New High-Tech Ways to Whittle Your Waistline
Losing weight can be a challenge. Here are some types of technology that can help you do it—and you don't have to be a tech whiz to use them.
If you’re looking to drop a pound or two or 20, no one has to tell you how hard that can be. However, there are tech tools that can help you do it. The best part? You don’t have to be tech whiz to use any of them. Keep reading for high-tech ways to whittle your waistline. (Here are 50 expert-approved ways to lose weight after 50.)
Use a digital doppelganger
A review of studies published in 2020 in Internet Interventions suggests that using an avatar (customized to look like you) can help with weight loss both in the short-term (four to six weeks) and medium-term (three to six months). It may also improve your chances for maintaining the weight loss. The review included studies that looked at avatar use in a variety of settings, including an app, 3D social virtual world environment, and a virtual reality environment. (Don’t miss this classic diet advice you can safely ignore.)
Bet on your diet
Lots of research, including a review of studies published in 2019 in Preventive Medicine, shows that financial rewards can help you reach a health-related goal. If you’re looking to put your money where your scale is, DietBet is a four-week social-dieting game. Participants put real money on themselves, and the first to lose 4 percent of their body weight wins. HealthyWage, meanwhile, uses both financial rewards and penalties. Dieters place money on their goal; if they reach it, they double their cash and if they don’t, they lose it. (Here’s exactly how long you need to diet to lose weight—and keep it off.)
Use a smart scale
The Withings Body Scale uses Bluetooth technology to sync weight information with the popular Lose It! app. The same app can be used to set and track exercise goals, sleep patterns, and calorie intake—all of which can improve your weight loss efforts. In a study, published in 2014 in Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, dieters tracked their calorie intake for eight weeks using paper and pencil, the memo feature on a smartphone, or the Lose It! app. Although all groups lost weight over the course of the study, the participants using the app were more consistent than the pencil-and-paper group. The Withings smart scale ups your chances for success by connecting you to the Lose It! online community who share similar goals, making weight loss an engaging, interactive challenge as members stay accountable to a larger group. (Here are 8 clear signs you’re on a bad diet.)
Play video games
What happens when exercise meets video games? Exergames! Like traditional exercise videos, fitness video games excuse-proof exercise by letting you work out at home. And if you think that exercise has to be a chore—or a bore—to get results, research suggests otherwise. A study published in 2019 in BioMed Research International, for instance, found that exergames can help adults reach their physical activity goals. Shape up with games such as Your Shape: Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360), Zumba Burn it Up! (Nintendo Switch), and Walk It Out (Nintendo Wii with balance board). Or try one of the newer generation exergames like Ring Fit Adventure (Nintendo Switch), which combines fantasy with a full-body workout. If you don’t have a video game system, try this low-tech way to burn calories: Blast music in your living room, and dance until you have to crash on the couch. (Dealing with depression? Science says this video game could treat it.)
Stay hydrated using a smart water bottle
Although no one’s suggesting you can lose weight simply by guzzling water, research does suggest that staying hydrated can help with weight loss in a variety of ways. One study, published in 2016 in the European Journal of Nutrition, found that participants who drank two glasses of water immediately before a meal ate 22 percent less than those who didn’t. Another study, in a 2015 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that overweight and obese women who swapped diet drinks for H2O after their main meal lost more weight than those who didn’t. The trick, of course, is tracking your intake. That’s where a smart water bottle comes in. The HydraCoach electronically tracks and calculates the amount of water consumed throughout the day. Just set your hydration goal and HydraCoach will let you know not only how much you’ve averaged per hour, it’ll also display how long it’s been since your last sip. (Here are 9 things that happen to your body when you get a full 8 glasses of water.
Use an app to track calories
Plenty of research, including a study published in 2019 in JMIR mHealth and uHealth, shows that using a mobile app can help with significant weight loss. Thing is, not all calorie-counting apps are accurate. The Cron-O-Meter nutrition tracking app uses data that’s curated from verified, accurate sources. You can track up to 82 micronutrients from more than 300,000 foods; log your diet, exercise, and biometrics info; and create custom food entries and recipes. (Check out the 7 new rules of counting calories to lose weight.)
- Internet Interventions: "Using avatars in weight management settings: A systematic review"
- Preventive Medicine: "Acceptability of financial incentives for health-related behavior change: An updated systematic review"
- Lose It!
- Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior: "Dietary Self-Monitoring, But Not Dietary Quality, Improves With Use of Smartphone App Technology in an 8-Week Weight Loss Trial"
- BioMed Research International: "Exergaming Can Be a Health-Related Aerobic Physical Activity"
- European Journal of Nutrition: "Immediate Pre-Meal Water Ingestion Decreases Voluntary Food Intake in Lean Young Males"
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Effects on weight loss in adults of replacing diet beverages with water during a hypoenergetic diet: a randomized, 24-wk clinical trial"
- JMIR mHealth and uHealth, "Comparing Self-Monitoring Strategies for Weight Loss in a Smartphone App: Randomized Controlled Trial"