremely technology dependent and has a high churn-rate (High Performance Computing).

mydogismyheart

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 115
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2014, 02:31:52 PM »
i've used a FitBit, and found it to definitely increase my activity levels. From silly stuff like walking to the slightly further away bathroom to get my step count up, to taking longer routes between buildings on campus, to walking home (7km, great for bumping up the step count!).  It really depends on the person, and apparently I am motivated by seeing the numbers. YMMV.

That said, if I hadn't gotten the tech for free through work, I'd never have bought it on my own.

I'm glad you have used some free tech for health improvement!  Would you say that you still walk to the further b-room when not wearing the fitbit?  Or is it the ability to track that creates the movement (aka if it doesn't "count" it isn't done)?

It's definitely the effect of having the information. I ended up returning the FitBit (it was a FitBit Force, which had a recall for skin reactions... I was one of those who got the reaction) and I stopped doing the extra stuff. Something about having that little counter there causes me to think about how to get more movement in. It's a bit of gamification, and as a lifelong video gamer it's an ingrained motivation to get that number as high as possible, I guess. :)

I'll be getting one of the new models with the heart rate monitor in when they come out early 2015, again free through work.

I used a fitbit for awhile and really enhjoyed it, I found it motivated me not JUST because it tracked my steps, but because it logged all of those steps onto a website that was connected with various friends and all of us could see every single little step the other friend was doing.  It was kinda fun because it created some friendly competition among each other.  Who could walk the most steps?  It got me off my butt way more than anything else had, problem was, I kept getting ones that would eventually die.  I went through 3 of them in a matter of months (and luckily fitbit replaced all for free due to warranty). But I eventually gave up because of this.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5319
Re: Buy a Better You!
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2014, 02:50:22 PM »
My health insurance bought it & I first I scoffed but it was so motivating that I have lost 20lbs with 10 more to go all in 4 months. I am older so not a high tech person but I really love this (Fitbit).   I find that besides walking outside for an hour if I don't have my 10,000 steps I will march in place while watching TV at nite until I get them.  It has been very worthwhile for me.