Category Archive : Gadgets

Could Fitness Tracking Apps and Devices Be Leading to Disordered Eating? Research Says so…

As a fitness aficionado, I set quite a score by my fitness watch. It tracked my burned calories, my steps, my heartrate, and my workouts. It permitted me to run marathons without having to lug my phone along to keep tabs on my pace and see how many miles I had run. It perked me up with motivators when I hit my move goal. It told me to get up after I had given in to lethargy and been idle for more than an hour at a time.

Similarly, I had literally been tapping in [to MyFitnessPal] every day for years. It seems innocuous when you are just starting out, but I can definitely say I got addicted. Every morsel that went into my body also had to be logged into my diary. I would fret over numbers since my Keto diet demanded macro management, I would find myself weighing something as insignificant as a lettuce leaf, I would worry if something I ate sent me over, I would feel wrecked with guilt if I fell behind my calorie goals for the day. Soon I started picking foods that I could input into MyFitnessPal, instead of eating home-cooked meals. Even when I had a binge, a total, utter of control (perhaps nothing more than a full scoop of ice cream), I logged it as best I could… it fueled my warped illusion of control – however, in reality, it was controlling me.

I felt I had to look, eat, train a certain way, since people were watching. I wanted to have a six-pack, be the strongest, leanest, the quickest. I worked hard and did get good at all of those things but as a consequence, I inadvertently fell victim to eating disorders. Within a few months, I was starting to burn more calories than I had eaten. Wrapped up in the complicated brain chemistry of motivation and reward, I would boast with pride when my calorie counter would go negative, or whenever I received a congratulatory message from some app!

In addition to counting calories, I was counting my steps as well, which further aggravated the compulsion to do a minimum number of steps and walk a certain distance each day. If I ever did more one day, it would become my new minimum the following time. Over time, I started getting so distressed because I never had time to do things as I had to get my steps in.

I tapped my progress obsessively – so obsessively, in fact, that my body was trimming off more than was needed. A couple of months down the lane, I started suffering from Panic attacks, mental and physical exhaustion, kidney problems, and migraines. After being hospitalized for days, diagnosed with “Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder”, and months of therapy, it dawned on me; What was I doing to my body?

The Link Between Disordered Eating And Fitness Tracking

Image result for my fitness pal

While apps like MyFitnessPal and fitness tracking devices can come in quite handy for some people, obsessing over calories burned and logging every morsel is nevertheless unhealthy. In fact, Heather Hausenblas, Ph.D., a professor in the department of kinesiology at Jacksonville University in Florida, highlights the importance of raising awareness about the role of fitness and calorie-counting apps in exercise addiction and eating disorders.

“For the most part, these apps do good,” says Hausenblas. “But for certain individuals, the constant checking and the obsession about it becomes really negative. With people who are on the cusp of disordered behaviors, it can push them over the edge.”

A 2017 study analyzing 493 college-age students found (via tracking devices and fitness apps) and disordered eating attitudes. Participants were entailed to note their calorie counts or fitness levels using tracking devices. “Individuals who reported using calorie trackers manifested higher levels of eating concern… Additionally, fitness tracking was uniquely associated with ED symptomatology,” researchers found, concluding that “for some individuals, these devices might do more harm than good.”

A Perverse Game Of Arithmetic

The number of connected wearable devices worldwide, of which health-focused wearables hold a significant portion, just pushed the 74 million threshold in 2019, and is projected to soar up to more than 1 billion by 2022. Even devices that are not inherently famous for their health-focus, such as the Apple or Samsung watch, have in-built exercise tracking, calories burn, and step count. This means that you don’t even have to invest in a wearable or smartwatch to track your fitness regime; data about your body comes at you unsolicited.

Dr Carolyn Plateau, a lecturer in psychology at Loughborough University, has deeply scrutinized the effect of health-focused apps and fitness trackers on regular users. Her most recent study explores the differences in mental wellbeing, disordered exercise, and disordered eating between people who record food intake and calories via these mechanisms and those who don’t. Here’s what she has to say,

“Our findings were interesting as they indicated that those who did track their activity or food intake showed higher levels of both disordered eating and exercise than those who did not. In particular, higher levels of purging behavior (e.g. excessive or driven exercise to control or modify weight or shape) was found among the tracking group.” 

