How Wearable Fitness Trackers are Making Weight Loss Goals More Attainable
Fitness trackers and tech can help you reach your goals of getting fit, improving your health, or losing weight – as long as your goal is realistic. Today's fitness devices measure steps, monitor your heart rate, estimate both the number of calories consumed and those burned. They can also monitor activity and even your sleep patterns.
The Psychology of Tracking
The simple act of wearing the device doesn't do much to help you reach your goals. However, what fitness trackers do is cause an increase in your awareness of things like steps, calories intake, and vital signs. What you do with the awareness and how you utilize the data will help you achieve your goal. We all love to challenge ourselves. Even the least competitive among us can be spurred into competition with themselves, which is what the fitness trackers provide.
Fitness Trackers Create Awareness
A tracker like those from JawBone, FitBit, Nike, and Garmin, not only count the number of steps you take, but some will break down your goals into the number of your average waking hours and sets intermediate goals for you. The device will vibrate or notify you if you aren't on track to meet your intermediate target. That reminder will help create more awareness, which will motivate you to take corrective action.
The calorie counting feature lets you keep track of the calories you consume each day. They also automatically follow the number of calories you have burned. Since most people underestimate how many calories they consume, this awareness of the calorie excess prompts most people to make better choices and get that ratio back under control.
We know that not getting enough sleep can hinder weight loss. Lack of sleep affects the hormones that tell you when you are full. When you are sleep-deprived, your body makes more of the chemical ghrelin. This hormone sends signals to the brain which makes you feel instantly hungry. Your body also makes less of a hormone called leptin; this signals to your brain when your stomach is full. Although a fitness tracker cannot control your hormones, it can make you aware that you are not getting enough of the rest you need to get a good night's sleep.
Wearing a fitness tracker does not alone create weight loss or help you reach your fitness goals. It can help by creating awareness of the behaviors that impact your goals and your health. Because it is a natural human inclination to make a corrective action —when we are aware of the need to do so, fitness trackers can be excellent tools to have.
author: Sally Writes