Losing weight can bring feelings of exhilaration – and frustration.
Typically, those first 10 pounds melt away like butter in the microwave. At that point it’s human nature to think, “This is going to be easy.” Then the disappointment sets in. You’re still working out, you haven’t added any calories to your diet, but the weight loss suddenly stops.
|EatRight Nutritionist Catherine Bethea, left, and Fitness Specialist Brooks Wingo, right, demonstrate the SenseWear® device that is being used as part of the new Metabolic Tracker Program.
“Many people hit that plateau where they just can’t lose any more, and they can’t figure out why,” says Brooks Wingo, fitness specialist with EatRight Weight Management Services. “That’s a very common problem. But we think we’ve found a way to help people break through that barrier.”
The EatRight Weight Management Program can quickly and accurately determine how an individual’s metabolism affects his or her ability to lose or gain weight and then use that information to plan a successful weight-loss strategy with its new Metabolic Tracker program.
The program uses a device called SenseWear® that determines energy balance, a major determining factor in weight change. A positive energy balance means weight gain; a negative energy balance leads to weight loss.
“This will help us pinpoint where we need to tweak their program to help them start losing weight again,” Wingo says. “Now we really can individualize a program and figure out exactly what we need to change.”
Tracking calories, sleep
SenseWear, which was developed using research with UAB collaboration, is the high-tech key to the program. The SenseWear device is an armband and wristwatch display that is worn around the bicep 24 hours a day. Participants enter the foods they eat into an online database, and the built-in software on the armband tracks caloric expenditure minute by minute. It also tracks the number of steps a wearer takes, how long they sleep and the efficiency of that sleep. The Metabolic Tracker program may even provide the first real evidence that metabolism is being affected by problems that could be addressed medically, including sleep issues.
That makes the sleep-tracker function especially unique and important. “SenseWear can tell when you laid down, when you woke up and whether or not you had any breaks in your sleep pattern,” Wingo says. “That’s extremely helpful because many people that struggle losing weight don’t sleep well. Poor sleep can lead to increased appetite and unplanned snacking.”
How it works
Users can connect their SenseWear armband to their computers and receive a complete report on their caloric intake, including how many calories they burn minute-by-minute and other information. The information is displayed in graphs and also can be viewed online immediately by EatRight fitness specialists, dietitians and physicians. This enables EatRight specialists to help patients achieve the proper balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat and calories.
Data also can be used to alter a fitness program to produce the most appropriate intensity level to burn maximum calories. “After a couple of days I can look at it and say, ‘OK, you tell me you’re exercising every morning from 9 to 10, but you’re not exercising quite as hard as I would like for you to.’ So then I can send you an e-mail or give you a phone call and tell you to increase this exercise a little bit,” Wingo says. “Or one of our dieticians can call you and say ‘You’re a little heavy on the sugar lately’ or ‘You’re not getting in quite as much water as we’d like, let’s change that up.’
“Now we can work together all the way along instead of relying solely on monthly checkups.”
Who can benefit?
Anyone interested in losing weight can benefit from the Metabolic Tracker program, Wingo says, including those just beginning a weight-loss program.
“This is for anybody. That includes those who have tried every diet in the book but can’t get the weight off or don’t feel like a diet is going to work for them. This will help us see the whole picture as far as diet and exercise – and give people a greater chance at being successful.”
EatRight participants who join the Metabolic Tracker program will pay $85 per week for two weeks or $72.50 per week for four weeks for the rental of the SenseWear device, initial training and device setup, access to the Web site, individual consultation with a registered dietitian or fitness specialist, and a detailed weight-loss plan. The program will cost non-EatRight participants $142.50 per week for two weeks or $101.25 per week for four weeks. SenseWear may also be purchased to own at a cost of $550 for EatRight participants and $650 for non-EatRight participants.
Contact EatRight at 934-7053 for more infor-mation on joining the program; learn more online at www.uab.edu/eatright.