The numbers game

Ok, so by now you all know how anti-“numbers” I am, in general.

I hate scales. Stepping on one immediately dashes my confidence and forces me to focus on the number that lights up – if its too “high” in my mind, I beat myself up, always striving for the “perfect” number (let’s be honest ladies, will any number on that scale EVER make our eyes light up??).

And for that matter, I don’t think one should be measured by the size of her jeans or what size t-shirt she buys at Banana Republic.

I no longer keep a food diary because it made me OVERLY conscious of what I was/was not eating. Given my Type-A tendencies, this was a smart move for me – I know for some a food diary works, but for me it got to the point where I thought about food and calories much more than was healthy or sane.

Those are the numbers I hate.

The ones I like? Calories – as in calories burned.

At least I *thought* I did until I tried out my handy-dandy new Polar F4 heart rate monitor this morning. It was like an immediate response too – as soon as I realized I was burning fewer calories than I thought I was meant to/should be burning while running through my Kick tracks at home, I started to freak out a little bit. Ok…I started to panic.

I thought – ok so all this time I thought I was burning WAY more calories and I’m clearly not so now what? Am I a moron? Have I been working “hard” in my mind without that hard work translating to results (i.e. calories burned)?

Then, I realized (with my sister’s help, as usual) that there are SO many factors that go into that calorie burn. Today? Those factors were numerous – I woke up feeling like lead. My body was not moving as fast as it normally can and should. I’m burned out from the week and overtired due to PMS (it always wreaks havoc on my energy levels). So, long story short, I was not working nearly as hard in my living room running through Kick as I would under more normal conditions, and definitely not nearly as hard as I would in a team practice or in a teaching setting.

Yet, as soon as I saw numbers, all rational thinking went flying out the window. Like seriously, I need to get a grip or this whole heart rate monitor thing may end up going out the window along with my rational thoughts. 😉

I think I’ll give it another shot – with a good run, or a regular Kick class or a spin class to see how it goes. I’m also anxious to see how I burn during a weight lifting class or during STS. All fun environments to test out the monitor.

I think (and hope) I just need to realize that a number is still just a number – the benefits of a good workout are far greater than just how many calories I burned or how many miles I ran. I know this, based on the zillions of posts I’ve done on why I love to workout. Calories burned is just one of the zillions of reasons.

With that said, I still need to figure out all the nuances of using a heart rate monitor, especially as it relates to running. I haven’t gotten that far yet. Would love to hear from ya’ll on your heart rate monitor experiences though – am I alone in this numbers craziness??