If someone told you to write down every single item you eat while you’re following a weight-loss journey, you’d probably think ‘I don’t have time for this.’
But you may want to make time for it: People who track their foods every day are the ones watching the number on the scale go down.
A new study published in the journal ObesityThis had 150 people track what they ate for six months as part of a weight-loss program. At the end of the study, those who enjoyed the most weight loss spent around 15 minutes a day on average logging their food intake.
They say, ‘Write it when you bite it.’
Yes, in just half the time of your favourite episode on Netflix or the time you spend scrolling through social media before bedtime, you can improve your chances of weight loss significantly.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Vermont and the University of South Carolina, found that those who lost 10% of their body weight spent 23.2 minutes on average recording their intake every day. But by the sixth month, their average log time dropped to 14.6 minutes.
Spending more time recording didn’t equal more weight loss. However, how often a person logged into the tracking program actually did.
“Those who self-monitored three or more time per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful,” Jean Harvey, chair of the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at the University of Vermont and the lead author of the study, said in a press release. “It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference—not the time spent or the details included.”
Harvey hopes the study encourages dieters to start using tracking apps to log meals, and so people can realize it actually doesn’t take as much as
“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?” Harvey said. “The answer is, not very much.”
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