Weighing yourself daily can help reduce belly fat, new research finds.
Self-weighing helps make people aware of what they are eating and make changes if necessary.
Some people in the study lost weight without any special diet or other advice.
The only thing they were told to do was maintain their weight during the holiday season, which is often challenging.
Dr Jamie Cooper, study co-author, said:
“Maybe they exercise a little bit more the next day (after seeing a weight increase) or they watch what they are eating more carefully.
The subjects self-select how they are going to modify their behavior, which can be effective because we know that interventions are not one-size-fits-all.”
The study included 111 people who were followed over 14 weeks, including a holiday period.
The results showed that people who did not weigh themselves gained weight over Christmas.
However, those that weighed themselves daily either maintained weight or lost it, including belly fat.
People who weighed themselves were shown a graph of their weight changes over time.
Dr Michelle vanDellen, study co-author, said:
“People are really sensitive to discrepancies or differences between their current selves and their standard or goal.
When they see that discrepancy, it tends to lead to behavioral change.
Daily self-weighing ends up doing that for people in a really clear way.”
Holidays can be a particularly difficult time for maintaining or losing weight, said Dr Cooper:
“Vacations and holidays are probably the two times of year people are most susceptible to weight gain in a very short period of time.
The holidays can actually have a big impact on someone’s long-term health.”
People often become obese due to consistently putting on small amounts of weight over the years, most frequently during the holiday season.
Frequent self-weighing can help arrest this trend.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Obesity (Kaviani et al., 2019).