Tracking means recording what you eat, what activity you do, your weight (every week) and your performance on goals you set. Research says that we typically under estimate the calories we eat and overestimate the amount of physical activity we do. Tracking not only removes this discrepancy, but has also been shown to be a habit most associated with successful weight loss. Over time, it will help you make better food choices and help you identify your trouble spots.
What should I track?
Food and activity
Track what you eat and how much you exercise. It will help you understand the slim values of what you eat and your physical activity better. If you are facing difficultly losing weight, turn on Advanced Tracking where you can track time of food intake, snack/meal, mood, etc. Doing this for a week or two will reveal insights on where your pit falls are.
Research shows that weighing yourself weekly is one of the habits closely associated with weight loss. Moreover, if your weight changes, it might mean a change in your daily and weekly slims. Weighing yourself regularly is a great way to see how the programme is working for you and gives you the ability to respond quickly. Note that weight loss may not happen every week. So long as the trajectory is in the right direction, there is nothing to worry about.
Do not weigh yourself everyday. Eating less or more does not magically translate to weight change immediately. Sometimes it takes a week, sometimes more.
Lifestyle tracking helps determine how far you are to making that change an integral part of your life. Moreover, it opens up posting to Help Wall for inputs and Success Wall for accolades from your fellow slimin-ers.
Progress is not just about weight loss
Ensure that you track other things like quality of life. We will be adding other measurements like blood pressure, cholesterol, etc for tracking soon. These measurements are optional, though helpful. It ensures that success is not judged just based on weight loss.
The science behind it
A number of research studies indicate that tracking of body weight and food intake are important factors in weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Regularly weighing oneself and recording food intake consumed are examples of self-monitoring. This self-monitoring is suggested to reflect one component of cognitive restraint known to be important for weight control. One study found that in weight regainers, self-monitoring declined over time. The maintainers were more conscious of their intake and made more conscious decisions with regard to food selection. Maintainers were also more aware that they needed to be conscious of their weight-related behaviours. The regainers on the other hand found it difficult to keep weight front of mind which is necessary to watch over their food intake all the time.
Elfhag, K. and Rössner, S. (2005), Who succeeds in maintaining weight loss? A conceptual review of factors associated with weight loss maintenance and weight regain. Obesity Reviews, 6: 67–85. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2005.00170.x