It’s easier than you may think

It’s easier than you may think

Do a quick Google search and you’ll find countless apps and products that aim to give people useful tools to record and measure their weight loss goals.

The sheer number may seem overwhelming at first, but how you choose to keep track of what you eat isn’t as important as the act itself.

Also, there isn’t a need to spend a lot of money on a fancy program. Several quality self-monitoring apps are available for free.

For instance, Lose It! is a free app for Apple and Android devices that gives users an easy way to track what they are consuming.

Fooducate is another free Apple and Android app that gives you the chance to look up exactly what is in the foods you eat on a regular basis. The app provides ratings for common items — “Tostitos Multigrain Scoops! Tortilla Chips” have a “B minus” on the app. Compare that to a Coca Cola soda, which has a dismal “D” rating on the app.

Harvey added that her research underscores the effectiveness of self-monitoring as a behavior that is “strongly related to weight loss success.”

She said that finding any way to monitor your food intake “will be helpful for weight loss and maintenance.”

Webster suggests that you do what feels most comfortable and easily applicable to your daily schedule.

“If you’re a person that hand-writes to-do lists or writes in a journal often, maybe a written form of self-monitoring is your style. You can easily jot things down in a plain-old notebook, and there are many different food journals or blank templates available in bookstores or online,” she said. “If you frequently use your phone, tablet, or computer for work or leisure, maybe having an app-based or online food tracking system will be most efficient.

“It’s important to find a system that you like and that you feel comfortable with. Otherwise, the desire to fall off the wagon will be that much stronger,” she added. “We often hear that the best form of exercise is ‘the one that you’ll actually do.’ Same goes for self-monitoring options.”

The bottom line
A new study in the journal Obesity suggests that self-monitoring what foods you consume is the most effective way to lose weight.

Participants in the 6-month study who lost the most weight, spent just under 15 minutes a day recording what they ate and drank.

While it might seem daunting, the researchers urge that finding a way to include self-monitoring in your day-to-day routine will help you hit your weight loss goals.

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