On November 4th the journal Obesity published this study online and has offered insight about the complexities of weight loss and potential limitations of an app-based approach. Weight loss apps are typical aimed at tech-savvy adults ages 18 to 35, which makes this a good article for the vast majority of blog readers.
Around thirty-five percent of this 18 to 35 age-group is overweight or obese, and that's a big problem considering that most within that group are just now developing their lifestyle habits. And while habits can change, it sure is hard to break them.
During this weight-loss app study, Duke found that on average participants who used a (specifically for the study) app only lost about 2 pounds after two years. Of course this isn't to say that weight-loss apps are a complete waste of time altogether, for some people apps alone do work and can have a huge impact on weight.
But what if you added a little more to your weight-loss routine along with the app? Continuing the study, coaches met with participants weekly for six weeks and then followed up with monthly phone meetings (not in an actual gym!). Along with the app and the coaching these people lost an average of 8 pounds after 12 months. I'll admit it, I was surprised that the average wasn't higher after having some coaching - but like most studies there are so many variables that are unknown.
The main thing that was reviewed here wasn't losing weight in a short amount of time, rather it was losing the weight and keeping it off in the long term; a task that we all know can be harder than it sounds.
So, how can you get the most out of a weight-loss app? Here's a few ideas that can correlate.
- Download a fitness/workout app that notifies you to get moving. For example, SWORKIT lite, which is free for the basic version.
- Logging your food and exercise, but not trying to eat all the calories your burned.
- In real life fitness buddies! While apps might call themselves your 'pal', there's still nothing like a face-to-face friendly motivator.
- Connecting apps together. MyFitnessPal allows you to connect other apps to it, such as a cardio tracker.
- Fitness watches that work with your app to monitor steps per day, heart rate, etc. This can help you learn about what you need to focus on.
- Investing in a personal trainer.
- Change up your diet! Try clean eating and cutting back on sugar.