This month in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, an article was written about the importance of self-monitoring in weight loss. Researchers reviewed the findings from 22 studies that looked at how self-monitoring effected weight loss outcomes. They found that there was a “consistent and significant positive relationship between self-monitoring diet, physical activity or weight and successful outcomes related to weight management”.
So, what types of techniques were used to self monitor? People either used written or electronic food journals to track their intakes, and both techniques were found to help with weight loss. Perhaps more studies need to be done on which type of record is the most beneficial, but I would say that each person should use what ever type of record is easiest for them. The one thing that has been determined, is that keeping food journals daily is more beneficial then back filling (trying to remember what you ate for the past few days).
The researchers also found that that people who weigh themselves weekly (and keep record of this weight) lost more weight than those who weighed themselves less frequently. Lastly, they found that keeping record of exercise can help with weight loss as well. The bottom line is, write it down! The self awareness can help to promote positive changes and can expedite the weight loss.
Although I have written on this topic before, I think it is a message that is worth repeating. After all, if there is something that has been proven to help with weight loss over and over again, why not take advantage…especially when it costs you nothing! Check out my previous post for Good Apps and Websites to Track Intakes.
Referance: Burke LE, Wang J, Sevick MA. Self-Monitoring in Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. January 2011, 92-102.