Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a simple app on your phone could accelerate weight loss?
Judging by the number of apps, programmes and gadgets out there, there’s no shortage of developers trying to create a product to help achieve this goal.
There are phone apps that tell you what to eat and give access to hundreds of recipes. You can track your calories in precise detail, scanning barcodes and accessing global databases of foods. Detailed graphs show exactly how much weight you will lose if you follow the plan.
Technology allows us to track almost every health measure imaginable. A fitness tracking watch will tell you exactly how many steps you are doing each day, how fast your heart is beating and even the different sleep cycles you go through each night. Jumping on the scales to weigh yourself seems archaic compared to new tests available where blood samples, urine and breath analysis are used to find out if your body is burning fat for energy.
Health can even be analysed at a genetic level. A saliva sample can give insights into how key health markers like inflammation, cardiovascular health and fat metabolism are regulated, showing you where you may potentially be vulnerable to illness.
We humans certainly have a thirst for knowledge, but does it actually help, or are we overcomplicating things unnecessarily?
I’ve found that people who really love data do have increased motivation when they have more data to analyse, especially when they can see with evidence that their actions are working. I’ve seen clients completely change their behaviours when their DNA profile shows the potential impact of lifestyle choices at a genetic level.
Studies back this up. Researchers from the University of Cambridge found in a large study last year that digital technologies that allowed tracking of eating behaviours and physical activity were effective in improving weight loss and reducing calorie intake in overweight adults, leading to better results compared to people who weren’t tracking.
However, I also see people get very frustrated when they are spending time (and money) tracking their actions but not seeing the promised results. This may mean they quit because they feel that their efforts are not working.
I remember the words of a university Professor when asked about the technicalities of different weight loss devices. His advice was simple: “If you are trying to lose weight and want to know if it’s working, just stand naked in front of the mirror once a week and see if your body shape is changing. It’s as simple as that.”
Weight loss can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Apps, devices and tests can offer deeper insights into the data, but it is certainly not a ‘must have’. My clients who fill in a food diary on paper are just as successful as those who use a phone app.
What really matters is finding what works for you as an individual and then developing the patience, consistency and determination to not give up until you reach your goal.
If this could be bundled up and sold as an app, I’m sure it would be a winner!