- The study participants were between the ages of 18 and 65.
- Other research, without graphic visualization of the evolution of the weight, will be made to check if the self-weighing is the most influencing factor.
Holidays are synonymous with relaxation and food is often part of it. Outings to restaurants, meals with family or friends are generally associated with a richer diet. Researchers at the University of Georgia have found a technique to avoid bringing back extra pounds as a souvenir. In the magazine obesitythey explain that a daily weigh-in limits weight gain during the holidays.
A fourteen-week study
According to the authors, the average weight gain during the holidays is between 0.4 and 1.5 kilos. With a group of 111 participants, they tested the effect of daily weighing, with graphic visualizations, on weight maintenance. Several follow-up visits were carried out: before the Thanksgiving holiday, after New Year’s, and 14 weeks later. Each time, their weight was recorded to observe changes. In parallel, a control group was followed over the same period.
“They were asked to try not to gain weight (…), but without further instructions on how to achieve this goalThe researchers speculated that participants’ constant exposure to weight fluctuations could motivate individuals to change their behavior to maintain their weight.
Daily behavior changes
After analyzing the different weighings, the scientists found that the participants managed to maintain or even lose weight during and after the holiday season, while the control group gained weight. “People are really sensitive to discrepancies or differences between their current weight and their norm or goalsaid Michelle vanDellen, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Georgia. When they see that discrepancy, it tends to lead to a change in behavior.”
Daily self-weighing allows you to observe these changes day after day, and to modify your behavior accordingly. “Maybe they exercise a bit more the next day (after seeing some weight gain) or watch what they eat more carefully.adds Jamie Cooper, co-author of the study. People choose for themselves how they will change their behavior, which can be effective.” However, she points out a possible bias in this study: people’s knowledge that researchers would access their daily weight data may have contributed to behavior change.