Losing weight is usually never as simple as eating less, opting for a different diet, or simply deciding to exercise more. Let’s be real: It’s invariably a combination of all of those strategies, combined with hearty self-discipline, a supportive network of friends and family, and all sorts of clever tips and tricks you can use to give yourself an assist along the way. After all, there’s a reason why an outsize number of dieters simply quit, and roughly 80% of people who successfully lost weight end up gaining most of it back. Weight loss is hard.
If you’re determined to lose weight, however, a study published in the journal Obesity contains some interesting data that you can potentially use to make your own weight loss a little easier, and it sheds light on the importance of tracking your weight loss goals using all of the digital tools at your fingertips.
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For the study, researchers from Stanford University analyzed the results of nearly 40 weight loss trials of overweight or obese people conducted over the course of ten years, and observed nearly 70 different types of digital self-monitoring throughout them all. At the end of the study, more than 70% of the dieters who used digital self-monitoring technology as part of their weight-loss effort experienced successful weight loss. The most common technology used to help with weight loss was simply websites (66%), followed by apps (33%), wearables (11%), electronic scales (12%), and text messaging (12%).
“More frequent self-monitoring via digital health is linked to greater weight loss in behavioral interventions,” concludes the study. “This association held regardless of which domains were self-monitored or which digital modalities used.”
The study also notes that “engagement rates were higher in digital than in paper-based self-monitoring.”
There is one caveat, however. Weight loss success associated with digital self-monitoring was most successful in the shorter term. Those who tracked and recorded their progress in a time-frame less than a year successfully lost weight with 84% success. Those who tracked for longer than a year only had 47% success. “Longer intervention duration tempered this relationship,” explains the study, “suggesting that self-monitoring may be less effective for weight loss over time either because engagement declines or because rates of weight loss slow despite similar degrees of engagement.”
Still, if you’re dedicated to your goals, the data shows that you’d be wise to sign up for a site that can help you track your progress and your goals. And for a few more little tricks and strategies you can use along the way to help you reach your goals, read on, because we’ve included some right here. And for more great health news, read up on The “Game Changer” Drug That Could Help You Lose 10 Pounds.
If you’re working out tomorrow morning, prepare for it tonight by making your morning routine as frictionless and as easy as possible. “When you are tired in the morning, you may find excuses why not to go to the gym or to workout,” says Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS. “Getting everything packed and ready to go will help you keep consistent with your program—period.” And if you’re looking for some great exercise inspiration make sure you try The One Workout That Drives 29 Percent More Fat Loss, Says Science.
Jinan Banna, Ph.D., RD, CDN, a professor of nutrition at The University of Hawaii at Manoa, says that one of the best ways to keep a disciplined diet is to “indulge” in your favorite foods—well, healthier twists on them. “If you love ice cream, you can try blending your own simple ice cream using banana, almond milk, peanut butter and ice,” she advises.
According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, after drinking approximately two tall glasses of water, participants’ metabolic rates increased by 30 percent. The researchers estimate that increasing water intake to just six cups a day will burn an extra 17,400 calories per year—a weight loss of five pounds.
A study published in the journal Molecular Metabolism found that “cold ambient temperatures” will encourage your body to produce more vitamin A, which helps your body convert your body’s white fat (the bad kind) into brown fat (the good kind). When this happens, your body burns more energy than it stores as fat. And for more healthy living advice, know that This Incredible Four-Second Workout Actually Works, Says New Study.