Could a digital doppelganger help you slim down?iStockphoto/Thinkstock
A new study in the Journal of Diabetes, Science and Technology found that overweight women who spent time watching an avatar (customized to look like them) as it exercised, ate healthier, and reached its weight-loss goals were able to lose three and a half pounds themselves over four weeks. With more technology available to more people than ever, the following cutting-edge applications may provide new ways to motivate people like you to live healthier lives.
1. Bet on your diet.iStockphoto/Thinkstock
One study found that dieters who risked losing money if they didn't shed the weight were about five times as likely to reach their goal as those who had no money at stake. In fact, half of the bettors dropped 16 pounds in 16 weeks, compared to just a little over 10 percent of the group that didn't wager at all. If you want to put your money where your scale is, join DietBet, a four-week social-dieting game. Participants put real money on themselves, and the first to lose 4 percent of their body weight wins. One current game has nearly $150,000 up for grabs.
2. Connect with others through an interactive app and a high-tech scale.Courtesy of Lose it!
The Lose It! Health-O-Meter scale uses Bluetooth technology to sync weight information with the popular Lose It app; the same app can be used to track exercise goals, sleep patterns, and calorie intake. Rolling out in September nationwide, the scale connects you to three million other active users in the Lose It online community who share similar goals, making weight loss an engaging, interactive challenge as members stay accountable to a larger group. According to company research, users with the scale lost two-and-a-half times more weight than those without one.
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3. Play video games!David McNew/Getty Images
They're not just for your kids. Shape up with active games such as Your Shape Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360), Zumba Fitness (Nintendo Wii), and Walk It Out (Nintendo Wii with balance board). A 2013 study from the University of Kansas Medical Center followed a group of 20 overweight or obese people through a three-month weight-loss program. One group visited a weight-loss clinic, the other completed a virtual weight loss game—and surprise! Those who played the game had more successful results. If you don't have a video game system, try this low-tech way to burn calories: Blast music in your living room, and dance until you have to hit the couch.