Keep a journal, don't skip meals to shed weight: Study

Women who kept journals lost 2.7kg more than those who didn't.

Reuters July 19, 2012
Keep a journal, don't skip meals to shed weight: Study

NEW YORK: Want to drop those extra pounds without starving yourself? Keeping a food journal, not skipping meals and eating out less often, particularly for lunch, will help, according to new research released on Friday.

Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, in a study that looked at the impact of various self-monitoring techniques in older overweight and obese women, showed that simple changes in behavior can make a difference on the scales.

They found that in the year-long study women who kept journals lost 2.7kg more than those who didn't, but if they skipped meals they dropped 3.6 kg less than women who ate regularly.

Ladies who lunched in a restaurant at least weekly lost on average 2.3 kg.

"Knowing what you are eating and knowing how much you are eating seem to be the key," Anne McTiernan, the director of the Hutchinson Center's Prevention Center who conducted the study, said in an interview.

"For individuals who are trying to lose weight, the No. 1 piece of advice based on these study results would be to keep a food journal to help meet daily calorie goals."

McTiernan said the more journals the women completed, the more weight they lost. Recording what they ate increased the   women's awareness of the foods and calories they consumed.

Diet and Exercise

Expanding waistlines are a growing problem around the globe, leading to increased health problems and costs. Figures from the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed obesity rates ranged from a low of 4 percent in Japan and Korea to 30 percent or more in the United States and Mexico.

Body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement that compares weight and height are used to measure obesity. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese, while a BMI of 25 to 29 is considered overweight.

McTiernan and her team studied 123 women, aged 50 to 75 years old, who lived in the Seattle area in the dietary weight loss intervention study. Their findings are published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

They divided the women into two groups, diet only and exercise plus diet, and assessed their food intake, weight-control strategies, meal patterns and encouraged them to eat between 1200 and 2,000 calories a day.

At the end of the study women in both groups lost an average of 10 percent of their body weight.

"Exercise alone does not cause very much weight loss. Most studies have shown that with exercise alone you might be able to lose about two to three pounds over a year," McTiernan explained.

"What exercise does do is keep weight off-long term and it helps prevents loss of muscle."

The researchers advised people trying to lose weight to record everything they eat, to be accurate, to measure portions and to read labels. Accuracy was also important, so any toppings or condiments added to food should also be included in the journal.

"It was the first study to look at a range of eating and weight-loss behaviors to see which ones worked and which ones didn't," said McTiernan. "These are the ones that made the difference."


Tariq | 11 years ago | Reply

Lost 13kg in 3 months without starving. Taking regularly breakfast (which I never used to take), eating dates as snacks after 3 hrs lunch quantity that fits palm snack again fruit after 3 hrs and early dinner at around 6-7pm with normal walk 2-3 days for 45 min

Also watch movie fat, sick and nearly dead for motivation.

Never skipping meals ensure maintaining glucose level and boosts the body metabolism.

Only commitment is required for the success.

Sahibzada Shabir | 11 years ago | Reply

Great i have also lost 8 kg in few days, eating only fruits, salads, boiled/BBQ chicken, NO to sugar, wheat, oils and I am getting results. Eating five times a day not starving at all.

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