Daily Weighing Leads to Weight Loss
Previous studies have shown that weighing yourself regularly and often can prevent weight gain when you have lost weight.
But what about people (probably most of us) for whom weight creeps on steadily once we reach adulthood?
Let your scales comes to the rescue!
A new study involving female university students found that those who weighed themselves daily reduced their body mass index.
A pretty impressive result when you consider that more than 70% of US college students gain weight during their first year.
The study was carried out by researchers at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania and published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.
Researchers enrolled 294 women of varying weights and measured their body fat percentages at baseline, six months and two years.
BMI was determined by height and weight, and body fat percentage was measured. Participants also responded to questionnaires about their weighing habits.
The researchers were surprised to find that, on average, women who reported at least one period of daily self-weighing not only tended to avoid weight gain, but actually experienced some weight loss.
They saw small, but significantly different changes in their BMI after two years, compared to the group who did not self-weigh daily, who saw little change in their BMI.
"The losses in BMI and body fat percentage were modest, but still significant, especially keeping in mind that these women were not part of a weight loss program. We did not expect that, in the absence of a weight loss intervention, folks would be losing weight," said Diane Rosenbaum, PhD, who completed the study while a postdoctoral research fellow at Drexel's College of Arts and Sciences and is now a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
They conclude that daily self-weighing appears to be an important behaviour that influences weight and body fat trajectories, and the habit could prevent unwanted weight gain, even for those without a weight loss history.
"Regularly weighing yourself can motivate you to engage in healthy eating and exercise behaviors, because it provides you with evidence that these behaviors are effective in helping you lose weight or prevent weight gain. Similarly, if you see weight gain on the scale, that information can motivate you to make a change," said Meghan Butryn, PhD, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel.
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