The Bite Counter and other weight loss gadgets – An even more gruelling way to lose weight!

When you are happily munching away on a plate of your favourite food, don’t you think that you’d be put off if a widget on your wrist was counting your every mouthful? Uninspiringly titled the ‘Bite Counter’, the latest gadget aimed at helping you curb calories and prevent overindulgence has been developed two researchers at Clemson University.

Bite-counter

At a press of a button, oh yes and departing with 800 bucks, dieters, or wannabe dieters, will know how many bites of food they have taken, which is then estimated into calories, the same way exercise equipment estimates the number of calories burned. But surely quickly stuffing your face with a cream cake contains a higher calorific content and will track less ‘bites’ then gruellingly munching your way through a virtually calorie-free carrot? Hmm, not surprisingly the guys at Clemson have been faced with such judicious questions, and their answer to such obvious flaws in this technology is that “caloric content of a bite averages out over the long term”, and that “people tend to eat the same foods week to week, further stabilizing the calorie/bite relationship”.

Slightly presumptuous don’t we think? Oh well, it will only cost $800 to test out.

http://www.icountbites.com/

Fitbit

Other weight loss gadgets to catch LG’s eye is Fitbit and the Gruve. The former comes in the form of a tiny clip device, which, once clipped to a dieter’s shirt, belt or armband, essentially acts as an accelerometer, tracking your every move throughout the day and then reporting back on your activity. Its motion detecting sensor digitally records the number of steps you have taken, calories burned and even your sleep patterns. While Fibit won’t cause miracles, it’s supposed to enlighten its users to what is preventing them from achieving the body of their dreams.

Fitbit costs a more reasonable $99 from www.fitbit.com

Gruve

The Gruve is essentially a lazy alarm that tells you when you’ve been lazy for too long! Unlike Fitbit and other pedometer gadgets, which just inform you of your daily activity, Gruve bullies you moving. If you have been sedentary for too long, it flashes lights, starts buzzing and vibrates around the room, until you are that embarrassed or irritated by it that you go on a 5-mile run – in theory anyway.

For $199.95 the Gruve could be worth a try!

Philips DirectLife Activity Monitor: Fighting flab with gadgetry

I freely admit it – I weigh a little more than I’d like to. And unlike a reasonable number of tech journalists I’ve met (naming no names) I actually try to keen the pounds off. Countless salads for lunch (not in one sitting, that would be counter-productive), repeated shunning of donuts and countless gym classes. And yet the flab remains. Moping around the office, listlessly poking at my spare tyre I got an email from iGlobalFitness asking if I’d like to look at the Philips DirectLife
Activity monitor – the device they use with their Personal Weight Management Programme and the Stay Active Challenge. After an initial wave of paranoia (how did they know a tech journalist would be overweight?) I thought I’d take a look.

Philips-directlife

As my more muscly buddies at the gym keep telling me, sustained weight loss is gained by a bit of basic math (burning more calories than you consume) and by consistent sustained changes to your lifestyle. There is no point dropping a kilo in March only to revert to your bad habits and pile it all back on in April.

A combination of these two simple rules is employed by the iGlobalFitness’ Personal Weight Management Programme but with the added magic of technology.

1.         Your iGlobalFitness Wellness Facilitator will meet with you face to face to review your current wellness status and set realistic goals in four areas: lifestyle, health, exercise and nutrition.

2.    iGlobalFitness will provide you with a clever little gadget known as the DirectLife activity monitor which, along with your own online Personal Activity Coach, will support you to be more active on a  daily basis.

3.         You will meet with your Wellness Facilitator every three months to measure your progress, get personalized advice and set more challenging targets.

4.    Your Wellness Facilitator will ‘nudge’ you via email, text or phone between sessions to keep you motivated.

5.    At the end of the programme you can delight in your success of creating a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, or you can extend your programme and challenge yourself to get into even better shape.

The little DirectLife activity monitor is shaped like a small pebble and can be hooked to a belt loop, worn as a necklace type thing or just popped in your pocket. Recording all your activity throughout the day it’s a really helpful reminder that sitting still all day doesn’t help with weight loss and encourages … well not quite fidgeting but regular bursts of activity. And the ability to look over data coupled with regular online sessions with a personal trainer combine knowledge with convenience. There is even a Stay Active Challenge where you can compete against internet people or your friends/co-workers.

So would I recommend it? Depends on how you respond to motivation really. If you like the idea and convenience of being able check your activity throughout the day and respond to a constant supply of data then it’s worth a look. As will all weight-loss things – you can just still to the simple rules above and have a bit of self-discipline – saving yourself a bit of money. But if that fails you (like it does me) then this is a neat high-tech alternative.

www.stayactivechallenge.com has now officially launched and is £50 per person to take part.