Want a simple, cost-effective way to keep weight down? Connect the dots! Get yourself a sheet of graph paper, then mark your weight on a daily basis, plotting a line through entries to make a chart. A new study from Cornell University suggests that this self-monitoring tool really works in keeping your diet on the straight and narrow (pun intended).
Researchers set out to see what methods might help female college students avoid the dreaded “Freshman 15.” Subjects emailed their daily, morning weight and then received a graph plotting fluctuations and trends–together with calorie-reduction tips. The control group that didn’t receive feedback gained about 7 pounds over a 12-week semester. Those in the “graph” group had NO weight gain during the same time period. The effectiveness of this technique is likely due to the combination of daily accountability and visual feedback.
The National Weight Registry–a database of dieters who’ve maintained a minimum 30-pound weight loss for more than a year–proves that most successful “losers” do indeed weigh themselves regularly, and also exercise an hour most days of the week. While aerobic exercise is the biggest calorie burner, lifting weights can increase your metabolic rate, and yoga can check middle age spread.
Published November 1, 2006