The prevalence of obesity continues to increase every year, calling for new and innovative approaches to weight loss — many of which involve technology. Although technology has been touted as the main reason for sedentary behaviors and lifestyles, the rise of digital health tools counters this claim. Research shows that 74% of digital health interventions such as websites, apps, wearable devices, and virtual assistants positively correlate with weight loss. Compared to paper-based systems, these tools are more likely to lead to self-monitoring behaviors for diet, exercise, and weight.
In this light, let’s take a closer look at how various technologies and features help people form and sustain healthy habits — long enough to lose weight and keep it off successfully.
1. Wearable technology
When digital health comes to mind, you’re most likely to associate it with wearable devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers. These devices have built-in features that help you see how many steps you take, how far you walk or run, and how many calories you burn on a daily basis. Having access to this data can then help you set weight loss goals, track your progress, and make changes to your plan as necessary.
Since losing weight healthily is also about gaining or maintaining muscle mass, fitness trackers like the Huawei Band 7 can also be used to monitor whether your activity levels are up to par with your target calorie expenditure. They can also quantify the impact of anaerobic exercises like sprinting and weight lifting on your muscle mass and physical strength based on the duration and intensity of workouts.
2. Digital wellness apps
Although wearable devices can usually be synced to smartphones, digital wellness apps provide a more direct and accessible way to monitor health-based metrics. The weight management program WeightWatchers comes with a mobile app where members can access a customized meal plan based on eating preferences, nutritional needs, and weight goals.
On top of this diet and nutrition approach, WeightWatchers also has a medical weight loss feature to help individuals with underlying medical conditions that make it hard for them to meet their weight goals. It pairs its lifestyle modification program with clinical advice and prescription medications based on BMI and medical requirements.
It must be noted that weight loss is not only focused on bodily changes but can also involve your mood, emotions, and overall mental health — whether it’s fear or anxiety that holds you back from transforming your lifestyle. As such, apps like Headspace, which are centered on meditation and mindfulness, can be integral to your weight loss plan. Aside from guided meditation exercises that help you become more mindful of your diet and exercise behaviors, some sessions help cultivate self-compassion and a healthy body image throughout your journey.
3. Smart scales
Traditional scales can limit your weight loss efforts by only measuring your weight. If you’re working toward reducing body fat and gaining muscle, the numbers on the scale won’t change and thus make you feel like you’re not making any progress.
On the contrary, smart scales can collect extensive health data such as body fat percentage, metabolic rate, muscle mass, and BMI to provide a more accurate view of your weight and body composition. Self-monitoring your weight through smart scales has also been found to contribute to more effective weight loss, fat loss, and muscle gain among obese and overweight individuals. Although this tool can be more costly than a traditional scale, the wide range of smart scales in the market can help you choose a model that best suits your budget and needs.
If you’re interested in acquiring some of these tools for your own weight loss journey, it also helps to be aware of their respective data security policies to ensure your sensitive and confidential health information remains protected. It is also advisable not to get carried away by trends and instead carefully consider whether a tool or device works for you and your lifestyle before purchasing one.