Do you use fitness trackers to lose weight? You’re not alone. Trackers like the Fit Bit and the Apple Watch are incredibly popular, it feels like everyone has one. Makes sense! Wearing something that’s continuously counting your steps, makes you want to add more and more steps. Right? The more you move, the more weight you lose. Well, it turns out that might not actually be the case.
According to a study recently published in medical journal JAMA, using a tracker doesn’t necessarily increase your chances of losing weight.
Researchers observed about 500 adults who were asked to go on a low calorie diet, with some exercise, and even counseling. 6 months into the 2 year study, researchers asked half of the participants to start using a fitness tracker. The other half, continued to log their exercise and calorie intake online. What the study found was very interesting! Those who used a “wearable technology device to a standard behavioral intervention resulted in less weight loss.” Overall, each group improved in “body composition, fitness, physical activity, and diet…” but, it wasn’t because some used a fitness tracker.
The participants of the study were asked to somewhat change their diet, not just exercise. According to an article from The New York Times, relying on exercise alone to help you lose weight may not be enough. “In the adult population, interventional studies have difficulty showing that a physically active person is less likely to gain excess weight than a sedentary person.” Making sure your diet supports your weight goal is key, but that’s not to say exercise isn’t important – they both play a role in losing weight.
What have we learned? “Devices that monitor and provide feedback on physical activity may not offer an advantage over standard behavioral weight loss approaches,” according to the study in JAMA. There’s nothing wrong with using these fitness trackers to count your steps, heart rate, and calorie’s burned – but relying on them solely to lose weight might not be enough.