Digital Trackers vs. Traditional Programs for Weight Loss


You don't have to look far to find someone wearing a digital fitness tracking device these days. You know, the wrist-watch-style devices like FitBit, JawBone, and the Apple Watch. These and many other digital fitness tracking devices (and mobile apps) measure the number of steps you take per day, and can help you track calories, weight, exercise minutes, sleep habits, and many other personal-health factors.

But do digital fitness tracking devices and apps work to help you lose weight? That's the question a group of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh wanted to answer. They followed 471 overweight or obese people for two years. For the first six months, everyone in the study received the same weight-loss support that included a low-calorie diet, coaching, and regular exercise program.

Then they split this group into two categories. One group received a digital fitness tracking device to monitor exercise and eating habits to lose weight. And the other group was encouraged to monitor their diet and exercise habits without technology in a more traditional weight loss program.

And you know what? The people who pursued weight loss by eating healthy and exercising on their own lost more weight than the people who were using a digital fitness tracking device. People in the fitness tracker group lost an average of 8 pounds during the two year study. And people who self-monitored their diet and exercise habits lost an average of 13 pounds in the study.

Does that mean you shouldn't use a fitness tracking device? Probably not. It's a tool that can help you learn how to monitor your progress to lose weight, keep your diet in check, and get regular exercise. Once the novelty wears off, some people have a tendency to go back to old habits. But that's when it becomes even more important to continue a self-monitoring traditional weight loss program, so you keep losing weight or at least maintain the weight loss you've achieved.

If you're trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, your food choices and exercise habits make a big difference. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to maintain a healthy weight, and 60 minutes or more of exercise a day for weight loss. But you can't out-exercise a bad diet, and that's why we created a complete line of Portion-Controlled meals that are lower in calories and sodium to help you achieve your idea weight.