What do devices, like Apple Watch and FitBit actually do? Will they give you motivation to lose weight? Will they help you keep it off?
Let’s start with what they can track. The list is pretty impressive:
- Activity (calories burned, steps taken)
- Heart rate (intensity of exercise, resting heart rate, HRV)
- Sleep (deep, REM, light, wake time, blood oxygen levels)
- Personal metrics (resting metabolic rate, skin temperature, blood glucose levels, levels of strain and recovery)
But how does all of this affect your results? And how can you use it for motivation to lose weight?
Wearables are helpful for setting up your plan. Tracking your progress. Making decisions about when to change your plan. Let you know when you can push harder. Or when you need to pull back.
Sounds great. What’s the drawback?
They don’t make you follow through. And depending on how you interpret the data, can demotivate you and set the stage for a backslide.
You might selectively track data that doesn’t challenge you or move you forward. The numbers can become meaningless. Or a constant reminder that you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do.
So what’s the difference between your Apple Watch or Fitbit helping you with the motivation to lose weight versus feeling like a nagging mother-in-law who thinks you’ll never be good enough for her baby?
The difference is your mindset. Why you decide to wear it. How you choose to think about the numbers. Intentionally viewing the data to motivate you. To provide the feedback you need to keep going.
Another important note: The calorie burning info from wearables is inaccurate and incomplete. Even so, they provide a consistent measurement to use as a barometer for improvement. But don’t expect to measure calories in and calories out with any degree of success – I actually recommend NOT counting calories.
Which wearable you use is less important than using it the right way. As data to inform your future decisions. Not to lament what you didn’t do.
Set yourself up for success. When you create your plan, use your wearable to get a baseline (i.e., look at what you want to track and then measure where you are right now). Don’t make the mistake of jumping right into setting goals and tracking info without a true look at your current habits. That can lead to your desire outstripping your capacity.
Then set your goal and track the info. If you use the data correctly, it can help you follow through consistently. That’s how your wearable becomes motivation to lose weight.