The Simplest Way to Lose Weight, According to Science



Many aspects of adopting healthier habits are difficult. Cravings, fatigue, motivation, and more can get in the way of results. But a new study suggests that one of the simplest things you can do is talk about your journey.

Eighty-seven participants in a Drexel University study published in the journal Obesity in October were tasked with wearing a Fitbit tracker, weighing themselves on a wireless scale, and logging their food intake in a smartphone app over a 12-month period. The goal? To see if self-monitoring improved outcomes. (Related: 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.)

For the first three months, each individual also participated in a weekly group session, where they learned behavioral skills. After that, the participants only had contact with their coach through one text a week and one phone call a month. Coaches were able to see the data from half of the individuals and craft messages based on that information. No one had access to the others’ data, and the messages they received were generic.

“We were interested to see if weight-loss maintenance would be better when coaches could see the data and provide feedback, which might help sustain a high level of motivation to keep up healthy eating behaviors and physical activity,” Meghan Butryn, PhD., the lead author of the study and an associate professor at the school, says.

The participants whose data was shared with coaches maintained weight loss, while those whose data was private regained about four pounds during the weeks with no group sessions.

Of course, more research needs to be done to further study the effectiveness of supportive accountability, Butryn says. But discussing your goals and progress with a doctor, dietitian, trainer, or loved ones could be the motivation you need to keep up the hard work—especially into 2021!

For another kind of inspiration, here are The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now. And to get all the latest weight loss and healthy living tips delivered right to your email inbox every day, sign up for our newsletter!


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