Weight loss is simple in theory: You burn more calories than you take in. Advances in fitness technology help dieters more accurately track their calorie deficit and share their progress using social media or private networks of like-minded users; both approaches help you to keep up your discipline and melt away the unwanted inches on your waist and thighs. In addition, helper gadgets like music players and even video-game systems provide a mental kick to keep up motivation. The right mix of fitness technology just might help you cross the finish line for your weight-loss goal.
Calorie and Exercise Trackers
Because the arithmetic of weight loss is so straightforward, part of the challenge for dieters is to accurately record their intake (food) and output (exercise) to arrive at an accurate daily calorie budget. Smartphones and tablets for all operating systems feature dozens of apps that will help you manage your daily calorie balance.
For example, MyFitnessPal, a free app for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iPad and Windows Phone, features an easy-to-use interface for tracking the names and portion sizes of everything you eat or drink and the duration and intensity of your workouts. The app connects to a large database of food so you can select a particular meal and the system will supply the nutritional information. The app even includes a bar code reader — just scan the label and the app will identify it.
Some apps include additional features. Livescape, available for Windows Phone, integrates with Microsoft HealthVault; sync Livescape with HealthVault to integrate your diet and exercise routine with your medical records and prescription history to better inform your physician about your lifestyle habits.
Apps like RunKeeper for Android and iOS emphasize exercise tracking; the app logs various forms of exercise and even includes GPS tracking and timers to log intensity-of-workout measures you can use to refine your exercise program.
Scales and Monitors
Traditional spring-loaded bathroom scales remain functional workhorses of the bathroom, but some scales with Wi-Fi connections will log your weight over time and display your body-mass index.
The Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale, for example, records your weight-related data and uploads it to your account on Fitbit.com. The information is also accessible on Fitbit’s iPhone/iPad app. The scale’s data integrates with other information tracked by Fitbit products.
People with a history of heart disease, or obese people trying to lose weight, may find value in recording blood pressure. A steady graph of blood pressure, recorded daily or weekly, helps inform your conversations with your physician and alert you to changes in your cardiopulmonary fitness. Electronic monitors, available at most pharmacies, feature self-inflating arm cuffs and sensors that display pressure and pulse.