Activity trackers are a popular tool for keeping an eye on exercise, eating behavior and weight loss. But can the smart helpers really help you lose weight in the long term? An American study gives the answer.
A healthy weight and a lean, well-trained body – a dream that seems almost unattainable for many overweight people. In order to lose weight in the long term, perseverance and a certain amount of discipline are required. Your own eating habits should be put to the test and sport should not be neglected in a sensible diet.
Study: Lose weight in the long term with the activity tracker and app?
To support you with a diet, there are now numerous smart apps for your smartphone and activity tracker that are worn on the wrist and record various body measurements. When it comes to trackers, however, opinions differ: some love the smart bracelets, others use them once and then never again. The question arises: What can the activity trackers really do? Are they a useful addition on the way to your desired weight? The American Obesity Society wanted to find out exactly that with a study.
For their study, the scientists recruited a total of 87 participants aged 18 to 70 with a BMI of 25 to 45. The men and women were given various digital aids to help them with a three-month weight loss phase. This included an app, an activity tracker for the wrist and a body measuring scale. The test subjects had to enter their daily meals and purchases in the app and use the activity tracker to record their exercise and sports units.
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Result: Successfully lose weight in three months
While the participants used their activity trackers, apps and scales regularly in the first two months, their willingness to do so fell rapidly in the third month. In particular, the weighing and the entries of the meals became rarer. The authors of the study assume that the reason for the food diary is that it is simply too cumbersome to record every meal and every food in the app over a long period of time.
Overall, however, the digital tools led to success. In three months, the participants in the study lost an average of six percent of their starting weight. The more reliably the test persons recorded their eating habits and activities, the more successful the decrease was.
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How the results of the study can help you lose weight
Everyone has to find their own way to lose weight healthily. As was also shown in the study, you have to turn two important screws: your diet and your exercise. An activity tracker and a food diary as an app can help you with this. Because once you write down what you consume throughout the day, you will quickly find out where the calorie traps are lurking. Nice side effect: You automatically eat less over time because you realize how quickly unhealthy snacks can hit your hips. Instead of the sugary chocolate bar, in future you will prefer to grab the apple and lose weight. Through the food diary, the study participants slowly learned to change their eating habits over a period of three months.
Another practical feature also helped them: The participants had the opportunity to use their app to scan groceries in the supermarket. So they could see at a glance how healthy it is and what nutritional values it contains. A useful tool if you are unsure in the supermarket.
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Food diary and activity tracker are useful for losing weight – but only if you use them regularly
At the same time as you change your diet, you should get yourself moving – But that doesn’t mean that you have to do the next high intensity training in your gym. Start with moderate exercise and slowly increase. For example, you can start with a brisk walk and then jog short distances at some point. Find a sport that you enjoy and try a few things. Then it will be easier for you to really stick with it and train regularly. You might also ask a good friend if she would like to do sports with you – then you can motivate each other.
It is also important to integrate movement into your everyday life. So climbing stairs instead of a lift, cycling instead of driving to work or getting off the bus earlier and walking to the last stop. An activity tracker is very practical: It records how much you move during the day and, depending on the model, even motivates you if you get a little lazy. You will see that even small changes can make a huge difference!
In the study, the tracker’s pedometer alone was of great help to the participants. If you can see how much you’ve achieved at the end of the day or at the end of the week, that’s the best motivational boost for long-term, permanent weight loss.
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