Technology for Health and Weight

Apr 20, 2022
Technology for Health and Weight

When we want to change our eating habits or our exercise routine, we know that writing things down in a journal can be helpful. While a journal is always a great weight loss tool, technology has stepped in to help us gain more insight into our food, sleep, vitals, and activity levels. We can use different tech products to help us find accountability partners, log steps, track sleep, gain insight into metabolism and monitor calories consumed and burned. 

Some fitness trackers include Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Oura ring.  These help us set and track movement, exercise, and standing goals. While it is important to move and exercise, many of us have jobs that are sedentary, so having an awareness of how much we stand is so helpful.  The Apple watch, for example, will remind you to stand up and move around for at least 12 hours each day. After moving around for a minute or more, the watch will record that you did it. If you want to set a movement goal of steps or minutes of exercise, these trackers can help you reach these goals.

Studies show the more we track our food, the more successful we are with weight loss and maintenance.  Some food trackers include MyFitnessPal, Noom Lose It!, and CarbManager. Self-monitoring with these food trackers allows us to monitor the food choices we are making, detect when we indulge, and become more intentional with choices in the future. You might want to explore one of these trackers or simply keep an old-fashioned journal.

Sleep is so important for our overall well-being.  I cannot stress this enough!  Sleep trackers include Apple Watch and Oura Ring. The Oura Ring is a wearable technology that has been used by the NBA that gives insight into how much deep and REM sleep the wearer is getting, while providing additional measurements including resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and temperature.  Overall, the wearer gets a sleep “score” and a readiness “score” and the technology provides suggestions on activity, bedtime routine, and other factors to improve sleep quality and overall health.

Metabolic flexibility means one can more easily alternate between using fats and using carbs as a source of fuel. This can help lead to permanent weight loss, weight maintenance, and improved fitness performance.  The Lumen is a machine that calculates a RER (Respiratory Exchange Ratio) which measures exhaled CO2 and can determine if someone is mostly burning fat vs carbs on a daily basis (If there is a higher CO2 the user is burning more carbs and if lower CO2 more fat).  This information can help the user guide meal planning for the day with the goal becoming more metabolic flexibility and gain more insight into how certain foods and exercise impact how much fat they may be burning.

Finally, Continuous Glucose Monitors are traditionally machines used by Type 1 Diabetics to gain improved glucose control. However, recently many non-diabetics have been exploring how this data could be used for health. With a CGM, the user can see in real time how their diet and lifestyle affect glucose levels and learn insights into metabolic health.  Most CGMs require a prescription, but some newer technology is coming out for people to track their glucose without their doctor’s order. 

If you think any of these tools might help you become more aware of your current activity or nutrition, set new goals, or change habits then you might want to explore incorporating one or many of these tools into your life.


DISCLAIMER: Sarah Smith MD is a medical doctor, but she is not your doctor, and she is not offering medical advice on this website.  If you are in need of professional advice or medical care, you must seek out the services of your doctor or health care professional.