Blog | Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Yeah, yeah, I need to lose weight. But how?

Diet and exercise, diet and exercise... study after study concludes that physicians must emphasize to patients how important these two factors are for staying healthy. But what's the best way to get patients to actually cut back on the calories?

Have them write down everything they eat, a new study reports.

Researchers followed about 1,700 overweight and obese patients for about 20 weeks. They went to weekly group meetings where they were prompted to eat 500 fewer calories/day than usual and exercise 30+ minutes a day, plus follow a low-fat diet with lots of fruits and veggies. They were told to record what they ate and how many minutes they exercised.

People who didn't keep food diaries lost about nine pounds, while those who kept at least six records a week lost about 18 pounds. The study's authors think that keeping records kept the dieters accountable, and let them know about things they ate that might have more calories than they expected. Can't hurt to try, right?