The pitfalls of calorie and activity trackers that lead to eating disorders – KENS5.com

Posted: December 16, 2019 at 5:41 am


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SAN ANTONIO Food and activity trackers are becoming increasingly popular. But just because many of the apps associated with them are free it doesn't mean they are always helpful. They can lead to major health problems few people expect.

There are many kinds of activity and food trackers on the market such as MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, and even Garmin. They can all be helpful but only if used the correct way. Landry Weatherston-Yarborough, the Clinical Director of the Eating Recovery Center of San Antonio, and licensed professional counselor -- as well as a certified eating disorder specialist - told us they are best used, "When the data that is being collected or gathered by these apps is being evaluated by someone who has the training and the education to support the person."

A growing number of wearable devices are flooding the market claiming to track and help improve your diet, exercise, sleep, and even stress. A 2013 Pew report said 60 percent of U.S. adults track their diet, exercise, and weight. A 2017 study found over 40 percent have used a wearable health tracker, with sales of devices expected to more than double over the next five years.

Weatherston-Yarborough says dieting is the most common cause of eating disorder development. She added, "That doesn't mean everyone who diet is going to have an eating disorder, but dieting starts for many people with monitoring their exercise monitoring their calorie intake and potentially trying to lose weight or get healthy."

Some of the signs of an eating disorder or overuse of a health tracker include over-exercising, severe restriction of caloric intake, fear of food or excuses for not eating, binging combined with purging, and anger, fear, anxiety, shame, or depression.

One of our senior producers, April Young, took part in our KENS 5 Fitbit Challenge last year. She only wore it for that month but can see how these trackers can take over someone's life. Young told us, "I can definitely see how people can just take too much time being obsessed about their Fitbit."

If you do realize you may be taking it too far Weatherston-Yarbourough said, "Get connected with a mental health professional to seek out an assessment for an eating disorder or disordered eating and to get treatment as quickly as possible."

To get in touch with Eating Recovery Centers, call (877) 711-1690.

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The pitfalls of calorie and activity trackers that lead to eating disorders - KENS5.com

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December 16th, 2019 at 5:41 am

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