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Want to Lose Weight? Keep a Food Journal, Don’t Skip Meals, and Avoid Going Out to Lunch

Women who want to lose weight should faithfully keep a food journal and avoid skipping meals and eating in restaurants—especially at lunch— suggests research from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. In a study by McTiernan et al, investigators looked at the impact of a wide range of self-monitoring and diet-related behaviors and meal patterns on weight change among overweight and obese postmenopausal women. What they discovered is that women who kept food journals consistently lost about 6 pounds more than those who did not; women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than women who did not; and women who ate out for lunch at least weekly lost on average 5 fewer pounds than those who ate out less frequently (eating out often at all meal times was associated with less weight loss, but the strongest association was observed with lunch)

“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. It is difficult to make changes to your diet when you are not paying close attention to what you are eating,” said McTiernan.
Source: McTiernan et al. Self-monitoring and eating- related behaviors are associated with 12-month weight loss among postmenopausal overweight-to-obese women in dietary weight loss intervention. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012;112(9):1428–1435.

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