Could Fitness Tracking Trends In Technology Be A Risk For Mental Health?

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Eating disorders are triggered by practices other people might find normal. Calorie counting, tracking food intake, clocking exercise, analyzing macro and micro nutrients, reaching a daily “step” goal. For others, these are the revolutions of technology in health and fitness. It is easier than ever to track your every move, how many calories those moves burn, your heart rate, and more. Constantly clued into your health, your are supposed to feel like you can optimize your daily life to optimize your daily health.

Modern healthy living gets things backwards about health. Social media platforms are the perfect example. Posting screenshots of fitness tracking apps, pictures of nutritious meals, “mirror selfies” about working hard and taking care of your body- all of these could be hiding deeper issues. Orthorexia nervosa, for example, is a new eating disorder which has developed out of the clean eating health trend. Exercise addiction, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, body dysmorphia, and otherwise disordered eating or body image issues could be hiding behind what looks like a very healthy, dedicated, disciplined individual.

Fitness tracking apps support an obsession which is emphasized through compulsive behaviors. People with disordered eating and exercising behaviors create obsessive thought processes about their food, their exercise and their appearance. Should they miscalculate a portion, miss a workout, or be forced to eat outside of their strict “healthy” diet, their brain obsesses about the consequences. In order to rid themselves of those obsessive thoughts, they compulsively detox, cleanse, starve, purge, exercise, restrict, or more to make up for it. This behavior is normalized as well. Instead of accepting all food as food and eating in balance with moderation, “bad” food has to be compensated for or else it could cause problems. Most often the real “problems” that these behaviors cause is emotional insecurity and a feeling of being out of control.

Sometimes, technology brings out and fully cultivates a preexisting mental illness which never had anywhere else to develop. Those who might have body image issues, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem might find solace in eating disorder behaviors and the obsessive commitment to fitness tracking apps, bringing their problems to light.


If you feel you are losing control of your life due to an unhealthy obsession with fitness, exercise, eating, and more, your are not alone. There is help for recovering from an eating disorder. As a leading primary mental health provider, Avalon By The Sea offers trusted residential treatment programs which provide trusted results. Call us today for a confidential assessment and information on our healing programs in Malibu, California: 888-958-7511

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