We often see wearable fitness trackers as tools that can help us become healthier and even lose weight. But what if your fitness tracker is sabotaging your weight loss goals?
In a recent study, participants who used wearable fitness trackers lost less weight than those who self-monitored and tracked their exercise manually. On average, the people without wearable trackers lost 13 pounds during the study. Those with wearable fitness trackers only lost an average of eight pounds.
Further research is needed to fully explain these findings, but researchers have offered some possible reasons. Is your wearable fitness tracker helping or harming your health goals? Start with some self-reflection and ask yourself these questions:
Are you more concerned with “closing your rings” than making sure you’ve stay active throughout the day?
This includes shaking your wrist while sitting to “get credit” for standing or walking around. Make sure you are focusing on healthy behaviors—such as moving frequently, drinking plenty of water, and eating healthy foods when you’re hungry. Focus less on the technology and more on developing and maintaining habits that lead to sustained weight loss.
How do you feel on a day when you don’t meet the goals on your tracker?
If you get disappointed, you could also be tempted to just give up on your goals. While our trackers can be great to help us stay on track, they shouldn’t bring down our moods or discourage us from our commitment to eat healthy and exercise.
Has your tracker helped you commit to a new health behavior or contributed to you falling off the bandwagon?
If your fitness tracker helps keep you on top of your goals, great! If not, consider why that might be.
Do you like some friendly competition?
Many fitness trackers allow you to share your progress with friends and compete in challenges. If competing with others motivates you to win, this might be a great feature for you. If it stresses you out with new expectations or pressures, you can always opt out of this feature.
There is still more to learn about the long-term effectiveness of wearable fitness trackers. For now, you can be more aware of how these trackers might help—or hurt—your goals and move forward with a better plan.
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