Stepping on the scale daily and tracking your progress may be the best way for dieters to successfully lose weight and keep it off, according to one study.
Researchers from Cornell University found that study participants who weighed themselves daily and charted their results lost significantly more weight than those who did not. They were also able to keep the weight off.
“Obesity is a chronic, lifelong condition and must be addressed as such through lifelong changes,” says Dr. Shane Fogo, an Advocate Medical Group family medicine physician at Advocate Eureka Hospital in Eureka, Ill. “Keeping track of your weight daily not only helps to confirm if your weight loss plan is working, but helps you monitor for potential weight gain once you have reached your weight loss goal.”
Daily self-weighing and tracking “forces you to be aware of the connection between your eating and your weight,” lead study author David Levitsky said in a news release. “It used to be taught that you shouldn’t weigh yourself daily, and this is just the reverse.”
The researchers found that self-weighing and tracking are simple ways to reinforce and strengthen positive behaviors such as eating less and maintaining regular exercise.
“You just need a bathroom scale and an Excel spreadsheet, or even a piece of graph paper,” said Levitsky.
Dr. Fogo offers some other tips for successful weight loss:
- Don’t skip meals altogether. Going a long time between meals may slow your metabolic rate and make it harder for you to lose weight.
- Getting a good, restful night of sleep is key. The stress from chronic fatigue will make it difficult to commit to long-term dietary changes and exercise routines.
- Exercise. Meaningful calorie burn through exercise takes time. It takes consistent effort and dedication to regular exercise to get into shape to a point where longer, more intense activities will yield higher calorie burn.
- Avoid high calorie beverages. People often don’t realize how many calories they are drinking daily through energy drinks, soda, sports drinks or coffee drinks such as mochas, lattes and cappuccinos. These can easily contain anywhere from 150 to 500 calories or more per drink.
“Obesity has become probably the most significant preventable health risk factor today,” says Dr. Fogo. “Studies have shown that the effects of obesity may now cause more health problems than smoking.”