Want to shift that middle-aged spread How keeping a food journal is more effective in women over 50 than skipping meals
19:03 GMT, 16 July 2012
Forget skipping meals; keeping a food journal, and eating out less often, particularly for lunch, is the most effective way to lose weight.
According to new research released on Friday, middle-age women who keep journals can lose 6lbs (2.7 kgs) more than those who don't, but by skipping meals, they are on average 8lbs (3.6 kgs) heavier than women who eat regularly.
Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, looked at the impact of self-monitoring techniques in older overweight and obese women, which showed that simple changes in behaviour makes a big difference on the scales.
Fighting fat: According to a new study, middle-age women who keep journals can loose 6lbs (2.7 kgs) more than those you don't, but by skipping meals
The study also found that ladies who lunch in a restaurant at least weekly were, are on average 5lbs heavier (2.3 kgs) than woman who make their own.
Anne McTiernan, the director of the Hutchinson Center's Prevention Center who conducted the study, said: 'Knowing what you are eating and knowing how much you are eating seem to be the key.
'For individuals who are trying to lose weight, the No. 1 piece of advice based on these study results would be to keep a food journal to help meet daily calorie goals.'
Ms McTiernan explained that the more journals the women completed, the more weight they lost, simply by recording what they ate increased awareness of the foods and calories they consumed.
The study included 123
women, aged 50 to 75 years old, who lived in the Seattle area.
Researchers divided the women into two groups – diet only, and exercise as well as diet.
Assessing their food intake,
weight-control strategies, meal patterns and a 1200 and 2,000 daily calorie intake, they found that women in both groups lost an average of 10per cent of their body weight; however it was the difference in behaviour that resulted in greater weight loss overall.
'Exercise alone does not cause very much
weight loss. Most studies have shown that with exercise alone you might
be able to lose about two to three pounds over a year,' Ms McTiernan
'For people trying to lose
weight, keeping a food journal will help meet daily calorie goals'
'What exercise does do is keep weight off-long term and it helps prevents loss of muscle.'
Therefore, the researchers advised people trying to lose weight to record
everything they eat, to be accurate, to measure portions and to read
Accuracy is also important, and any toppings or condiments added
to food should also be included in the journal.
'It was the first study to look at a range of eating and weight-loss
behaviors to see which ones worked and which ones didn't,' said
Ms McTiernan. 'These are the ones that made the difference.'
A heavier world population is a growing problem worldwide, leading to increased health problems and costs.
Globally, obesity rates range from just four per cent in Japan and Korea to 30per cent or more in the U.S. and Mexico, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with researchers imploring women to be diligent in keeping track of their eating habits.