yellow and red round fruit on brown and white weighing scale

Is 1200 Calories Enough?

Is 1200 calories enough? If you spend time on social media, you may be a bit confused on this issue. On the one hand there is a crowd that is vehement that 1200 is plenty (it’s actually a hashtag). And on the other hand, you can find loads of posts about how 1200 is sufficient for a toddler. So which is true?

(Click here if you’d prefer to listen to this instead of reading it)

Content Warning: Discussion of calorie restriction, dieting, and weight loss

To answer whether 1200 calories is enough, let’s look at an example of calorie restriction from the past. During WWII, researchers conducted the Minnesota Starvation Experiment in which study participants underwent 6 months of strict and heavily monitored calorie restriction. As a result of that starvation period, researchers noted the following changes in study participants: decreased energy, increased fatigue, increased moodiness, decreased libido, decreased energy and strength (~20%), slowed heart rate and decreased heart size, and decreased blood volume. They also noted that participants developed an obsession with food. Participants talked incessantly about food, dreamed about food, and ate painstakingly slowly so as to make each meal last as long as possible.

During the re-feeding period that followed, researchers noted that participants regained the weight they lost but it took much longer for them to regain the lean body mass they started with. As a result, by the time participants regained that lean body mass, they weighed more than they did before the study.

The results of this study lead one to believe that these participants were hardly eating anything at all. But, on the contrary, they were consuming about 1550 calories per day.

How many calories per day should an adult consume?

From this we can surmise that if 1550 calories per day elicited that response, then 1200 calories per day certainly can’t be much better.

So if 1200 is not enough, then how many calories should an adult consume per day? According to the FDA, adults assigned male at birth ages 21-35 should consume 2400-3000 calories per day. After the age of 40, the FDA recommends 2200-2800 calories per day. For adults assigned female at birth ages 26-50, the FDA recommends 1800-2200 calories per day. How many an individual should consume within those ranges depends on factors such as: body size, activity level, underlying conditions, goals, etc.

What about weight loss?

We typically see 1200 calories set as a limit in low calorie diets. However, you do not have to stick to 1200 calories to lose weight. You simply must maintain a small calorie deficit, meaning consume fewer calories than your body uses. Please note, that weight loss is not as simple as calories in < calories out, however, as factors such as hormone status, hydration, underlying conditions, environmental factors, and more exert an influence on our weight. However, you do need a calorie deficit to lose weight.

I have several issues with 1200 calorie diets. First, it is extremely difficult to obtain the nutrition your body needs in just 1200 calories per day. Second, that few calories will not only leave you hungry, it’s just not sustainable. Our bodies respond to intense calorie restriction like this by reacting as though we are starving. That reaction includes slowing down our metabolic processes and also enacting a series of responses that drive us to find and consume food. As a result, you can only maintain a low calorie diet for so long before you overeat or binge. This is why dieters experience weight and diet cycling. Those periods of intense restriction AKA dieting can only be sustained for so long. And when they end, the dieter regains the weight they lost (and then some) and starts a new restrictive diet. And so on and so forth.

If you seek intentional weight loss, I recommend working with a professional who can set an appropriate caloric goal personal to you.

bread food healthy beach

3 Myths about Gluten

Myths about gluten have been circulating more and more over the last several years. Indeed, as awareness of celiac and the popularity of gluten free foods have increased, myths have been multiplying. The potential to make money off this awareness only increases the potential for misinformation to crop up. In this post, I break down the 3 myths about gluten that I hear most often.

Myth 1: Gluten sensitivity and celiac are the same

Gluten sensitivity is characterized by discomfort, such as gas and bloating, following the consumption of gluten. Generally, the symptoms are not as severe or lasting as those of celiac. Furthermore, gluten sensitivity is not a gluten allergy because with a sensitivity gluten does not trigger an immune system response. There is no reliable test for gluten sensitivity.

With celiac disease, an autoimmune response to gluten causes inflammation and severe gastric symptoms. Over time, repeat exposure to gluten in someone with celiac will cause intestinal damage and related issues. To treat gluten sensitivity and celiac disease as the same trivializes the severity of celiac as even trace amounts of gluten can cause devastating symptoms in someone with celiac.

Myth 2: Gluten free foods are healthier

As awareness of issues around gluten rose, loads of gluten free fad diets and “detox” programs emerged and production of gluten free products skyrocketed. And with all of that came this idea that gluten free foods are healthier for you than foods with gluten.

