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Why Tracking Your Calories Doesn’t Work — But Mindfulness Does

by Andreas Michaelides

Roughly 19 million Americans wear fitness trackers to help them manage their weight but, tracking behaviors alone isn’t enough to create lasting results. Being mindful can help.

A two-year study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found participants who didn’t wear a fitness tracker actually lost more weight than those who did wear a device.

While fitness trackers can be a helpful piece of the weight loss puzzle, they cannot account for all the necessary behavioral aspects that should be considered in order to drive long-term meaningful results. Feedback from fitness trackers does not take into account how the mind plays a part in the weight loss journey.

In a recent peer-reviewed study published in the British Medical Journal Open Diabetes Research & Care (BMJ), Noom looked at weight loss in individuals with prediabetes.

The study followed  43 overweight or obese adult participants with a diagnosis of prediabetes who completed 24-weeks of the program, which provides human coaching through a strictly mobile platform.

The BMJ study found that actions that stimulated self-awareness – like logging food, weighing yourself – contributed significantly to 64 percent of the study participants to lose more than 5 percent of their body weight.

Under the Noom weight loss program, users are encouraged to log their meals, physical activity and moods, making them aware of habits or behaviors that often go unnoticed. The process of uncovering these habits is essential to the behavior change and weight loss journey. These behaviors are underutilized when technologies like fitness trackers do all the heavy lifting.

Or in more simple terms, wearable devices provide a passive form of monitoring, which deprives the person from learning about themselves and their behavior. Developing mindfulness around eating and exercising is an important part of the weight loss journey. Continued