Everyone is looking for a way to reduce their weight and be healthier. One of the hottest holiday gifts this year was the FitBit health tracker. My 13-year-old son Nick received one and I have noticed him being more mindful of eating sugar and staying active. He said that “It’s made working out and exercising fun and easy. Almost like a game, and your opponent is yourself.”
Wearable trackers make you aware of your activity level or lack thereof, and motivate you to move more. They help you monitor your sleep patterns and loosely help track calories. I say loosely because unless you prepare and measure/weight the food your eating, it’s difficult to accurately estimate your exact daily calorie intake. That being said, studies have found that wearing a tracker may help people lose weight as if they attended an in-person weight-loss sessions (EatingWell.com).
One pitfall of the trackers is that they give you a false sense of calories burned, which many people believe means you can eat that many more calories and break even. The most accurate way to track calories burned during exercise is with a heart rate monitor. But utilizing either shouldn’t communicate a ‘free-pass’ for unhealthy foods if weight loss is your goal.
If your expectation in using a tracker is to lose weight, then your mindset surrounding food needs to change to promote the healthy goals of walking more steps. Whole foods, versus processed, should be chosen for flavor, but also for nutritional value and energy boosting qualities. Protein from meat and non-meat sources helps the natural process of muscle tearing/rebuilding when you exercise. It also makes you feel full for longer. Whole fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and often times, fiber.
Another ‘halo-effect’ of trackers is the recommendation for 10,000 steps. It’s a great start for beginners, but 10,000 steps will not produce significant weight loss; it will help to improve your health. For greater results, you will need to raise the bar which should include weight based exercises as well as cardio. Even including Pilates or yoga can improve muscle tone and flexibility.
Be aware though that these tools can be addictive! I’ve heard stories of people not wanting to go to bed until they walk around the house because they haven’t met their step-goal. There are worse problems to have. If you choose to include these tools as part of your healthier lifestyle plan, I hope you see the health results you desire.
I began Paula’s HealthyLiving.com to share my passion for staying fit, eating healthy and scheduling rest time. As a 50 year old mother of 3, I understand that it can be difficult to make healthy meals, exercise and carve out time for you, while constantly doing this juggling act called, life!
Healthy eating and exercising on a regular basis gives me self-confidence and personal satisfaction. I encourage my readers to eat whole foods instead of processed foods that are not as nutritious because that processing removes the nutritious elements in the food. They do not help you achieve your body-shape or long-term health goals. When I cook my families’ food, I’m in control of the sugar, salt, and the type of oils used.
It is difficult to resist temptations of fast foods, desserts, soda pop, and skipping workouts, but by making a commitment to your ‘best health’, you can be successful! Change your view toward healthy foods as fuel for all your systems. Take control. Educate yourself your family.
I don’t believe any ONE PERSON has all the answers. Be open minded but critical. Be logical, but have wild-abandon. Know that baby steps begin before a sprint…and love yourself for trying!!!