Now, Can Your Cell Phone Help You Lose Weight?

Figures.  I just finished writing about how weight loss devices don't help you lose weight.  And now experts are saying cell phones can do the trick.

That's because cell phones can besiege you with reminder texts about losing weight and maintaining it.   I say "besiege" because that's the absolute last thing I would want from my phone.  (I barely tolerate the texts from my friends.)

“In conjunction with reducing caloric intake and increasing physical activity, mobile messaging services could help to maintain and sustain weight loss over time,” says Tanika Kelly, associate professor of epidemiology at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, who did a study on this.   “It reminds us to continue our good behaviors.”

In the study, done in China (where, admittedly, not too many people are overweight), those who got weight loss reminders and encouragement over their phones lost 3 pounds more than those who did not.  That may not sound like a lot but in this country, where two-thirds of us are overweight or obese, that can translate to some health savings and may lead to more, over time.

Weight Watchers has gone one step further.  They actually have counselors standing by 24/7 to talk to when you're about to have a Big Mac attack, a lot like Alcoholics Anonymous (which the meetings are very similar to, too -- only, thank goodness, you don't have to stand and say, "Hi, my name is Debbie and I'm fat").  And what about that new show on The Learning Channel with the young woman who's fat and proud of it?

Anyway, so can a cell phone really help you lose weight?  I don't know.  I've learned over the years there's no magic bullet, no combination of foods that, when eaten together, melt the pounds away.  It's mostly how you think. 

I was having this discussion, yes, at Weight Watchers, with a friend about how it's not really our bodies that switch on the overeating but our heads and if we could just turn off our heads -- or make them not tell us to reach for a Hershey bar when we're feeling bored or lonely or down -- we'd look just as good as Marie Osmond.  Well, maybe Donny.


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