There are a lot of ways you can increase your chances of losing weight once you commit to that goal and tracking your progress is one of them. Keeping a weight loss journal is a great way of keeping track of the strides you make as you lose weight. Believe it or not, researchers have actually looked into the effectiveness of using a weight loss journal.
It May Help Increase Weight Loss
A group of researchers at the University of Pittsburg decided to review a bunch of studies that looked into whether or not keeping a journal helped with weight loss. They reviewed 22 studies that looked into the effectiveness of self-monitoring to lose weight.
- Some of these studies focused on self-monitoring diet.
- One focused on self-monitoring exercise.
- Others focused on self-monitoring weight loss.
After going over all of the data they found a strong connection between self-monitoring using a diary and weight loss.
Another study done at the National Cheng-Kung University in Taiwan was done to see if keeping a weight loss diary could increase weight loss while on a weight loss program. Researchers recruited 50 adults who were overweight or obese for this study.
- They were all put on a weight loss program but some were asked to keep a weight loss journal.
- They were also taught how to record diet and exercise details in an organized way.
- The weight loss program lasted for 12 weeks.
While both groups lost weight the people who kept a weight loss journal loss twice as much weight as the group that did not. These results strongly suggest that keeping a weight loss journal can help increase the amount of weight you can lose.
Can Help with Diet
Another group of researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago did a study on older women to see if self-monitoring had an effect on weight loss. The kinds of self-monitoring involved in this study were the monitoring of body weight and diet.
Researchers recruited 123 overweight or obese women for this study who went on a 12 month weight loss diet.
- Not only did they find that completing a food journal caused 3.7% greater weight loss but they also found that skipping meals was associated with 4.3% less weight loss.
- They also found that eating out for lunch tended to cause 2.5% less weight loss.
These findings not only suggest that keeping a food journal can help with weight loss but also that making a habit out of skipping meals and not eating home cooked meals can reduce weight loss.
Using Digital Journals
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh did another study to see how effective using a device called a personal digital assistant as a digital journal was at helping people increase the amount of exercise they got. This study involved 210 people who were put into 3 groups.
- One group used paper to record the amount of exercise they got.
- Another group used the personal digital assistant.
- The last group used the personal digital assistant and had it give a tailored feedback message.
After monitoring these test subjects for 6 months researchers found that all of these groups increased the amount of exercise they got but the group that used the digital device that gave the feedback message was the most likely to reach their physical activity goals. People who used the digital device tended to record the amount of exercise they got more than the people who used paper. What these scientists found suggests that using a digital journal can help you stick with your fitness goals perhaps because it is more convenient to use.
Keeping track of your progress can work by keeping you motivated and focused on your goals.