This news comes in the wake of another study that revealed that obesity is continuing to increase in the U.S. despite rising awareness and a push by the federal government towards better diet and more exercise. In 1999, 63% of men and 55% of women age 25 and older were overweight or obese, which jumped to nearly 75% of men and 67% of women in the 2007-12 period.
The first study included 162 participants and tracked them over 2 years. Participants who lost weight in the first year kept it off during the second year as well, the researchers found, with men benefitting much more than women. The participants were not given any guidance on how to lose weight, but had a target of losing 10% of their starting body weight.
“You just need a bathroom scale and an excel spreadsheet or even a piece of graph paper,” study co-author David Levitsky said in a news release.
The method “forces you to be aware of the connection between your eating and your weight,” Levitsky added.
The findings are important because about 40 percent of weight lost with any diet is regained in one year, and almost 100 percent of weight loss is reversed at the end of five years, the researchers said.
Stepping on the scale helps people think about their weight and where they want it to be, which in turn influences their dietary choices and spurs them to more exercise.
“We think the scale also acts as a priming mechanism, making you conscious of food and enabling you to make choices that are consistent with your weight,” said Levitsky.
This article first appeared in the July 2015 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.