A new study has revealed that keeping track of what you eat and drink throughout the day could lead to significant weight loss. The new research suggests that even just 15 minutes a day spent on monitoring your diet – whether that be a food diary or calorie counting – could help you shed pounds.
Of the 140 people that took part in the study, the most successful participants lost up to 10 per cent of their body weight, with the researchers noting those who lost the most weight spent 23 minutes a day monitoring their diet in the first month, but that dropped to just 15 by the end of the study.
While keeping a food diary or constantly logging what you eat along with the calories into an app on your phone might seem tedious, the researchers say that this small act could have big results.
“People hate it; they think it’s onerous and awful, but the question we had was: How much time does dietary self-monitoring really take?” said lead study author Jean Harvey, chair of the Nutrition and Food Sciences Department at the University of Vermont. “The answer is, not very much.”
The trick, Harvey and his team revealed, is not to spend 15 minutes in one go arduously writing down everything you ate at the of the day, but to complete “brief but frequent” check-ins throughout the day.
By jotting down what you’ve eaten quickly after you eat it, you’ll become more conscious of how much you are consuming throughout the day and therefore eat less and lose weight in the process.
In even better news, it also didn’t seem to matter how effectively the participants were tracking the exact calories of what they were eating. The simple act of writing down what it was that they were eating, was enough. So even if you can’t be bothered to work out the calories of every single thing you eat every day – no worries.
“Those who self-monitored three or more times per day, and were consistent day after day, were the most successful,” Harvey said. “It seems to be the act of self-monitoring itself that makes the difference–not the time spent or the details included.”
The researchers advised setting a goal (such as weight loss, fat loss etc.) and then monitoring what you eat up to three times a day – say once after each meal – to see the most effective results.
The best bit? It really is as simple as writing down what you eat and drink. “It’s highly effective, and it’s not as hard as people think,” added Harvey.