A highlight from How Fitness Trackers Sabotage Weight Loss


To the nutrition. Diva podcast i'm your host. Monica reindel. lots of people used diet and activity trackers to log their food intake and their exercise after all. There is an old saying that you can't manage what you don't measure but i often see this approach. Backfiring i get email after email from people who are using these trackers and they can't understand why they're not losing weight they're entering in every morsel of food they eat and logging every activity they do. And according to their trackers they should be shedding two or three pounds a week and yet the scale hasn't budged or they've actually gained weight and i think sometimes the problem is the way we've come to think about quote unquote net calories. So here's how many of these trackers work you start every day with a certain number of calories to spend and that number is based on your height your weight your age your sex your activity level and your goals that is whether you're trying to lose gain or maintain your current weight so that's the number you start out with and then calories are subtracted from your balance as you log your meals into your diet tracker over the course of the day. So ideally you don't want to get to zero too early in the day but if you do. There is a solution. Let's say it's five pm. And i'm down to my last four hundred calories but wait. I can take an evening run. I logged that into the app. And now i've got eight hundred and forty calories to spend on dinner. I mean how awesome is that now. The general principle here is sound. The more you move the more you can eat in practice. However these net calorie calculations are inaccurate and misleading. And i think they are suckering people into eating too many calories. Although diet tracking apps can help you get an accurate picture of your calorie intake. They're much less reliable. In determining how many calories you burn and there are at least three ways that they tend to get this wrong mistake number one is that your baseline may be too high so in order to calculate your baseline calorie requirements. You indicate your activity level whether it's sedentary lightly active moderately active or very active. Now this doesn't refer to how much you exercise. We're going to get to that in just a moment. This is just about your daily activity level and guess what most people selected activity level. That's one or even two categories higher than their lifestyle actually warrants. I mean unless you rope cattle eight hours a day. Your lifestyle probably does not qualify as very active. But if you use a wearable fitness tracker like a fitbit or apple watch or even a low tech pedometer or step counter. you can use that to help you. Select the proper category for your lifestyle. And here's how this breaks down if you're taking fewer than one thousand steps a day. That's considered sedentary fewer than ten thousand steps a day. That's about four miles. A day is lightly active ten to twenty three thousand steps or four to ten miles a day. That's considered active and more than twenty three thousand steps or ten miles. A day is considered highly active. Now if you walk or run for exercise you can count those steps and or miles towards your baseline activity level if you want. But then you can't enter them again as exercise because they've already been counted mistake. Number two is that the calories burned from additional activity or exercise are often overestimated in these apps. So most dia tracking apps give you a place to manually log physical activities and exercise such as you take spinning class or you do yard work or maybe you go ballroom dancing. Alternatively there are wearable devices that sense your movement and changes in your heart rate either way though you

Coming up next