Lots of aspects of adopting healthier habits are difficult. Cravings, fatigue, motivation, and more can get in the way of seeing results. But a new study says one of the easiest things to do to help progress is to simply talk about it!
The 87 participants in a Drexel University study published in the journal Obesity in October were tasked with wearing a Fitbit tracker, weighing themselves, and logging their food intake on an app over a 12-month period. The goal was to see if the level of contact and information shared with other people affect their health. (Related: 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.)
For three months at the beginning, each also participated in a weekly group session with each other where they learned behavioral skills. After that all 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 them and craft messages based on the information. For the others, no one had access to their data and messages were generic.
“We were interested to see if weight-loss maintenance would be better when coaches could see the data and provide feedback and a sense of accountability to participants,” says the lead author of the study and an associate professor at the school, Meghan Butryn, PhD., “which might help sustain a high level of motivation to keep up healthy eating behaviors and physical activity.”
The study found that 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, Butryn says. But showing goals and progress and talking about it with your doctor, trainer, a dietitian, or even friends and family could be the motivation needed to keep it up, especially into 2021!
For some 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!