Technology and Weight Loss: Is it For You?
It seems like every day there is a new device or app guaranteed to make our lives easier or more organized. Weight loss apps and wearable devices are no exception. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of downloadable apps that can be accessed on a smartphone, tablet, computer or wearable device, such as Fitbit or an Apple Watch.
Apps can be a helpful tool for people who are overweight or have obesity and are trying to lose weight and maintain the loss. Each app has its own features (and cost), but most share core functions that allow you to track weight, food, water and activity. Several also have recipes, support groups and exercise programs, and some can link to your other devices. This lets them track your steps or sync other physical activities as part of your overall weight loss program.
Apps and other technologies can be a great resource, but not everyone is comfortable using technology. For some, the thought of spending more time online or downloading yet another app is more effort than it is worth. Apps are helpful when they offer easy-to-use tools that support your journey and help you towards your goals. If they are too difficult to use or don’t provide you with helpful features, there are other tracking methods that can be equally effective.
Keeping a notebook to track meals and progress works great for some people, and you can easily and quickly go back to review your notes and progress. Some people prefer to track body measurements, take weekly photos or monitor how their clothes fit. Maybe you would rather just jot some key information on your calendar, either paper or electronic. While there is no right or wrong way to track your progress, research shows that keeping track helps people stick to a program, so take a few minutes after each meal or at the end of the day to measure your progress.
If you think an app can help you with your weight loss journey, definitely take some time to do your homework to find out what features would be most helpful for your specific needs. For example, patients who follow the New Direction program can access Robard’s app, MyHealthyJourney. This can be used to track weight, meals, water consumption and exercise; schedule appointments; and send messages to coaches. Plus, health care providers can check patients’ progress and can send alerts to help achieve goals. Most patients – 90 percent! – find that the app simplifies the program and helps them stay connected to their doctor. This is important because, as we all know, losing weight is difficult, so understanding how the program works and being able to access supportive coaches helps eliminate confusion and frustration.
Gaining weight doesn’t happen overnight and losing it won’t happen overnight either. But every step you take (literally and figuratively!) towards your weight loss goals is worth recording and celebrating or reflecting on as a learning experience. Maybe you’re an app person, maybe not, so whatever works for you is what works!