A must-have item if you want to lose weight

Use this tool to successfully manage your health and weight loss goals.

Flannery Dean 0
Woman on iPod at gym

Photo: Masterfile

Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow may be able to employ a full time personal trainer to keep in red carpet-worthy shape. But there is hope for mere mortals who don’t aim for perfection, but merely want to take their health and fitness into their own hands. You too can achieve your health goals for 2013 – and all without having to take out a second mortgage to pay for a personal trainer and chef.

According to a recent article in Time magazine, fitness- and diet-related apps can be a highly effective tool through which even the most technologically ignorant are able to lose weight and keep it off.

For the study, researchers in Chicago put 70 overweight adults on a diet. Half of the participants were given mobile personal digital assistants that tracked their calorie consumption and exercise exertion. The tech tools not only kept the users in the loop about how much they were eating, but the information was also sent to a third party who would check in with the users via telephone call every few weeks to monitor their progress.

While only half of the participants had digital help, all of the participants attended a weekly health education class to help them achieve their goals.

The researchers discovered that those adults who were also given tech tools to help them lose weight lost more than those who just attended the classes alone.

But that’s not the only benefit the researchers attributed to using technology to achieve weight loss goals. Those who had the tech tools at their disposal were also more likely to have maintained their weight loss one year later.

For the study’s lead author, the success of the technological intervention indicates how important some kind of external support is to changing one’s lifestyle.

“I think it’s a mix of support and being held accountable,” said Bonnie Spring, professor of preventive medicine and the director for the Center of Behavior and Health at Northwestern Medicine, in an interview with Time.

“We all need that. We need a parental figure, helping us stay on track.”

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