The fact is that, unless you have gluten sensitivity, allergy, or celiac, there really isn’t any benefit to be gained from choosing gluten-free versions of food products. And if you’re seeking weight loss by eating gluten free foods, there really isn’t much calorie difference.

Myth 3: Gluten is unhealthy and we should all avoid it

This myth rests at the crux of the gluten-free detox fads and there is no evidence backing it up. Consuming gluten is detrimental if you have sensitivity, allergy, or celiac. However, for someone without these conditions, consuming gluten causes no harm.

If you suspect you are reacting to gluten in some way, please consult with your doctor for testing and diagnosis.

red white and yellow medication pills

MLM Supplements: Why I’m not a Fan

MLM supplements are a big thing now. Dozens of MLM companies are churning them out alongside their beauty products and essential oils. They come with loads of promises about what they can do for you, their purity, how they were tested. But are they worth it?

As a rule, I suggest my clients avoid MLM supplements. Ultimately, everyone can choose what they do and do not ingest. But for me, the risks involved here are just not worth it.

Minimal Regulation of the Supplement Industry

Here in the US, there isn’t much regulation of the supplement industry. This means that the FDA does not require supplement products be tested before hitting the market. Instead, it’s not until an issue arises that the FDA investigates. Because of this, there are supplements for sale that: a.) are more or less potent than they claim to be; b.) are adulterated with substances not listed on the label, or c.) bear inaccurate labels. Additionally, supplement companies cannot make unsubstantiated claims about the effects of their products. However, that does not stop numerous MLM distributors from doing so. In fact, from April to June of 2020 alone the FDA sent warning letters to 16 different MLM companies for their distributors making false claims about their products’ ability to protect against Covid-19. As I stated before, these issues aren’t reeled in until the FDA receives complaints.

Supplement Interactions

Many folks fail to recognize that dietary supplements are not totally innocuous. Several vitamins and minerals run the risk of toxicity when taken in excess. Additionally, some supplements can interact with prescription drugs. For these reasons, I recommend that my clients work with their physician and avoid independently starting a supplement routine.

MLM Company Structure

MLMs or Multi-Level Marketing Companies have a structure that differs from other business models. Just below corporate are the top sellers in the company. These are the lucky ones who got in early and have developed extensive downlines – or a network of sellers beneath them. Each of those sellers has their own downline and so on and so forth. Those at the top make money from the work of all the sellers beneath them.

Sellers can make money selling the product, However, it’s not very much and most MLMs require sellers to make their own monthly minimum purchase. Where the money is truly made is in recruiting more sellers to your downline. There is typically a significant recruitment bonus to be had plus the commission of the starter kits the new sellers must purchase to join. To make any significant money in an MLM, a seller must have developed a large downline with several levels of sellers.

Thus, in an MLM structure, the money is made from recruiting more sellers, not from selling products. Therefore, an MLM company has very little reason to invest in creating quality products. As MLM reps are told, it’s about selling the “opportunity.”

Do I feel OK about buying a product with little to no regulation from a company with little to no incentive to make a quality product from someone with little or no training in nutrition? No. Not at all.

MLM Supplements from Untrained Sellers

The vast majority of MLM sellers possess no training in nutrition and, yet, they sell nutrition products. So who do you go to when you have a bad reaction to that product? Who do you go to when you have questions about it? Exactly. You can’t ask the seller. And corporate certainly won’t respond. And doctors can’t be knowledgeable about every product on the market.

For these reasons, when it comes to MLM supplements, I advise avoiding them. I also recommend speaking to a physician before supplementing. Finally, I recommend consulting independent resources such as www.labdoor.com or www.consumerlab.com to choose a reputable product.

clean clear cold drink

Does the alkaline diet work?

Does the alkaline diet work? Is it safe? How does it work? Here is what you need to know.

What is the alkaline diet?

The alkaline diet is based on the debunked theory that the foods we eat can alter our body’s pH. Essentially, eating acidic foods decreases your body’s pH (making it more acidic) and that makes it a more amenable environment for cancer and other health conditions. Additionally, alkaline diet proponents claim that acidic foods leave behind “acid ash” in your body which promotes conditions like osteoporosis.

In order to promote better health, the alkaline dieter severely restricts or eliminates “acidic” foods like meat, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol. Neutral foods like ‘natural” fats, starches, and sugars, and basic or alkaline foods like fruits, nuts, legumes, and veggies are OK.