Another psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders, Amanda Perl, backs up this study. According to Amanda, excessive exercising, strict dieting, and Calorie counting are synonymous with disordered eating, and fitness trackers and apps can exacerbate these symptoms in people who have had a history of eating disorders, or those too fixated on these things. Even worse, this obsession with goal setting and health-focused metrics throws balance to the winds, since trackers can aggravate feelings of self-loathing, failure, body shaming, and feeling out of control.

You may not instantly fall prey to disordered eating behaviors, but you may start setting impossibly high standards for yourself. By promoting an image of perfectionism, these apps take the reigns over your life and push you into an abysmal illusion that leaves you vulnerable to depression.

 These apps play on people’s desperation to control what goes into their body and the effect it has. At first it can be almost therapeutic to log what you’ve eaten, but it becomes a perverse game of arithmetic that drowns you in numbers. Constant monitoring of food intake and physical activity inadvertently triggers the symptoms of disordered eating and fuels our already prevalent obsessive and highly self-critical perfectionistic tendencies.

Not to mention, Competition and comparison adds to the stigma about eating disorders being attention-seeking. Many individuals with eating disorders take to constantly comparing their weight, but now with social media and technology, time is irrelevant, and the comparison group is global.

Psychologist and eating disorder specialist Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld says that,

“Sufferers can compare their food intake against someone’s from another country who posted the data three months prior. The comparisons are infinite. So, if someone is trying to restrict their intake but didn’t do as ‘good’ a job as someone that posted their intake prior, this might fuel distress, resulting in increased restriction in order to alleviate the distress around the perceived failure.”

Xiaomi Redmi Launching World's First Gaming Phone

Xiaomi Redmi Launching World’s First Gaming Phone

Mediatek yesterday launched a game chipset called the Helio G90 and Helio G90T. Later, Redmi’s brand director Lu Weibing confirmed on Weibo that it will launch a game phone equipped with Helio G90T, which will be launched globally.

No information about the device was disclosed. But we hope that it will be available soon, and we will soon get reliable information about our phones. However, by observing the recently announced chipset, we can say that the handset will have two high-performance CPU clusters of Cortex-A76 units and six Cortex-A55 cores. In addition, the two clusters will be coupled via the Mali-G76 GPU. However, the entire system is built on the 12nm FinFET process. The system’s total clock speed is up to 2.05 GHz. In addition, the G90T will support up to 10 GB of RAM.

Since it is obvious that these chips are used in gaming phones, Redmi will also launch a gaming phone. There are other sub-brand game phones including Black shark, Nubia. However, it seems that the company is working hard to beat game companies like ROG Phone II and nubia Red Magic 3.

Smart Home Gadgets for 2019

Turn your Condo into a Smart Home in 2019 with These Gadgets

We all loved to watch Tony Stark uttering commands to the winds, turning this on with a glance, that off with the swash of his hand. You could be the master of everything in your condo as well. Tech giants have bombarded us with gadgets that will supposedly make our lives better and easier, and smart condos have been increasingly emerging into the everyday. If you have been looking for a Toronto Condo for sale, here are a few gadgets you could invest in to truly enjoy “smart living”!

Nest learning thermostat

Nest learning thermostat

While we have been seeing a lot of saturation in the smart thermostat market, one that tops our list is the Nest smart thermostat. While it packs all the features of the original Nest, but with a less vivid display and cheaper parts which makes it more pocket friendly for condo owners. Not to mention, it works flawlessly with other Nest devices, such as the Nest security cameras and the Nest Protect, in addition to smart home gadgets from other brands as well. Here’s where it outshines competitors: The AI enabled thermostat learns about your activities as well as the heating schedules of your family, keeping your home at just the perfect temperature, while saving up on electricity bills. Undoubtedly one of the best smart home devices of 2019 for small condos.

Smart Air Quality Monitor

Smart Air Quality Monitor

Do you wish to have high quality air circulating throughout your condo, especially if you live in a bustling neighborhood? The Awair Glow works by tracking the key factors of your air quality, such as Chemicals, temperature, humidity, and CO2, and has a built-in night light. Based on the results, it takes smart actions to improve the air quality, such as turn on the humidifier when the humidity levels in a room fall low.

