Can Your Smartphone Help You Lose Weight?

For many, no. Here’s why.

In the first week of my method’s training, clients keep track of the calories they consume. There is no diet, and not even an obligation to “be good”. They eat as they usually eat, but they keep an accounting of their caloric intake. And no guilt or shame is allowed! Just eat, and count.

These days, since the advent of apps like Myfitnesspal and Loseit, clients who love their smartphones ask if they can use their apps.

The answer is yes, but…

In 1985, when I first started teaching this life-changing method, all the logging and accounting was done by hand and recorded in a little pocket-sized ledger. The caloric values were obtained from reliable sources compiled by Registered Dieticians. This is a lot of work for a while, but it is worth it.

The end result is the ability to habitually eat in a way that is very satisfying and easy, eating what you like, and it also keeps the weight off. There is no need to record anything anywhere but in your mind. It’s a delightful way to live and has helped people to lose weight and keep it off for over 35 years.

The problem with using the apps is that this same result does not usually occur. Some have found the apps helpful during a time-limited diet to lose weight, but I’ve found that using an app for tracking calories can be a hindrance to creating long-term weight loss success.

Here’s why:

When we engage in the process of physically writing down what we eat, checking references for accurate numbers, and doing it over and over again, our brain undergoes an unconscious memorizing and reprogramming miracle. If we engage in the exercise as instructed, we reprogram our brain so that, given enough time spent in the training, we end up with habits and a new preferred way to live that makes us succeed by doing what we feel like doing. Our unconscious mind takes on the responsibility of keeping us fit with the behavior we’ve trained it to do. Eating in a way to maintain your preferred weight becomes the new normal, the way you feel like living, without the books or the apps or the feelings of deprivation and oppression.

What happens when we use a device?

When we use a device, outside of ourselves, to perform a function we would usually do with our own body and mind, our unconscious mind excuses us from performing that work, excuses us from the responsibility, and we become dependent on the device. Not only that, but we lose the ability ourselves!

Think of our dependence on calculators and iPhones. In the past, people used to know hundreds of phone numbers, easily associating a name with a number in a fraction of a second. Now, people don’t even remember the phone numbers of their family they call all the time.

At one time, people could make mathematical computations in their heads. Today, people cannot even make change without a machine. They can’t figure out what to give you back if you hand them a $50 bill for something that is marked $26.88. The machines were supposed to multiply our strengths, and in some ways, they have, but in some ways, they have weakened us.

It’s like using a machine to lift things, get in and out of chairs, get from one place to another miles away, or go to the 5th floor. When we make our body and mind perform, they rise to the occasion, build the muscle power or brainpower, and all those tasks become easy. When we rely on machines, the mind and body atrophy, and we lose the ability. We can’t calculate percentages, remember phone numbers, or keep track of what we are spending at the grocery store. We can’t take a few flights of stairs without being winded and stopping to catch our breath. We even forget we used to be able to do those things. People who have never done them, who never experienced life without those machines, don’t even know what they are capable of. They have no idea of what their mind and body can do, and often will not believe you when you tell them.

Do you know what you are capable of? Probably not.

Imagine succeeding in things you thought were impossible.

The goal of my approach is to create habits where we automatically eat the foods we like in the right amounts to reach and maintain our preferred weight. Instead of suffering diets and feelings of deprivation, we make it so when we eat in ways that make us feel good, we are eating in ways that keep us at the weight we want to be.

I discovered ways to make this happen with reprogramming techniques, some call it mind control, a repertoire of behaviors that create a result in our unconscious mind. The result is the ability to do something that we could not do with our conscious mind and will. The techniques and behaviors do not sound miraculous at all. They sound simple, perhaps even silly, unnecessary, and sometimes clients skip them. When they skip them, they miss getting the benefit they create.

The machines make everything easier, right? Why do all that work when a machine can do it? Why develop the ability to do mental calculations or remember phone numbers? The machines will do that, right? Why develop the strength and endurance to climb stairs? What good is that? Why keep a written log of calories eaten when a machine will do it? What good is that?

So, when clients make faces when I tell them to keep a written log, and they ask if they can use an app, I say “yes, but…” and I try to persuade them to write it down, by hand.


Share this nice post:
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Marla Oxley
Marla Oxley
2 years ago

I successfully lost weight once in a medical program connected to the University of California at Davis. I kept it off for a few years. I now realize that when I started using computer applications and spreadsheets instead of handwritten records and relying on the computer to do the math instead of my own brain, I began regain.

This coincides with my experience taking university courses, whether in English or in French. When I took careful notes, I didn’t even have to study for exams. It was better yet when I took “sloppy” notes during class and then recopied them carefully into bound composition books before I slept.

I think the mental process of processing the data causes a realization that us missing when I let an app do the thinking for me.

Harold Simpson
Harold Simpson
5 years ago

Smartphones could be a helpful reminder on things like eating healthy meals and also doing some exercise. Since we also use smartphone almost all the time.