The alkaline diet emerged in the 90s as the creation of a man named Robert Young who claimed the diet could treat cancer. He was later sued and arrested for practicing medicine without a license. So…that says something about his diet creation.

Is it safe?

The alkaline diet comes with its share of risks, as does any diet that requires you to eliminate large numbers of foods from your diet. The most obvious risk is nutrient deficiency, such as iron, B12, B6, and protein. In addition to the issues that deficiencies in those nutrients can cause, there is also a risk of muscle loss with this diet as well.

Does the alkaline diet work?

The short answer is no. You simply cannot change your body’s pH with the foods you eat and that’s a good thing! The pH of our blood falls between 7.35-7.45 and the pH of our cells falls between 7.0-7.4. So our body’s pH is actually already slightly alkaline! That pH MUST stay within that range or else our cells cannot function properly. You can’t alter your body’s pH with food. If it were that easy, we would all die.

There is 0 scientific evidence to back up the alkaline diet. In fact, the WHO actually advises against the consumption of alkaline water.

Proponents often claim the alkaline diet promotes weight loss. However, any weight lost during the alkaline diet does not result from a change in body pH but rather an increase in produce consumption, which is less caloric. You can eat more produce without eliminating large swathes of foods from your diet and risking nutrient deficiency.

So the short answer to the question “does the alkaline diet work” is a resounding no.

baguette bakery blur bread

Why Low-Carb Diets Don’t Work

  • Low carb diets don’t work for effective, lasting weight loss
  • They come with several side effects

The 80s-90s had the low-fat craze and the 2000s have the low-carb craze. Proponents of low-carb and ketogenic diets proclaim their remarkable ability to help you lose weight fast, but, when really looked at, those claims simply don’t hold water.

About Low-Carb Diets

There have been a number of iterations on low-carb diets over the years – from the Atkins Diet to South Beach to the latest craze, ketogenic diets. The basic premise of them is that consuming carbohydrates makes you gain weight and so, if you cut down on carbs, you’ll lose weight. These diets range in their approach from only making certain “types” of carbs off-limits to limiting your overall carb intake in order to achieve ketosis, a state in which your body relies on fat for energy rather than glucose.

The Problems with Low-Carb Diets

How Low-Carb Weight Loss Works

Nearly everyone who has done a low-carb diet says: 1. they plateaued at a certain point and couldn’t get the scale to budge from there, and 2. once they started eating carbs again they gained all their weight back and then some.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like an effective diet to me.

In fact, numerous scientific studies have shown that low-carb and ketogenic diets are no more effective at creating weight loss than any other diet out there. In other words, just like any other diet on the market, it works for a short time but then, inevitably, you will regain the weight you lost.

So why is this?

One of the things that people love about low-carb diets is that they see a big drop in their weight very quickly. To understand why that is, we need a little science lesson.

Glucose is our body’s preferred energy source. When we eat, our body breaks down our food into smaller chemical units, including glucose. Of that glucose, what we immediately need gets used for energy and what we don’t need immediately, gets stored in our body for later in the form of glycogen. Here’s the clincher: for every gram of glycogen stored in our body, 3-4 grams of water is stored with it.

And so, when we restrict or eliminate carbs, our bodies burn through our glycogen stores, releasing that water which then passes out of our body. What does this mean? That exciting weight loss that happens when you start a low-carb diet is just water weight. Hence weight loss quickly slows down on low-carb diets and you will regain weight as soon as you start eating carbs again. This also contributes to that plateau effect I mentioned earlier.

What about the rest of the weight loss?

After that initial drop in water weight, the rest of the weight loss from low carb diets comes from the same source as any other diet: calorie deficit. That’s right, carbs don’t make you gain weight.

By removing or restricting an entire macronutrient from your diet, you are consuming fewer calories without even thinking about it.

And it follows that, once you start to each carbs again, you will come out of that calorie deficit and regain the weight you lost. This also explains the plateauing that many low-carbers experience: our bodies adapt to calorie restriction by slowing down our metabolism. Calorie restriction to our bodies is famine and starvation, so they compensate to try to keep up alive by becoming more efficient with less fuel – as happens with any other low-calorie diet.

Sustainability

Think back to a time you wanted something and someone told you that you couldn’t have it. How did you react?

You wanted it even more, right?

