Using Apps to Track Calories & Movement

Many people have begun using apps or watches to track their calories burned via walking or exercising. Mindfulness around movement is important to a healthy lifestyle, yet tracking it in this way could negatively impact the health and well-being of people with and without an eating disorder.

For those who are struggling with an eating disorder, their lives are often consumed with the calculation of their caloric intake. Most are aware of the exact number of calories associated with the foods they consume. Usually, what is also included in their calculation is the number of calories they have ‘burned off’ by physical activity.

The presence of a calorie calculator on an app will undoubtedly increase their hyperfocus and concern about their caloric intake. And with the accessibility of an app, they can check these numbers by the hour or minute. This can lead to even more time out of their lives focused on obsessing about their food and body.

For those who do not have an eating disorder, these calculators may initially serve to provide encouragement or education about their physical activity. Yet, this information can lead to a spiral into unhealthy thoughts and behaviors around their food and body.

Despite the diet culture ploys, we know that diets do not work. They are short-term fixes that often lead to even more weight gain.

Most certainly, they are followed by disappointment, guilt, and shame around not being able to follow the diet guidelines or maintain the weight loss.

Instead of focusing on their body’s intuitive hunger/fullness cues and the health benefits from exercise/movement, they are relying on the calculators to tell them how well they have done.

This reliance or belief in diets and tools associated with them, i.e. calorie counters, creates barriers to understanding what your own body needs, which changes week to week, day to day.

When someone can trust in their own body’s cues and strike a balance between what they consume and the energy they expel, they can be free from the weight loss tools and rules we are so strongly sold on using.


Would you like to talk with an Evolve clinician regarding developing a more healthy relationship with your food and exercise?

Reach out today!