I have four pillars for the foundation of my approach to this year of learning to love my postmenopausal midlife body. One of those pillars is data. I figured I needed to be able to tell the difference between the negative old rubbish I tell myself about myself, and actual objective cold hard impersonal data about myself. You know what it's like, you look in the mirror and you think, Oh my God I look like a hippopotamus in a sun dress, when actually data might be telling you that you're not quite as big a hippopotamus as you think you are.
It has torn up the story I have been telling myself all my life about the way I sleep.
In the pursuit of data, I splashed out on a Samsung 5 smartwatch a.k.a The Gizmo. Now, this thing tracks all sorts of things like how many steps you take during the course of the day, your heart rate, and how many calories you've burned. This has shown me that whilst not great, as there are days when I get stuck at my computer, I am on the move a lot more than I realized. It is amazing how that morning walk with the dog can set you up for the day in terms of physical activity. Add another walk at the end of the day and progress is being made.
The Gizmo will buzz me if I've been too still for too long. It gives me a kick to get up and move. So I am finding that as I'm working in the apothecary I now put music on so that I can dance a little bit as I go. It probably looks ridiculous (who cares!?) but it brings me joy and it gets my body moving.
But!!!!!!! There is one more thing about The Gizmo that, even in the short time that I've owned it, has shaken up my self-belief system.
To give you a bit of back story, because of some crappy stuff that happened when I was a child (you can read about that in other blog posts if you like) I started having terrible, terrible nightmares from a very early age. Insomnia and I have a relationship that goes way, way back. But with determination and exploring some ancient ideas around how we work with our dreams, by my mid-20s I had (without any help) pretty much cured myself of the nightmares (I am still proud of that achievement). But darn it, then work stresses kind of took their place and kept me awake. Because of this, I have always told myself, “Georgina you sleep so badly”. Then my husband started saying things just before turning the light out at night like, “I hope you get some sleep tonight”, which while completely well-intentioned was an instant insomnia inducer!
But here’s the thing…. The Gizmo measures sleep duration, sleep cycles, sleep states, and blood oxygen during sleep. And herein lies the biggest transformation for me so far… and for it, I shall be forever grateful.
According to The Gizmo, it turns out that actually I have really healthy good quality sleep. This has been consistent over the past couple of weeks of wearing it to bed each night. In fact, when measured against the average sleep duration and health for people of my age I am above average! Who knew!!?
Now sure, it may not be completely accurate, but even so the data it presents me with is actually completely life-changing.
What this data has done for me has given me the ability to rewrite a chronic long-term negative self-belief which is my sleep is terrible. Telling myself every night that my sleep is terrible meant my sleep, whatever it was, felt like it had never been good enough. Now I go to bed and I think, don't worry you know you're gonna sleep just fine. Sweet dreams.
What this data has done for me has given me the ability to rewrite a chronic long-term negative self-belief.
This is like a beautiful gift to me. I hadn’t realised just how entrenched my poor perception of my sleep health was. So yes, the data shows me I have weight to lose and that's fine; that may start to happen slowly. But right now it’s also telling me, “you are OK. Your sleep is healthy. Well done you.”
Sometimes we need to hear objective things from an outside source to help us reset our ideas of ourself. I know a gizmo is something that not everyone can afford, but if you can spare the dollars for it and want an impartial, objective observer of your health physical health and well-being, then why not give it a try?
For me, The Gizmo is giving me the data I wanted, But also it is doing more than that. It’s helping address the other pillar of my foundation for this year which is all about the things we tell ourselves. I'm starting to see The Gizmo as not just something that gives me stats, but as a tool to help me deepen and enrich and improve my own self-belief. The gizmo is fast becoming my ally on this journey into this year of learning to love my midlife body.