That is how our bodies respond to restriction and deprivation as well. Remember that your body is designed to keep you alive. When you start restricting its energy source through calorie and carb restriction, it panics that it doesn’t have what it needs to keep you alive. And so it mobilizes every tactic it has to compel you to find and consume food. You think about food. You crave certain foods. Smelling food makes you salivate. Your stomach grumbles and aches. You find it harder and harder to resist.

And so we can only hold out on restrictive diets for so long. And then when we go back to our old eating habits. It’s just not effective strategy in the long-term.

Side Effects of Low Carb Diets

Many people don’t realize there are some unpleasant side effects that come with low-carb diets.

You may have heard of “keto fog” referring to a feeling of absentmindedness or difficulty focusing while on a low-carb diet. This occurs because glucose is your brain’s preferred fuel source and it does not burn fat for fuel efficiently. If you deprive your brain of its most efficient fuel, it’s not going to work as well.

Many low-carb dieters also report fatigue and crankiness. The former is also related to the lack of an efficient fuel source for your body. And the latter, well…have you ever had a carbohydrate? They’re delicious. I’d be cranky without them, too.

There are also concerns about the long-term health effects of low-carb and ketogenic diets.

The state of ketosis is, in fact, a survival mechanism to keep our vital processes going during periods of famine. The human body is not designed to exist in ketosis for any extended period of time. Thus, many health professionals are concerned about the long-term effects this may have on our health. This is a focus on ongoing study.

Finally, studies have shown a link between ketogenic diets and cardiovascular disease. Low carb diets’ focus on fat consumption runs contrary to decades of medical science demonstrating the adverse effects of high saturated fat consumption on our heart health. We simply don’t need all that much in our diet and should not consume high amounts of it.

What You Need to Know about Low Carb Diets

Long story short, low-carb diets are not effective means of lasting weight loss and come with a number of risks that don’t outweigh the benefits. They’re just another fad.

top view of a family praying before christmas dinner

Managing Diet Comments from Family

Family holiday dinners are coming up and for many of us that could mean difficult, hurtful, or triggering comments about diet and weight with relatives.

Just like everyone has an opinion about the weather, it seems like everyone has an opinion on diet and weight loss. Unfortunately, many people feel compelled to share those opinions without consent or thinking about how it could land for the person on the receiving end. I think we probably all have that one relative who holds nothing back.

Some things to keep in mind: what is on your plate is your business only and it doesn’t matter what or how much anyone else at the table is eating. Your needs are unique to you and you are the only one who can tune into them. So, as much as you’re able, allow any unwanted comments to slide away and try to focus on your hunger and satiety, your cravings, and your satisfaction and enjoyment.

But, how do we curtail these unwanted conversations? Whether it be a relative going on and on about their latest diet or a relative claiming to be concerned about your health and relating it to your weight, here are some ways you can respond and enforce your boundaries.

To the relative detailing everything about their latest diet:

  • I’m really glad that you’ve found something that works for you but would you mind if we changed the subject?
  • I’m finding this topic kind of triggering, can we talk about something else?
  • This is clearly something you’re very passionate about, but this might not be the best time to discuss it. 

To the relative commenting on your holiday dinner plate:

  • Excuse me, why is my plate so interesting to you? (OK that one is confrontational)
  • You have the food that works best for you on your plate and this is what works best for me. 
  • I know you think you’re being helpful, but you’re actually doing the opposite. I would appreciate it if you would direct your attention back to your own plate.
  • I’m so happy we could get together today, but I didn’t get together to discuss my eating habits. 
  • What I choose to eat today is my business. 

To the relative making comments about diet and weight loss:

  • I know you think you’re being helpful, but I’m finding your comments hurtful. 
  • I understand that you want to help, but I am not looking for your advice on this. 
  • I prefer to keep conversations about my health between me and my physician so I’d like to change the subject. 
  • I’m not looking for weight loss tips right now. 
  • This conversation is making me very uncomfortable. I’d like to talk about something else. 

As long as there are family gatherings, there will probably always be comments about diet. However, by setting good boundaries for yourself and protecting those boundaries, you can minimize those comments and their impact on you.

bowl with yummy colorful gummies on table

Losing Control around Halloween Candy

There is currently a video going around on social media showing a woman creating a cute Halloween candy display in a large glass bowl. But that’s not the part that has been raising eyebrows. At the end of the video, she nonchalantly sprays hair spray all over the candy and the caption reads “so you don’t eat all the candy.”

Responses have been mixed, with some commenting that it’s funny or even a good idea. Others have been commenting that there is something wrong if you are spraying toxic inedible chemicals on food to avoid eating it. Here is my take.

