Is Your Fitness App Making You Fat?
By Kimmi Sterner
Thank goodness for fitness apps, right? They help you to monitor your calorie intake, motivate you to get moving and provide different forms of accountability.
However, is it possible that these apps are actually deterring you from being more successful?
Think about your wearable devices – your Fitbit, Jawbone or Nike Fuel Band. Are you a religious user? If you bought your device less than six months ago, it’s safe to say that you’re pretty dedicated. Research shows that more than half of U.S. consumers who have owned a popular fitness tracker no longer use it. In fact, a third of U.S. consumers stopped using the device within six months of receiving it.
If you’re shaking your head at that little fact, take a look at some of the reasons WHY your fitness device might actually be making your fatter.
1. Exercise Is Not (The Only) Answer
In some cases, exercise causes many people to overeat by giving them “permission” to make up for the calories they expended during their 45 minute elliptical workout (believe me, been there, done that). This habit of splurging in one area of life after you’ve been “good” in another area phenomenon is called moral licensing.
Moral licensing is the reason why many runners gain weight while training for a race. Expending more calories during their runs “allows” them to reward themselves with indulgences throughout their day, leading them to completely counteract the health benefits of exercise.
I know when I was religiously using a popular fitness app, I would eat a meal and then head to the gym to work off exactly how many calories I thought I consumed beforehand. Healthy mindset, right?
Most fitness products emphasize on working off everything you’ve consumed that day, leading people to look to their fitness products as authorities for what is best for them without truly understanding the healthy combination of exercise and nutrition.
2. “Easy” Science Can Fail
When you express a desire to lose weight, it is usually the people who do not have a history of struggling with weight who will tell you – “That’s easy – eat less, exercise more.”
The fact of the matter is that there is a whole lot more that goes into weight loss. Lifestyle habits, mental and emotional factors, individual genetics and body types and even medications dictate how your body reacts to exercise and nutrition.
In fact, you should be eating for your body type, focusing on macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fats). Some people need more carbohydrates, while others should reduce their carb intake and increase their healthy fats.
Not every calorie is created equal. Take some time to educate yourself on nutrient-dense calories and energy-boosting nutrition!
3. “I Have To Do This”
The longest lasting behaviors are the ones you want to do, right? That is why we encourage people to find the workouts and healthy foods they truly enjoy.
Data regarding long-term usage of fitness apps shows that fitness trackers make people do things they hate doing – meaning they will most likely fail at changing long-term behaviors.
If you are a strong advocate of your wrist ridden friend, be sure you are engaging in an endeavor you enjoy. Remember, the joy (and success) is in the journey!
The keys to success are knowledge, confidence and enjoyment. Do your research, discover what makes you feel good – including the activities you engage in and the food you fuel your body with. It’s difficult to not compare yourself to the people you see as successful around you and I encourage you to find motivation in the fact that you’ve taken the initiative to make a change. Once you personalize your health efforts to your own personal factors, you’ll find immense success.
Do you know any other tips for being more successful in you exercise plan and achieving your goals? Let us know in the comments below!
Kimmi Sterner is a 20-something newbie to Los Angeles and is currently working as a Fitness and Wellness Coordinator at UCLA, with years of teaching group fitness classes under her belt. A recent graduate with herMaster’s in Health Promotion from University of Mississippi, Kimmi is eager to provide knowledge, resources and inspiration to others, which fuels her fire and gives her purpose in life. She’s already making an impact on the world and through her words, she’s excited to expand her reach to help even more people here at Fitlife!
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