How fitness trackers and digital tools help us lose weight

Science says you're more likely to be successful when trying to lose weight if you track your progress

Fitness tracking with digital tools
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fitness tracking has never been easier, or more popular. Monitoring how many steps you've taken, how many calories you've burned, and how well you slept used to require several specialist pieces of equipment. Now, all you need is one of the best fitness tracker or best fitness watch entries to do it all. But is there any real benefit to logging all this info?

Well, yes, as it turns out. A recent study from Stanford University School of Medicine analysed 39 studies across the last ten years to examine the effectiveness of different digital monitoring weight management toolsets. 

The study's authors wrote: "Adults with overweight or obesity should be encouraged to self- monitor frequently in order to promote weight loss. Through regular self- monitoring, individuals can gain increased awareness about their eating and exercise behaviors, which allows them to track progress over time and compare that progress with prespecified goals."

It was found 74% of studies which encouraged its participants to self-monitor with digital tools resulted in a positive weight loss outcome. That's pretty cool – you might be nearly three-quarters as likely to stick to your goals by keeping an eye on your fitness tracker. 

Versa 2

(Image credit: FitBit)

There's loads of deals around if you're looking to pick one up on the cheap side: We've got plenty of information on the best Fitbit deals and Fitbit Sense deals, while if you're more into running, these Garmin Watch deals might be more suited for you.

Garmin specialise in watches for long-distance runners, cyclists, swimmers and adventurers, so if GPS is on your radar, you might be more comfortable with one of these. They contain all the bells and whistles of a standard smartwatch too, with calorie counting, messaging and allowing you to take and receive calls.

Moving away from the digital tools, pen and paper is also a great way to track your weight loss progress. In particular, some studies have found taking 15 minutes each day to fill in a food diary can potentially double your weight loss progress. While this can be done via a spreadsheet, there's nothing stopping you opting for a proper notebook and pen.

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.