I love measuring things, such as how much I walked and how long it took and how much weight I lost or gained. Yesterday, for example, I walked for one hour and 15 minutes. This morning I found that I’d lost 0.2 pounds which is not bad, since I’m just trying to lose a few pounds.
Measurement is feedback
I’m not obsessive; I just love feedback! Without feedback, I literally don’t know what I’m doing. And if I don’t know what I’m doing now, how will I know when I change what I’m doing? If I want to change, how will I know when what I’m doing is working?
Without feedback, you’re just guessing
A recent Real Age article cited a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which found that “more than 80% of women underestimated their daily food intake by a whooping 700 calories.” This tendency was given as one reason people don’t lose weight. They can’t change what they’re eating because they don’t really know what they’re eating.
Another (and possibly related) reason was eating without thinking, such as eating when you’re watching TV. If someone asked you, you’d say “I’m watching TV”—even if a more accurate answer would be “I’m watching TV and eating Doritos straight out of the bag.”
Feedback is the key to change
These responses don’t indicate personal weakness. I think they just indicate how our minds work. Organizations which help people change understand this very well. That’s why programs like Weight Watchers are successful; they ask new members to write down every single thing they eat every day for several weeks. Financial counselors take a similar approach, asking clients to write down every single penny they spend every day for weeks or months.
Invariably, the results are a complete revelation. People are astonished that they eat so much or spend so much. They had no idea! But now that they do know and they have help, they can begin to change. They can begin to stop doing some of the things that they didn’t even know they were doing.
Photo by bionicteaching