When I first saw this video, it immediately harkened back to a practice that some individuals with eating disorders resort to: they in some way “ruin” their food so they can’t continue to eat it. Indeed, when I was in the peak of my disordered eating habits in college, I would routinely dump a shaker of pepper onto what was left on my dinner plate so I wouldn’t eat it while waiting for my friends to finish up. This is a very problematic and disordered practice and the woman in this video is promoting it like it’s the next greatest idea. So that is issue #1.

This video also prompts the question: why are you feeling that out of control around Halloween candy? As an anti-diet nutrition coach, I can answer this one. Deprivation and restriction are the top causes of binging and overeating. In other words, the foods that you feel the least in control around are the foods you allow yourself to consume the least. You may also have thoughts about those foods along the lines of: “I can’t trust myself around that food,” “it’s my weakness,” “it’s my guilty pleasure,” or “I’m being bad when I eat that.” And if you believe these things, of course you’re going to avoid certain foods!

The urge to binge or overeat when we are around foods we seldom allow ourselves to consume is a normal human response to deprivation. It’s not always conscious, but it is both a mental and physical response. When we do engage in these behaviors, it’s referred to as “last supper eating” because we tend to consume a food as though it’s the last time we will have it. And, indeed, it can feel that way because we truly don’t know when we will allow ourselves to have it again.

So what is the antidote for this?

In order to break this cycle of restriction and overeating, we must put those “trigger foods” on the same level as every other food we eat. Take the novelty out of them. Take the guilt and shame out of them. We do this by giving ourselves unconditional permission to eat them.

This unconditional permission does a few things:

  1. It removes the novelty from them and with that novelty goes the allure.
  2. It provides the reassurance to us that we can have those foods whenever we want, so we don’t need to overindulge as though we won’t have them again.
  3. Even if you at first overindulge in these foods once you give yourself permission to eat them, it will eventually level out and they will just become “normal” foods once that initial excitement wears off.

So, if you thought spraying hair spray onto your Halloween candy to prevent yourself from eating it was an appealing strategy, it’s probably because you rarely allow yourself candy or sweets to begin with. You may want to consider making candy a more run-of-the-mill presence in your life and see how that changes your relationship with it. And, from a nutritional perspective, this coach can assure you that having some candy from time to time or even a small piece of candy every day is perfectly fine. There is room in every healthy diet for some fun foods. And, having those fun foods regularly, makes your healthy eating habits more sustainable in the long-term.

photo of people having dinner together

What to do when you overdo it

Feeling like you overate can be a really crummy feeling, but the tactics we tend to turn to in those instances typically aren’t helpful options. Skipping meals to compensate, overexercising, only eating certain foods – these tactics don’t work and promote unhealthy habits. Fact: you can’t “compensate” for overeating. So what should you do when this happens?

First, let go of trying to compensate for overeating. This simply is not how our bodies work. Your body has already digested and dealt with that food accordingly. It is not sitting in a reserve tank to be emptied and you can’t create a void in your body for that food to take up by creating a calorie deficit the next day. Furthermore, even if you do successfully undereat or overexercise the next day, your body will adjust for that accordingly. You may or may not notice it, but 2-3 days later you will be much hungrier than usual and eat more. Remember, our bodies evolved to keep us alive through periods of starvation. Finally, we don’t get to pick and choose what gets burned and what doesn’t.

Second, be realistic and take it easy on yourself. One day of overdoing it isn’t going to make a difference. One weekend of overdoing also probably won’t make a significant difference. You won’t gain 10 pounds overnight and you won’t “undo” any progress you’ve made. Something else to note, when I work with clients who feel like they went way overboard with their eating, very often when we actually map out what they ate, it’s not as much as they thought.

Third, still practice those healthy habits you’ve been working on. Remember, there is no proverbial wagon to fall off of, no proverbial train to derail. Every day is a new opportunity to pursue your goals and those 4 margaritas didn’t “ruin” that opportunity. So carry right on with eating in balance. Move your body. Drink plenty of water. Listen to your body.

