While logging everything you eat can be a tedious task, it turns out that this technique can help lose weight effectively, according to a recent study.
The technique, known as dietary self-monitoring, requires a person to record everything they consume throughout the day, along with portion sizes and preparation methods. Which is why, most people believe the process is time-consuming and might not lead to desired results. However, researchers at the University of Vermont in Burlington and the University of South Carolina in Columbia have found that monitoring your diet is highly effective and much easier than it seems.
“People hate it; they think it’s onerous and awful, but the question we had was: how much time does dietary self-monitoring really take?” says Jean Harvey, lead author of the study and chair of the University of Vermont’s Nutrition and Food Sciences Department. “The answer is, not very much.”
A sample size of 142 participants out of which 81 per cent suffered from obesity, took part in the study and were enrolled for the Internet Obesity Treatment Enhanced with Motivational Interviewing (iReach2) trial. The participants had to join a dietitian-led online session every week for 24 weeks wherein they had to log their daily food intake using an online platform. The team could see not only what people were eating, but also how often they recorded their food intake and how much time it took for them to do it.
As per Medical News, it was found that “the most successful participants were those who lost 10 per cent of their body weight. In the first month, these individuals spent an average of 23.2 minutes per day recording their dietary intake. By the sixth month, this had dropped significantly to 14.6 minutes. The researchers believe that this decrease could be due to two factors: the participants’ efficiency in logging their diet and the online program’s ability to predict regularly used words and phrases.”
“We know people do better when they have the right expectations. We’ve been able to tell them that they should exercise 200 minutes per week. But, when we asked them to write down all their foods, we could never say how long it would take. Now we can”, Harvey explains.
Logging in at least twice a day was likely to result in more significant weight loss. However, it was “those who self-monitored three or more times per day and were consistent day after day” who were the most successful, says Harvey. “It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference — not the time spent or the details included”, Harvey said.
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