It's time to hop on the technology train. Destination: staying on track. No matter where you are in your weight loss journey, whether you are looking at weight loss surgery procedures or several years pos-op, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will present challenges. However, utilizing technology platforms to help people lose weight, exercise weight, and even drink enough water, can simplify or lessen these challenges and motivate you to stay on the right track.
The inspiration for this post came from one of our patients, Chris, who loves using different apps and electronics to keep him on track to achieve his weight loss goals.
When you’ve lost over 35 pounds in just over two months after having bariatric surgery, you’re doing something right. Below is his information:
Surgery date: 4-1-19
Total weight loss: 127 lbs.
Starting weight: 428 lbs.
Current weight as of August 2019: 301 lbs.
Comorbidity: sleep apnea
Chris's Bariatric Story
Chris had been thinking of having weight loss surgery for a while. With being inactive combined with a fattening diet, Chris couldn’t justify living that lifestyle, nevermind keep up with his girlfriend. Chris felt as though he was not just embarrassing himself, but his girlfriend as well. After meeting Dr. Korman and deciding to undergo the gastric sleeve procedure, Chris turned his life around. Here is an overview of his lifestyle now:
Physical Activity: walks for 30 minutes every day, 1 mile and change
Breakfast: high protein shake
Lunch: cheese, lean protein turkey
Dinner: low carb version of family cooked meal
Snack: piece of cheese, hummus
Along this transformation, How does Chris stay committed to this revamped lifestyle? The answer: technology. His two favorite ways to stay on track are with his Apple Watch, which he utilizes to track his calorie burn throughout the day, and the Cronometer app (syncs with the Health app on iPhones), which granularly breaks down the food he eats to track the grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fats he is eating throughout the day.
There are countless apps, programs, gadgets- it could make your head spin. So we did the head spinning instead. With Chris’s use of technology to track his progress as inspiration, we have created a resource guide for you. However, before you go ordering gadgets online and downloading apps galore, take Chris’s advice into account: While these technological tools are great for helping weight loss surgery patients stay on track, Chris also points out to “take the technology stuff with a grain of salt.” The apps won’t be as effective as an EKG or a blood pressure monitor.
Along with Chris's top picks, we also did our own research, and surveyed Dr. Korman’s Facebook Support Group members. We asked members which tools were their favorite and most helpful. While we list plenty of resources, don't feel like you need to take on everything at once. Try one suggestion, even just for a month, to reap the benefits.
Hit the App Store
As its name suggests, Baritastic was designed specifically for weight loss surgery patients. With a rating of 4.8/5 stars on Apple’s app store, Baritastic sets itself apart from other health related apps with features including a bite timer to help you slow down while eating during meals, or reminders to drink water and take your vitamins throughout the day. The app even has a journal where you can track your physical and emotional well being.
My Fitness Pal has shown to be a favorite in the bariatric community even though it is not specifically for bariatric patients. Straight from the App Store, “I pay $50 a year and you can track everything you make on it. You can scan bar codes etc so when I make a meal I scan everything I use for the recipe and then divide it into 8 or 12 portions. Invaluable.”
Integrating with FitBit and a searchable database of over 300,000,000 food items, they are the “easiest to use food diary on the web.” If there’s something that’s not listed on the 300,000,000 food item list, you can add an item - even your own recipes! With their discussion forums, you can learn from others, share tips, even make friends.
The premium version, which is $9.99/month or $49.99/year, includes all the free features plus bonus features included priority customer service and the ability to export data to analyze your calorie intake / expenditure over time.
Staying on track doesn’t have to be confined to a series of apps. Organizers have utilized social media platforms to create communities for bariatric patients to form connections with others from around the world.
A closed group, My Bariatric Kitchen is a community of thousands of bariatric patients who coach, support each other, and of course, swap recipes. There is a list of rules members must follow including no negativity.
The Electronic Accessories
Apple watch - Starts at $279 - $599 +
You can do more than awkwardly talk into your wrist to send text messages. Take advantage of the health monitoring activities including calorie burn, heart monitor, and “gym kit.”
Note: Chris warns not to purchase a knockoff version.
Fitbit: - Ranging from $70-140
By tracking your sleep, activity, exercise, weight and more, you will stay motivated to reach your health goals.
Both the Fitbit and Apple watch allow you to have an accountability partners. This way, instead of staying on track solo, you have someone to support you and also someone to report to.
Your Workout… now in Virtual Reality
Spinning, on a new Level
Starting with the original Peloton stationary bike, doing a spinning workout at home is no longer a solitary activity. A tv screen extends from the bike, providing you with options to join an endless amount of live or on demand classes.
No Longer the #1 Cardio Torture Machine
Does the thought of lacing up your sneakers to jog on a “dreadmill” with a view of a TV - at best - make you want to stay on the couch? You’re not alone. The fitness industry also realized this and has revolutionized the treadmill experience.
Companies such as Peloton, who created the “Tread,” and NordicTrack (remember them?) have created treadmills ranging anywhere from $1800-$4300. But with the ability to live-stream classes, connect with other runners, and have access to granular data and analytics of your performance, the hum drum and boredom of the traditional treadmill has been transformed.
For an audio-only version of live classes and instructors, the Aaptive app provides exercisers the opportunity to work with coaches for only a $14.99/month subscription.
To learn more or schedule a consultation with Dr. Korman, contact us here or call the office: 310-577-5540.