The more a person weighs themselves, the more weight they lose, research finds.
Similarly, keeping a note of what is eaten is consistently linked to weight loss by studies.
Taking a quick note of daily diet and exercise habits has been shown to double weight loss by one study.
The process of making notes does not have to be complicated — in fact, most people find it easy.
Simply sending a text message or email is enough.
Noting down details of diet and exercise probably works by making people more aware of their own habits.
Habits tend to work automatically and outside our conscious awareness.
Note-taking and weighing draw attention to those habits so they can be consciously addressed.
The current study involved 975 people who were tracked over twelve months.
People in the study were using internet-enabled scales.
The results showed that people who stepped on their scales more often lost an average of an extra 2 pounds.
Dr Matthew Sperrin, the study’s first author, said:
“In this study we wanted to know more about the ways that engagement with weighing scales indicates the users’ behaviour, something that is only possible with recent advances in technology.”
Dr Sperrin explained the results:
“…we were able to spot a strong correlation between self-weighing and weight-loss, particularly that the more a patient weighed themselves, the more weight they were shown to lose.
Is it the weight change that encourages people to more closely monitor their weight or is it the monitoring that encourages the weight change?
This is something we would be keen to investigate further now that we know that the information gathered by connected health devices can be re-purposed and meaningfully used for the purpose of research.”
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 of Medical Internet Research (Sperrin et al., 2016).