“Write it when you bite it”
New research to be published in the March issue of Obesity reveals that successful participants in an online behavioural weight-loss program spent only 14.6 minutes per day on dietary monitoring. The participants recorded the calories, fat, portion sizes and preparation methods for all food consumed.
“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?” said Jean Harvey, chair of the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at the University of Vermont and the lead author of this study. “The answer is, not very much.”
For 24 weeks, Harvey and her colleagues analysed the self-monitoring of 142 participants. The participants who lost the most weight in the study, spent an average of 23.2 minutes per day on self-monitoring in the first month of the program. By the sixth month, the time had dropped to 14.6 minutes. But what was more predictive of successful weight loss was the frequency of log ins, and not the amount of time spent monitoring.
“Those who self-monitored three or more time per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful,” Harvey said. “It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference — not the time spent or the details included.”
With online dietary monitoring apps like My Fitness Pal, Harvey hopes that this study will motivate more people to use dietary self-monitoring as a weight-loss strategy.
“It’s highly effective, and it’s not as hard as people think,” she said.
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Story provided by Univerity of Vermont Note: Content may be edited for style and length.