Fitness Trackers Gone Wrong


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Dr Michael Dimayuga, doctor, m.d., internal medicine specialistThe internet is the source of most information today, and that is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because information is plentiful and very current; bad, because there is so much of it, sometimes it is too current, and there is little time for the average person to reflect on the meaning of the information.

Let’s take the recent situation with Fitness Trackers, gizmos and gadgets that track your physical activity through the day, calculate how many calories you burned, and give you guidance on how many calories you can consume and still lose weight. They range in price from about $50 to $200, most of them look like wrist bands, and they typically sync with a smart phone app.

There have been a spate of articles about Fitness Trackers and how people are GAINING weight while using them.   While there is no debate on the fact that it is happening, there have been discussions on why it is happening.

Some writers suggest the software in the devices is mis-calibrated – that at the end of the day you are informed that you burned more calories than you really did, and therefore over-consume food.

Medical experts from NYU have chimed in with the observation that a host of other factors – sleep duration, sleep quality, hormonal influences – affect the whole process as well.

All these ideas are worth taking into consideration, but I believe there is a basic flaw in the whole concept of fitness trackers.

The premise is, if you burn more calories than you eat, weight loss happens. And truthfully, if you happen to be in an extremely restricted environment (oh, say a refugee camp), that is exactly what happens. Fortunately for us, we don’t live in refugee camp-like environments. We have an abundance of options, in food choices, times to eat, time to sleep… you get the picture.

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About Dr. Michael Dimayuga

M.D., Internal Medicine Specialist - Clinical Instructor at Yale University 1990-1991 Chief Resident; Griffin Hospital Yale University School of Medicine, and more than 25 years practicing internal medicine. NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) Premier Diploma 2006.

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