Have you heard of apps that offer financial rewards to those who lose weight? They exist and are slowly gaining popularity. In Brazil, the options are still few, but in the United States, the number of offers of sites and applications is higher. However, although it sounds like an interesting idea, experts warn of the risks that this type of service can pose to health.
READ: Weight Loss with Mobile Help: Meet Seven Fitness Apps
The popularity of some of these applications is expressive. DietBet, for example, has more than 400,000 users in 90 countries, according to the official website. There, they also say that a total of over $ 21 million has already been paid to the winners. HealthyWage already has over 100,000 downloads in the Google Play Store alone, and it is not possible to measure the number of users who use the site. It is not available on the App Store.
Apps Offer Financial Rewards for Weight Loss Users Photo: Nicolly Vimercate / TechTudo
Applications work with different forms of financial compensation. Some work on the betting scheme, and for this I need at least two people to invest a certain amount. Whoever loses weight faster, takes the prize. In others, the user himself applies his money and, as the results are achieved, this value is appreciating. The faster, the more financial income.
For nutritionist and professor at Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ), Ronimara Santos, these apps may be the missing motivation for those who want to lose weight. "It depends on the format of the application. I believe that those who work with motivation in trying to establish a routine are very valid. For example, like when you get to go to the gym or to prepare your meals. Sometimes, the little push you have to overcome laziness, "he says.
In most applications available today, body weight is the parameter to get the reward. For the nutritionist, this is not the fairest method of calculation. "We are going to work on the hypothesis of proposing a 4% weight loss in 28 days. At what stage of weight loss is it natural that when we start a new diet and exercise routine, the weight will drop a little more?" quick in the first few weeks, "he explains.
According to Ronimara, this faster weight loss process at the beginning of a new eating routine often reflects the loss of excess accumulated liquid and not necessarily fat. "The same reasoning goes for weight loss between men and women. Overall, men are more likely to lose weight than women because of hormonal and body composition factors. So how do you compare two people using the same metric? ", questions.
Another important warning is that the use of apps that, in a way, push for results, can feed or aggravate an eating disorder. For example, by encouraging daily weighing. The nutritionist, says that advises against the practice of patients seeking their consultation.
Apps that push for weight loss can damage your relationship with food, says nutritionist Photo: Divulgao / Freepik
To explain further, Ronimara illustrates with the hypothetical case of a person who spent the day strictly adhering to the rules of food and exercise. However, when weighing at the end of the day, the result can disrupt everything that was built. "She realizes she hasn't lost weight and is upset. As she worked hard and saw no result, she gives up and decides to make up for food or stop exercising," suggests the nutritionist. Another possibility that this person notices that, in fact, has lost weight. "She is happy, so she decides that over the weekend she will be able to eat more, since she now has a few pounds left," the nutritionist thinks.
Finally, in a third scenario, the individual concludes that he has "gained weight" from the previous day, even with all the effort that has been made. "He gains weight and is disappointed. He gives up and understands that this is not for him. In all these possibilities, the focus on one number did not really solve the issue of changing habits. It only fueled the reward cycle. In addition, the weight By itself does not say much: you may have lost weight because you are dehydrated, or you may have gained weight because you are working out and increased muscle mass, for example, "ponders Ronimara.
The Risks of Financial Reward
For Ronimara, despite the benefits that technology in general can bring, I need to encourage other ways to measure the outcome of the lifestyle change process. And that does not necessarily involve making money. "A pain you no longer feel, a good night's sleep, the regularization of bowel habits, the reduction of tiredness, for example, are other ways to understand that you are changing for the better", encourages the professional.
In addition to this, another important warning is that the ambition to pocket the prize can lead a person to do. "Money can trigger the use of extreme methods for weight loss, such as purges, prolonged unoriented fasts and excessive physical exercise, which are not healthy practices for the body and contribute to the concertina effect," he adds.
Combining technology and health
Only the relationship between technology and health need not be bad. Quite the contrary. The nutritionist is an enthusiast of apps that can help improve sleep, reduce stress, help with personal organization, and increase productivity. But she stresses that applications can never replace a medical assessment by a nutritionist or a physical educator.
Dear Anxiety App brings options to promote relaxation and well-being Photo: Eduardo Manhes / TechTudo
TechTudo has prepared a list of apps that can, along with professional tracking, help you have a healthier routine. Look:
- White Noise: It lets you choose from 16 types of sounds that can help you relax. You can still create and save combinations. ideal for those who have difficulty sleeping or focusing on everyday tasks.
- Relax Melodies: Part of the same premise of Rudo Branco, having as its differential the possibility of combining sound noises with music score. In addition, the app has guided meditation feature for insomnia sufferers.
- Dear Anxiety: The proposal is to help control anxiety with daily messages, videos and breathing and relaxation exercises. TechTudo has already taught you step by step to use the app.
- Exercises at home: The app offers series and training possibilities that do not require gym equipment. While not replacing a fitness professional, it can be a good alternative for those who want to vary the environment a bit.
- Headspace: This is a purely meditation app. So far, it is not available in Portuguese. But don't worry! TechTudo teaches you how to use it.
And what is the best app you have on mobile? See the tips from TechTudo forum users and leave your opinion too!
Want an app to know how many calories you consume per day? So take a look at this TechTudo tip:
How to know how many calories each food has with free app