Self-Monitoring;  Key to weight loss success

Deakin University findings are weight loss programs focussed on positive behavioural changes typically include self-monitoring of diet, physical activity and body weight as a cornerstone component. The effectiveness of self-monitoring in these programs has undergone close scientific scrutiny.

Many programs that aim to promote weight loss through lifestyle changes incorporate behavioural change strategies such as self-monitoring as a key element. Self-monitoring is where the person makes record of their dietary intake and physical activity to help increase awareness of their current behaviours.

There is a strong theoretical foundation for self-monitoring as it is linked to behavioural change. The process of changing dietary and exercise habits requires well developed self control skills. An honest and consistent appraisal of a person’s current behaviours is needed to help effect long term positive habit changes

With self-monitoring featuring so prominently in weight loss programs  focussed on behavioural change. It is surprising that the evidence for it’s benefit has not been systematically evaluated through the scientific literature A recent review of self-monitoring of diet, physical activity, and body weight in behavioural weight loss studies has now filled this gap.

What the Review found

Of the 22 studies evaluated, a variety of different methods were used to perform self-monitoring. A paper diary was the most common approach, but the internet, personal digital assistants, and digital scales also featured in the studies. Despite the different designs of the weight loss programs, the researchers could identify a clear positive association between the degree of adherence to self-monitoring and weight loss success. The major limitations of the reviewed studies were the many issues with the study designs used, and predominant use of white females as the study group making inferences about how self-monitoring may work for males or other racial groups difficult.

To Weigh or not to Weigh?

Compared to recording food intake and physical activity levels, self-monitoring of body weight is a more recent recommendation in weight loss programs. On the surface, recommending people to weigh themselves daily seems counter- intuitive as it may create an unhealthy fixation with body weight and body image. Frequent self weighing however is associated with weight loss and lower risk of weight regain. It is likely that regular feedback given by the scales is needed to help keep weight in check by preventing the gradual weight gain over time that most people experience.

What it all means:-

Whether it is a paper diary, mobile phone app, or internet site, keeping a log of food eaten, steps walked and weight lost or gained will help tip the balance in making lifestyle habit changes that are effective for successful weight management.

Resource: Deakin University,
Published on Deakin Speaking
Written and Submitted by Tim Crowe


Let me leave you with this thought

                   Everything you have ever wanted is just one step
          outside your comfort zone


If you find you have hit a plateau                    

Below are 8 steps you can follow to assist in you over coming it:-

1. Be a calorie detective.

Make sure you know how many calories a day you are consuming; whilst calories are not the whole story, far from it, they are still an important component of weight loss, and they have a way of creeping up if you are not paying attention to them. Be brutally honest with yourself about what you are eating and how much? By using your food diary you will be able to easily monitor this, make sure you are including your beverages as well.

2. Change it up.

The old advise of changing your routine when you’re not making gains in an exercise program holds true for your food program too.  Varying calorie intake may have a positive effect, if your average intake is 1500 calories by dropping to 1200 for a day or two, then going up to 2000 and then dropping back to 1500 calories making sure your weekly intake does not change too much. You get the idea, basically your body has got comfortable and it is time to shake things up.

3. Exercise temporary ban.

Food sensitivities could be causing you to hold on to weight and bloat, and the frustrating thing is that you won’t always know which foods are causing this. So play the odds, highest on the list of usual suspects are grains (wheat in particular), dairy and sugar. Put a temporary ban on all three and see what happens.

4. Kick it up a notch, or three.

There has been a lot of studies in the exercise community over the best way to work out for fat loss and the consensus is moving towards high intensity intervals rather than the old ‘fat burning zone’.  High intensity intervals of 30 to 60 seconds are the way forward. So if you are used to level 6 on the treadmill, ramp it up to 9 for a minute or so then slow back down, catch your breath and do it again. Have you ever seen a sprinter with love handles? Training like a sprinter will lower you body fat faster than any other technique, plus boost your metabolism and lower your weight so no more plateau!

5. Revisit strength training.

If you are not already strength training, then it is time to start, and if you are, it’s time to take it up a notch. Muscle is your greatest ally in breaking a plateau. Unfortunately many women train with weights too light to produce the metabolic boost we are looking for, so don’t be afraid of heavier weights, you should reach  the point where you can’t do another rep somewhere between 8 – 12 reps.


6. Up your protein.

Study after study shows that higher ratio of protein to carbs makes losing body fat easier. Protein boosts the metabolism and it also increases satiety, making it more likely that you won’t overeat.
              A higher protein diet could be just what you need to break that plateau.

7. Try a gentle detox.

While fasting for weight loss unsupervised is not a good idea, giving your system a rest does make sense. One way to do this is with a ‘natural fast’ of nothing but fruit and vegetables for a couple of days. The added fibre is always helpful , and the massive amount of nutrients and phyto-chemicals is like a ‘spring clean’ for your metabolism.


8. Do a personal inventory.

Believe it or not, other things besides diet and exercise could be stalling your weight loss.  Stress, for example or lack of sleep, or medications. Take a look and see what else is going on in your life that might need attention. Sometimes when you clean up the problems in one area of your life, problems in other areas just naturally take care of themselves.

cropped-weight-loss.jpgLet me leave you with this thought

A positive mind will always give you a positive result