June Oven

June Oven

Want to cook like a gourmet chef? Who could have thought that one day we would have an oven that knows how to cook your food for you! Here comes the June Oven: a smart countertop oven with a built-in camera. The oven is equipped with programs for cooking a variety of specific foods, and its in-built camera identifies most of the foods you place in the oven. The oven automatically alters the time and temperature to perfectly cook whatever you place inside. The June Food Thermometer monitors and sends precise readings back to the oven to automatically change temperature, switch cook modes, and notify you when your food is ready. Its compact size makes it perfect for even a small condo kitchen.

iRobot Braava Jet 240

iRobot Braava Jet 240

Meet the Braava Jet 240; a tiny robot that mops and sweeps floors better than any sweeper, down to that last spot. It’s also the most affordable option in iRobot’s lineup. Specially meant for small spaces like micro condo kitchens and bathrooms, it works by spraying water and then switching between a plethora of different pads to clean quietly and effectively. It has an in-built navigation system and offers damp mopping as well. While it cannot scrub deep-set stains, if you are looking for a robot to keep your condo looking neat and clean round the clock, this compact little cleaner is your best bet.

LG’s Self-cleaning Closet

LG's Self-cleaning Closet

Do laundry days leave you dismal? Want a smart cabinet that can “refresh” your crumpled laundry for you? Sounds too good to be true. No, the elves don’t sneak in and do the deed! We have the LG self-cleaning closet; a freestanding wardrobe with in-built hangers and a steamer that automatically move around to de-wrinkle your clothes. The closet gizmo doesn’t exactly wash your dirty laundry, its TrueSteam technology “eliminates over 99.9 percent of the germs and bacteria found in clothing to keep one’s wardrobe hygienically clean,” according to the official website. Hot air is pumped through to keep all your clothes wrinkle-free and dry, while moving hangers shake off offensive odor. This translates into much less laundry days since you can reuse worn clothes more than once.

Nest Hello

Nest Hello

While its fun and all to reminisce the good old days when our doorbells would play merry tune, 2019 gives us a doorbell packed with a160-degree-wide-angle camera and an inbuilt microphone to double as a security system. Nest Hello’s video doorbell is a Wi-Fi connected device that offers two-way speaker communication, facial recognition, and round the clock streaming of high-quality footage. Knock Knock…Who’s there? Just kidding, we already know!

Ikea Smart Blinds

Ikea Smart Blinds

Do you sometimes wish that the blinds would automatically close when the sun shines through? Or perhaps open themselves when you need some natural light to seep in. Meet Ikea’s voice-activated, smartphone-connected blinds, compatible with Google home, Alexa, and Siri, as well as Ikea’s own Tradfri smart home system. Set to be released in October, their affordable price has made them perfect to be installed in your condos.

The Pod smart bed

 The Pod smart bed

The smart sleep specialists 8 Sleep has come up with a new innovation to give you the best chance of a good night snooze! The Pod learns the temperature that makes you the most comfortable when you sleep and adjusts itself accordingly. It can also wake you up by gradually raising the temperature of the bed, bidding adieu to the shrill ringing of alarm clocks. For a $5 monthly subscription, you can get a connected app to collect data from sensors embedded in the mattress while you sleep and analyze it to better adapt to your preferences. Thankfully, Alexa compatibility makes everything controllable by voice.

iKuddle smart cat litter tray

iKuddle smart cat litter tray

Keeping pets in a compact space can get… well smelly. While its release date is not yet confirmed, this Kickstarter project has got a lot of condo owners hooked. The idea of a sensor-activated, self-cleaning litter tray could make it a whole lot easier to keep pets in your condo. The device detects when your cat enters the tray, a hand scoops up the soiled litter, seals it in an airtight bag, and sprays deodorant to get rid of lingering odors.

Eco Dish Cleaner

Eco Dish Cleaner

The Eco cleaner cleanses dishes with the help of ultrasonic waves by ionizing the food particles. For those aspiring to reduce their carbon footprint, this eco-friendly technology converts all food scraps into compost for plants. All your food waste is transformed into healthy soil for your plants. The compact and portable gadget will fit in even the smallest condo kitchen and will revolutionize the family’s dining ritual. What further makes it sustainable for urban lifestyle is that this gadget uses solar technology for charging the battery.

Orro intelligent light switch

Orro intelligent light switch

There are lot of wifi-enabled lighting systems available online these days, Orro’s is the first of its kind that leverages in-built self-learning technology to get to grips with how you like to light your home and anticipate your mood lighting needs in advance. It understands your lighting preferences and senses when someone enters or leaves a room. Not to mention, it considers the amount of natural light entering the room and the time of the day before making lighting decisions. It also connects to smart hubs and acts as an extension to their voice recognition capabilities.