How Your Fitness Tracker Helps You Lose Weight

February 16, 2015

A fitness tracker is an excellent complement to a weight loss program, but it won’t magically make the pounds fall off. A fitness tracker can give you valuable insight about your health habits, if you use it the right way. But in order to reap those health benefits, you need to know what the statistics mean and how to use them to move forward and reach your weight loss goal.

Change your goal. The American Heart Association recommends taking 10,000 steps per day to increase physical activity and prevent heart disease. Remember, 10,000 steps per day is a starting point. Change your goal regularly to challenge yourself. If it’s easy to take 10,000 steps, increase your goal to 12,000, then 14,000, etc. Coasting too long at one goal will ultimately lead to a plateau, and you will stop seeing significant results.

Create mini goals throughout the day. Spreading your activity out throughout the day makes your goal more attainable. In addition to your daily goal, create mini goals to help keep your daily goal in perspective. For example, if your goal is to take 10,000 steps, aim to take 5,000 before lunch. This way, you’re not stuck with squeezing in 8,000 steps after work.

Use the Food Diary. Weight loss starts in the kitchen. A food diary is an excellent self-monitoring tool, and research shows it works! Record everything you eat and compare it to your activity. Aim to burn more calories than you consume to stay on weight loss track.

But take the calories-burned statistics with a grain of salt. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found fitness trackers overestimate the calories you burn throughout the day, ranging from 10 percent to 23 percent. Fitness trackers calculate calorie burn based on height, weight, and activity, however, these are not the only factors of the equation. Metabolism also plays a big role. Use the number as guide, but be conscious that it may not be completely accurate. Your medical provider can give you a better idea of how many calories should consume per day.

Share with your friends. Many fitness trackers allow you to share your stats with others. Don???t be shy; use this feature! It will keep you accountable and motivated to move. If you see a friend has taken 12,000 steps, and you’ve only taken 8,000, you’ll want to get up and take a walk. There’s not thing wrong with a little friendly competition.

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