It’s a beautiful, sunny day here on Long Island, and after I’m done writing this to you, I’ll be heading to an afternoon full of client appointments, and then a softball doubleheader tonight. This is the last week of the regular season in my weeknight softball league, and since we were rained out a few weeks back, we also have to play on Wednesday night of this week, as well. Throw in my Holiday Jump Start Program members’ call tomorrow (Tuesday) night, and a meeting with the Community Outreach Committee for a Weight Loss Clinic I’m going to be running at a local Wellness Center on Thursday night, it’s going to be a week filled with plenty of long nights :-p
Now then, yesterday afternoon, I was watching my beloved Jets lose in heartbreaking fashion to the Miami Dolphins on Fox, and there was commercial after commercial for the new FitBit model. If you’ve been attempting to get healthy and to lose weight for a decent amount of time, then you probably own a fitness watch. Heck, I have an Apple Watch!
So, being that these digital watches are the big thing in fitness these days, can they really help you to lose weight? The answer, in my humble opinion? Both yes and no.
Let me explain…
Fitness watches track a wide variety of things: Your calories burned, your heart rate, your step count, and your workout duration – Among several other things! While I believe fitness trackers are great motivational tools to improve your health and to keep you moving, I’m not a big believer in their ability to help you lose weight.
Over my 10 years in the health and fitness industry, I’ve done quite a bit of research about healthy, sustainable weight loss. In fact, that’s what my whole service is based upon – Simple strategies that will help you to make PERMANENT change! Here’s what I believe to be the three-tiered hierarchy of Permanent Weight Loss:
Notice that the foundation (the largest part) of the pyramid is Mindset – That is, you must have both the desire and the execution of healthy eating and regular exercise (the two smaller, physically-based rungs above it) in order to reach your goals, and to STAY THERE! Losing weight in a healthy, sustainable way isn’t about going on some crash diet, or about killing yourself in the gym for six months – This is a lifestyle CHANGE that you have to embrace and maintain for the rest of your life!! Out of the two physical elements (Exercise and Nutrition), Nutrition is BY FAR the most important component. While exercise has certainly been linked to improved health, and while it can certainly help to expedite the process on your weight loss journey, it is NOT, I repeat, NOT all that crucial to you losing weight, or you keeping it off.
When I hear people say that they’re going to work out extra hard the day after binge-drinking or binge-eating crappy foods and beverages, I cringe! This mentality is what keeps so many people in that constant cycle of yo-yoing, and from never actually reaching their goals long-term. I get that it’s a new age version of self-flagellation, but come on! You really think that weight loss is simply all about an energy balance equation?
I’m not saying that restricting calories won’t help you to lose weight – It will, but only for a short period of time! When our bodies are constantly consuming fewer calories than they’re expending, our bodies will eventually go into a starvation mode. Unlike when they’re not in a starvation mode, and our bodies will either burn or increase its fat stores depending on the types of macronutrients that we eat, our bodies in starvation mode will hold on to EVERY SINGLE OUNCE of food ingested, good, bad, or indifferent, and store it as fat! It’s an evolutionary mechanism designed to prevent us from starving to death during periods of drought and famine.
This is why measuring calories burned through a fitness watch isn’t the best strategy. For starters (and to repeat my point earlier), exercise is NOT all that important for losing weight. It helps to expedite the process when coupled with good nutrition, but the eating part is what most people are missing these days. Second, even if we were to pretend for a moment that this caloric input/output measurement truly mattered, digital watches do NOT accurately measure the number of calories burned either during a workout or throughout the day accurately. According to an article published on the Stanford Medicine News Central website earlier this year, these devices use their companies proprietary algorithms to calculate calories burned. The issue with that is that EVERYONE is different, and as a result, each individual burns calories at differing rates based upon age, gender, height, medical history, weight, etc.
Personally, I only use my Apple Watch for three reasons: 1) To keep an eye on incoming calls and messages when I’m with clients, 2) To use the stopwatch feature for both my clients and for myself during exercise, and 3) To push myself when I’m working out!
In the grand scheme of things, the more you move, the better off you’ll be! Will my taking 10,000 steps in a day get me anywhere? Only if I eat well, and if it was challenging for me. When I’m struggling through a workout and I see my heart rate (which, by the way, these devices now read within 5% of the actual measure!) is lagging, I’ll force myself to pick things up a bit and not simply go through the motions on day where I don’t seem to have it!
The Main Takeaway: Fitness watches can be GREAT sources of motivation to hold you accountable and to keep you moving on your health and your weight loss journey. However, in terms of actually helping you lose weight, they’re having you look at the wrong aspect of your lifestyle. Without high quality nutrition and without the right mindset centered around both reaching and sustaining your goals, these are just shiny objects that won’t get you too far on your weight loss journey.
P.S. If you’re looking for more messages like this about Permanent Weight Loss, then you’re definitely going to want to join the Permanent Weight Loss Community I recently opened on Facebook 😉
This group is for people who are looking to lose 50 or more lbs, is for people who are looking to prevent debilitating, impending disease(s) due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, and is for people who are looking to avoid undergoing weight loss surgery. It is for folks who are tired of wasting money on fad diets, on short-term fitness programs, and on BS supplements that do nothing more than keep you in a constant cycle of yo-yoing with both your weight and your health.
Members of this group will learn how to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable and PERMANENT way! As a result, you’ll never have to count calories again, you’ll never have to pay for a gym membership you’ll never use, and you’ll never have to go under the knife for a procedure that can’t possibly guarantee long-term health and weight loss results.
If this sounds good to you, then join us! We’re a community of likeminded individuals who want the same thing that you do: Permanent Weight Loss!
To join, please go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/pwl50plus/