Scientists have known for years that there is one single best predictor of success among people trying to lose weight.
It’s not type of diet they do…
Or whether they cut carbs or fat…
Or what time of day they eat…
Or what exercise they do.
People who lose the most weight keep track of what they eat.
Although it sounds unpleasant and time consuming to log everything you eat, a new study shows it’s far easier than you think.
The research was done at the University of Vermont and the University of South Carolina.
Professor Jean Harvey was lead author. She noted that people generally hate diet self-monitoring. “They think it’s onerous and awful,” she said.
The study included 142 people who wanted to lose weight. The subjects were asked to use an online program to log everything they ate.
After six months, the most successful dieters in the study lost at least 10% of their body weight. So a 200-pound man would have lost at least 20 pounds, a great result by any measure.
Professor Harvey said dieters “who self-monitored three or more times a day and were consistent day after day” were the most successful.
And these successful dieters did not find it time consuming to track what they ate. It took them an average of 23 minutes at day at first. But by the end of the study, it took less than 15 minutes.
Another recent study, this one from Duke University, had similar results. It found that people who used a phone app to log their food consumption lost more weight than others—and kept it off longer.
The bottom line?
Keeping a daily diet log is a powerful weight loss tool. And it takes less time than you think.
Log in for Optimal Weight Loss
Excellent free diet-logging apps include FatSecret, MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, and Yazio.
If you want to go the low-tech route, simply write down what you eat in a notebook.
A food diary should include:
- How much you ate measured in ounces or number of items (five tortilla chips, for instance).
- The type of food.
- What time you ate.
Use whatever diet and exercise program you want, but know this… The best way to control your weight is to keep track of what goes into your mouth.
Editor’s Note: Learn how you can shed pounds of body fat—without cutting back on the foods you love.
Discover how to unlock your fat-burning potential HERE.