As challenging as it is to lose weight, for many people an even more daunting problem is avoiding, or at least limiting, the weight regain that tends to follow. Metabolic adaptations may account for some weight regain, but many people find that relapse into old habits is clearly involved, too. Is there help beyond ironclad self-discipline?
Tracking your weight and targeting specific changes in eating, exercise and sitting time can both be powerful tools for weight loss. Previous Smart Bytes® posts featured interviews with Rebecca Krukowski, PhD, discussing research on frequency of weight checks and other behavior change tips for weight loss. Dr. Krukowski, a clinical psychologist on faculty at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, provides additional insights on tracking’s role in avoiding relapse in the video interview shared here.
After hearing from Dr. Krukowski, read on for my take on how new research presented an American Heart Association conference I recently attended can address the all-to-common problem of weight loss habits relapse, and help take maintaining a healthy weight from daunting to doable.
You’ve heard all about how important physical activity is for not just weight control, but for many aspects of health, and you’ve been trying to walk more often. So why would you want some sort of monitor to track your physical activity? That’s what I used to think. But now, for me and for many patients with whom I’ve worked, I know why.
Yes, people have made headlines with reports that using a tracker led them to gain weight. However, there’s more to that story.
Although American adults are walking more, less than half of American adults (47%) reach the federal recommendation of at least 150 minutes each week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking), or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity, or an equivalent combination. That’s unfortunate, since these guidelines note more than this minimum brings even greater health benefits.
Here’s the clincher: The statistics illustrate exactly why I know I need an activity tracker — only 16.3% of American adults reach the oft-heard recommendation to accumulate at least 10,000 steps a day. In fact, 36.1% of American adults qualify as sedentary, defined as less than 5,000 steps a day.
How can nearly half of Americans get 30 minutes of activity most days, yet accumulate steps so much lower than you might think? If most of your day is spent sitting and at a low activity level, it takes more intentional activity to reach levels of activity associated with health.
Will an Activity Tracker Make a Difference?