Unit 1: Mindset

The power of tracking: A proven approach to successful weight loss

Madeleine Hawkes, Weight Loss Expert

PGCert Obesity & Weight Management

BSc (Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics,

BSc (Hons) Psychology

Last week we showed you how to set effective short-term weight-loss goals – an approach that’s been clinically proven to increase the likelihood of achieving significant, long-lasting weight loss. Now let’s examine why monitoring your progress towards these goals is vital to your success. 

Regardless of what your individual end goal is, getting there will involve transforming your behaviour and forming lasting healthy habits – no easy feat! But regularly tracking your actions (such as your food intake and physical activity) and their outcomes (such as your weight and body measurements) is key to bringing about behavioural change. There are a number of ways that you can track this information, for example by using our Weight Loss tracker, logging your meals in an app, or wearing a fitness tracker. The important thing is to find a method that works for you and that you’ll be able to stick to. 

Consistent tracking leads to greater success

A behavioural research study examining the impact of dietary tracking on weight found that participants who consistently and frequently tracked their food intake lost 7% of their body weight over the 18-month study period. Participants who did not track their behaviour consistently not only failed to lose any weight, but actually gained 7% body weight over the same period.  

So why is consistent, frequent tracking so effective – and crucial to your success?

First of all, tracking is an effective weight-loss tool because it gives you a better awareness of your behaviour and habits. This means that you’re more likely to spot any early warning signs indicating that you’re about to stray off course – giving you a chance to correct your behaviour and stay on track. 

It can also help you to identify patterns in your behaviour that may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. For example, you may notice that you always seem to overeat when you’re stressed or that you tend to skip workouts when you’re short on time. Once you identify these patterns, you can develop strategies to overcome them. If stress is causing you to overeat, you could try some relaxation techniques or talk to a therapist. If a lack of time is preventing you from working out, try scheduling your workouts in your calendar or breaking them into smaller chunks of time throughout the day.

If you’d like to start tracking your behaviours, remember to be patient and give yourself time to adjust. It may take a little while to get used to, but it will become easier with practice. And, most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way! Seeing the progress you’re making will help you stay motivated and on track for long-term weight loss success.

Take action ⚡

In our last article we asked you to write down three short-term goals that will help you achieve your long-term goal – if you haven’t already, we strongly recommend you give it a go. Think about the goals you’ve set and use the following questions to help you decide how you’re going to monitor your progress:

By tracking your progress, you’re setting yourself up for success! Next week I’ll be sharing a crucial mindset with you: The Church of Fail mentality – don’t miss it. 

References

  1. Peterson ND, Middleton KR, Nackers LM, Medina KE, Milsom VA, Perri MG. Dietary self-monitoring and long-term success with weight management. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Sep;22(9):1962-7. doi: 10.1002/oby.20807. Epub 2014 Jun 13. PMID: 24931055; PMCID: PMC4149603.

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.