Want to drop those extra kilos without starving yourself? Keeping a food journal, not skipping meals and eating out less often, particularly for lunch, will help, according to new research.
Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, in a study that looked at the impact of various self-monitoring techniques in older overweight and obese women, showed that simple changes in behaviour can make a difference on the scales.
They found that in the year-long study women who kept journals lost six pounds (2.7 kgs) more than those who didn't, but if they skipped meals they dropped 3.6 kgs less than women who ate regularly.
Ladies who lunched in a restaurant at least weekly lost on average 2.3 kgs less.
"Knowing what you are eating and knowing how much you are eating seem to be the key," Anne McTiernan, the director of the Hutchinson Center's Prevention Centre who conducted the study, said in an interview.
"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."
McTiernan said the more journals the women completed, the more weight they lost. Recording what they ate increased the women's awareness of the foods and calories they consumed.
DIET AND EXERCISE
Expanding waistlines are a growing problem around the globe, leading to increased health problems and costs. Figures from the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed obesity rates ranged from a low of 4 per cent in Japan and Korea to 30 per cent or more in the United States and Mexico.