People who struggle with weight loss understand how difficult it is to transition to a healthier lifestyle. Even if they find ways to make improvements, it can be difficult to be consistent and over time, they slip back into their old habits. Some people blame modern day convenience and technology for our less healthy way of living. There’s less need for physical activity and more access to high calorie, less nutrient rich foods, so it’s easier to make poor choices. But for some, the things that led to their weight gain might also help them regain their health.

Recently, researchers have begun to look at digital and virtual reality technology and how these advancements might help fight obesity. Further testing is needed to confirm the role of VR tech in weight loss, but at the moment, a variety of web-based, mobile, VR, and gaming technologies show promise for helping people with weight control.

Many overweight people do not realize how much they are eating or how little they move on a daily basis. Keeping track of these things and seeing patterns emerge over time can be a powerful tool in motivating you to change your habits.

The goal of self-monitoring in terms of weight loss is to increase self-awareness and use it to shape new behaviors. Some of the most common self-monitoring tools available include:

Food Diaries & Exercise Logs

Food diaries allow you to record and monitor the food you eat, and not only do they provide accurate information about caloric intake, they also make it easier to recognize links between life-events, emotions, and food consumption. Many online food diaries help you calculate a variety of factors, including calories, macro and micro-nutrients, and details about the situations in which you eat.

Exercise logs are similar to food diaries in that you record your activity from day to day. Online exercise logs are a convenient and effective way to motivate yourself to build healthy exercise habits.

Routine Self Weighing

Weighing yourself can offer motivation to help you lose weight. Nowadays, it’s possible to track weight loss and use the patterns that emerge to predict outcomes. When weighing yourself and recording the information is combined with recording you food intake and exercise, you can begin to understand the relationship between the foods you eat and the way your weight fluctuations.

Devices that Record Physical Activity

Today, there are a variety of advanced devices that automatically record your physical activity. Pedometers, accelerometers, and metabolic devices all make it easy to keep track of your movement throughout the day. Some people are unsuccessful with weight loss because they overestimate their physical activity and underestimate their caloric intake. A combination of these tech advances can help you get a clear and accurate pictures of your current situation.

Virtual Reality and Weight Control

In addition to monitoring your current physical activity and food intake, and using that information to motivate you to change, virtual reality also offers a variety of tools you can use in the battle against obesity.

According to researchers involved in a study published in the May/June 2013 issues of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior,

“Individuals who want to participate in real-life scenarios without real-life repercussions can use virtual reality. For example, participants can practice meal planning, grocery shopping, and dietary control when eating at restaurants and holiday parties to a much greater extent with Second Life compared with the time-limited clinic meeting. Virtual reality may even be able to serve as a more feasible option to monitor individuals after completing a weight loss program.”

Some individuals have also had success with weight loss using tools that once interfered with living a healthy lifestyle. Many virtual reality games are incorporating more and more physical activity, helping some gamers improve their fitness while participating in an activity they love.

Despite some believing video games and other tech as the reason our lives are less mobile and healthy than they once were, the exact opposite could eventually be true.