Daily weighing can reduce belly fat, new research finds.
The simple act of self-weighing helps make people aware of what they are eating.
Greater awareness is required to inspire changes.
People in the study who weighed themselves regularly lost weight without adjusting their lifestyle or receiving any other advice.
There were 111 people in the study that tracked people for three months, including over the festive season.
People who did not weigh themselves gained weight over Christmas, the results showed.
In contrast, those that weighed themselves daily lost belly fat and weight, or at least maintained their weight.
People naturally make their own adjustments when they see their weight, said Dr Jamie Cooper, study co-author:
“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.”
People in the study were shown a graph of their weight.
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.”
Obesity is often caused by putting on small amounts of weight consistently over the years, with holidays being a particularly dangerous time.
Dr Cooper said:
“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.”
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).