If you want to avoid overdoing it the future, keep in mind the main reason why we engage in overeating is deprivation. When we don’t allow ourselves to eat certain things, when we dub certain foods “bad,” we give those foods all of our power. It’s human nature to respond to deprivation this way. The best way to make sure these overindulgence episodes happen rarely, is to give yourself permission to the eat the foods you want to eat when you want to eat them. Yes, absolutely, practice balance and make sure you’re also eating lots of veggies. But, chocolate cake doesn’t only have to happen on your birthday. Mashed potatoes and gravy don’t only have to happen on Thanksgiving. When we only let ourselves enjoy these foods once a year, that’s when we get into issues with last supper eating.

photo of people having dinner together
Trying to compensate for overeating is not the answer. Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

flat lay photography of vegetable salad on plate

You don’t need a meal plan. Here’s Why

It may seem like it’s the solution you need, but a meal plan probably won’t be very helpful…not in the long-term anyway.

Here’s the thing about a meal plan: it tells you what to eat and when but what happens when you’re not longer on it? What if you can’t afford to continue having someone write them for you? Or your nutritionist moves on? Or whatever program you’re doing ends?

You will probably resume the same eating habits you were accustomed to previously. And that is not your fault.

You see, a meal plan is really no different than a diet in that it forces you to overhaul all of your eating habits at once without teaching you any skills or helping you gain insight into your eating habits. The result? It’s not sustainable.

So if you are hoping to change your eating habits in the long-term, a meal plan is not the answer. In fact, unless you’re just looking for someone to plan your menu for you because you’re tapped out in terms of energy, creativity, and brain power, I don’t recommend them.

So what is more effective? Work with someone who can:

  • teach you how to compose a balanced meal and how to snack to keep you energized throughout the day
  • coach you in setting reasonable meal planning and prep goals
  • help you develop the skills you need to meal plan effectively
  • coach you in working through obstacles that may disrupt your meal plan

The difference is that skills continue on. They’re translatable. Meal plans are a one-time fix. So you’ll get way more “bang for your buck,” so to speak, focusing on picking up skills and strategy rather than having it done for you.

So before you seek out meal planning services from someone, ask yourself what your goals are and what you are hoping to get out of it. If your goals are more focused on long-term eating habits, that meal plan probably isn’t the best solution.

If you’re interested in learning how to make healthy eating work in your busy life, give me a shout.

The Trouble with Fitness Trackers

These days it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t have some type of wearable fitness tracker. You probably have one yourself. I have one – it’s on the floor between my bed and nightstand where it’s been gathering dust for months. Oops. From the Apple Watch to the Fitbit, these things are everywhere, but are these fitness trackers as beneficial as they seem?

Accuracy and Arbitrariness

The first issue with these trackers is that many of the goals they set for you are completely arbitrary. The goal of 10,000 steps, for example, is not some magic number that was arrived at after decades of scientific studies. It actually came from an ad campaign for a Japanese pedometer in the 1960s. And, while there are some studies that show it is beneficial to walk 10,000 steps a day, those studies also show that ANY amount of exercise is beneficial. So you need not beat yourself up if you come up short of your 10,000 step goal. Also, because any exercise is beneficial, you don’t need to worry about 10,000 steps PLUS your fitness class. You can do one or the other and still reap benefits.

Looking at the other possible goals a fitness tracker may set for you, keep in mind that these are not tailored to you, even if you enter your biometrics into their app. These are numbers based on general populations data. So those goals may not be right for you specifically.

When it comes to tracking those arbitrary goals, these devices vary widely in how accurate they are. For those of us who have a tendency towards obsessiveness or perfectionism, this could lead us to push ourselves too much for the sake of reaching that goal. Then there is the feeling of disappointment or defeat if you fail to reach your tracker goal as well. So it’s very important not to place too much stock in those numbers.

Tracking of Other Metrics

The newest fitness trackers can also track metrics like sleep and blood pressure, which may be very appealing to those who struggle in those areas. However, some evidence shows that these trackers could actually create or exacerbate issues in those areas just by tracking them because the tracking creates an anxiety there. Think about it, it’s hard to sleep if you’re worrying about getting enough sleep. Likewise, stressing about your blood pressure could impact your blood pressure.

The Slippery Slope

My major concern with wearables is how easy it can be for an otherwise healthy habit to turn into something destructive. Just as dieting can turn into eating disorders, fitness tracking can become disordered as well, leading to injury and health issues. We live in a culture where how little you ate, how much you exercised, and how much weight you lost are worn as badges of honor without regard to the toxic impacts that paradigm can have.

Fitness trackers can be a good source of motivation and can help show you (some of) the progress you’ve made. But they have significant limitations and drawbacks. If you’re wondering if fitness trackers are beneficial, make sure you consider these points.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a medical doctor and that none of the above information is to be construed as medical advice.

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