How an Abundance of Fitness Data Keeps Me From Obsessing Over a Single Number
It is the act of recording all this data that has helped me step away from identifying so strongly with it.
Gadgets like the ShapeScale and the demand for them—there was a waitlist for its private launch—suggest that many of us believe that arming ourselves with numbers will lead to a better life.
But I’ve learned to distrust “intuition” as a guide—and here I’m not just talking about food. So many of my instincts seem skewed, so many of my thoughts shaped by forces that hinder me. Too often have I believed that simply feeling something strongly is proof that it’s true. How many times did I trust my gut and become convinced someone was angry at me, when they weren’t? How many times have I had to remind myself that the feeling I’m about to fail isn’t ironclad evidence that I actually will?
everythingThat’s natural, Things bounce back.
Angela Chen is a senior editor at Wired Magazine and the author of Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex, which was named one of the best books of 2020 by NPR, Electric Literature, and Them. Her reporting and essays have also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Guardian, National Geographic, Paris Review, Lapham's Quarterly, and more.
Enter your email address to receive notifications for author Angela Chen
Confirmation link sent to your email to add you to notification list for author Angela Chen
More by this author
Writing a Book About Asexuality Taught Me to Look for a Fate Beyond Numbers
I learned to reevaluate the meaning of ‘normal’ in relationships, and also my habit of reflexively turning to data.
How I Learned to Tell Signal from Noise and Appreciate Calm
It can be easy to confuse real emotion with the shiny drama enfolding it. Sometimes grand gestures are signs of grand feeling—sometimes they’re not.
On Being Young, Scrappy, and (Sometimes) Satisfied
Remain forever hungry, or enjoy the tried-and-true? Sometimes, I learned, it’s okay to double down on the life you have.
More in this series
Is It Possible to Truly Know Yourself? (Probably Not—and That’s Okay.)
There is opportunity in forcibly rewriting a story, in trying out identities that might not feel true at first.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Asexuality
“Though desire for sex is considered one of our four primal drives, I lack such a desire almost completely.”
How We Create Personal Myths, and Why They Matter
My parental separation was vastly less traumatic than what is happening to children at the border. But this narrative lives inside me.