In preparation for a series on consciousness and awareness, I have been doing some research, which led me to a number of product offerings designed to entrain the brain into a readiness state conducive to meditation. I have found a couple that I will use and be reporting back on in the coming weeks. The first tool that I have found as a feedback to increase awareness is a new device from Jawbone.
Ever since I started using a Jawbone UP24 device in February, I have become a big fan of using technology in general to improve health. Prior to using Jawbone, my sleep was often in the five to six hour per night range. Knowing that what we track changes, I started using my device as a tracking tool to bring awareness to my bad habits and crowd them out with good habits.
Over the last ten days, I have exceeded my goal of 7.5 hours of sleep 8 times. The only discrepancies were getting up for early morning meetings. I have not yet seen a significant increase in my step count, but lumbar issues are playing a role there. Despite lower back issues, I am averaging about seven thousand steps per day, well short of my ten thousand step goal, but in the top thirty percent of UP24 users. It is now starting to trend upward, however.
So, satisfied with that progress, I am now using a new feature for food tracking. It has been an eye opener. I have seen that my daily protein intake is lower than I need it to be, but by and large everything else is in line. I did however; fine-tune my smoothie recipe by cutting the Avocado amount in half, when I saw the overall calorie count. I was pleased to see my sugar intake averaging below fifty grams per day. (Note -As a health coach, I need to point out that the sugar that is consumed really needs to be watched for what form the sugar is and how it is consumed. Mine for the most part came from whole foods eaten in conjunction with mostly vegetables and a healthy fat source in the same meal so that the absorption is handled. Even fifty grams of sugar consumed in two candy bars in the form of high fructose corn syrup is not in your best interest.)
There are a number of features in the app that others have commented on elsewhere. From a coaching perspective, I think that it is more interesting to comment on how I have been able to self-coach myself into new behavior by having feedback. Knowing that I will receive feedback each morning on sleep, throughout the day on activity and now on food, it brings awareness to me on my food intake, my activity and my sleep. And awareness fuels positive change.
I am now paying more attention to how these are related. Over time, I will be able to see if there is a connection between the amount I exercise and sleep, as well as the food that I consume and sleep quality/quantity. One key thing that I can now easily track is the amount of water I drink in a day. Most Americans drink far too little water. When I ask clients how much they drink, the answer is usually “not enough.” What we track – we can change – and using the app on my iPhone allows me to track this easily, because looking at it throughout the day to see how I am doing has become a habit.
I am also now seeing that I have periods in the day that do not have activity in them. My chiropractor tells me that sitting is the new smoking, and I now have a device that will tell me to move if I have been sitting for more than an hour (personal setting).. Five months into using this device, I seem to be getting into a rhythm with it. Over the last ten days, my step count has been over 10,000 steps 7 times, and my sleep is averaging above my target of 7.5 hours/night. Being active and getting sleep are the ante or “table stakes” for playing the game of the second half of life. I certainly recommend trying a device like the Jawbone UP24 to others.
How about you? What tricks/tools are in your good health toolbox?