Evidence based medical wellness for active people from a doc who walks the walk

Will a Fitbit help you lose weight? Probably not, but here are some tips.


I wear a Fitbit Surge on my wrist, and have had various wearable devices.  I particularly like the Surge because it tracks heart rate (but not very well as I have talked about previously.) A lot of people wear these devices because they are fun, and are supposed to make us exercise more and lose weight.

Whoa there cowboy! A study in JAMA (click here to read the article from the September 20, 2016 edition) showed that having obese young people use “wearable technology” did not help them lose weight. In the study there were two groups, one that didn’t wear devices and one that did.   The group that DIDN’T wear the devices lost MORE weight. The article doesn’t really go into why the wearables didn’t help.  But if you read the article carefully, there are some lessons as to what makes people lose weight.

Here is what works:

  • Weekly texts reminders to work and eat healthily
  • Monthly meeting with a weight loss counselor
  • Group counseling sessions
  • Food diary.

I am keeping a food diary now, and boy does keep me honest!  (Sigh.) When I exercise, I watch the heart rate monitor, but tend to believe the heart rate I get on the bicycle is more reliable.

I am not throwing out my Fitbit just yet.

And if you want me send you a text to remind you to exercise and eat less, let me know!!


Author: PookieMD

I am a board certified internal medicine physician. I love medicine and seek to bring evidence based medicine to the fitness and wellness world.

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