For Your Health
The Best Way to Lose Weight
Study proves it’s the “write” way to shed pounds
Money may talk, but a pen and piece of paper may actually be the better motivator to make you walk the walk and lose weight in the long run.
Anyone who’s ever tried to lose weight knows what a difficult, daunting task this can be. When judging what prime motivators might get people on the go, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania thought cold, hard cash might just work.
The researchers, according to the New York Times, conducted a 16-week study with 57 overweight, but otherwise healthy, individuals and divided them into three groups. One group was awarded $3 a day in addition to extra, similar funds for reaching their weight loss goal. The second group was qualified to participate in a cash lottery system, enabling individuals to gain $10 to $100 a day if they met their weight loss goals. The third group was given no monetary motivators and weighed in once per month. Following the 16 weeks, researchers found members of group one lost on average about 13.1 pounds each; members of group two lost about 14 pounds each; and members of group three lost about 3.4 pounds each.
Though the reward system appeared to work as desired during the study, it wasn’t without problems. Researchers found that when the rewards ran dry, motivation was soon to follow. Seven months later, many of the individuals had gained the weight back, but on average were still about six to nine pounds lighter.
While cold, hard cash can serve as a temporary motivator, a long-term motivator may be a better idea. And that’s as close as the nearest stationary store. In a study conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, individuals who used daily food journals lost about twice as much weight as those who went it alone, and kept the weight off.
The five-month study included 1,500 overweight adults, who were educated on proper exercise, diet, food journaling and alcohol consumption and met in weekly group sessions. At the study’s conclusion, the average individual’s weight loss was 13 pounds. However, those who kept food journals over five days a week doubled their weight loss in comparison to those who did not journal.
When keeping a food journal, individuals write down every single food that enters their mouth, day or night. Though a tedious task, one study participant credits her ability to lose 20 pounds in six months to food journaling, “it really started with the food journals,” she explained to ABC News. “Now it’s in my head. By keeping food journals for so many months, the pattern for eating is with me.”
So start the new year right by resolving to keep a food journal, and it may help you keep the one resolution most of us have – to lose weight before bathing suit season.