You don't need a diet group or nutritionist to help you lose weight—and keep it off. You may be able to get similar results with the click of a mouse.

August 06, 2010

I’ve always maintained that if I want to lose weight, all I need to do is step on the scale once or twice a week. Even if I say I’m going to weigh myself tomorrow, I’ll eat less today. This is true for most women I know; they all hate the thought of stepping on a scale.

However, several studies have shown that those who weigh themselves regularly are least likely to gain weight. A new study reported this week in the Journal of Medical Internet Research now shows that weekly tracking of body weight using an interactive website designed to promote weight-loss maintenance may help you maintain weight that you may have lost.

Istockphoto

The trial by Kaiser Permanente researchers involved several phases. In the first phase, the participants enrolled in a six-month weight-loss trial. In the second phase, participants who had lost at least 9 pounds in the initial trial were divided into three groups: one with no intervention, one that involved monthly meetings with a health coach, and one that was provided with unlimited access to an interactive weight-maintenance website.

This study then tracked the nearly 350 participants in the group with access to the website for their first 28 months of use.

The website prompted individuals to record their weight, minutes of exercise, and the number of days they kept food diaries. If they went longer than seven days without recording a weight, the other features of the website were disabled until they logged on their weight again.

The results found that the successful dieters were those who logged in and recorded their weight once a month for at least 26 of the 28 months the study ran. They kept off an average of 9 of the average 19 pounds they’d lost. Those who logged on less consistently—at least once a month for 14 to 25 months—kept off an average of 5 pounds. Those who logged on least regained the most weight and had kept off an average of only 3 pounds of their original weight loss.

If you need inspiration, try some of my favorite—and free—sites that provide online diet tools, incuding:

Sparkpeople.com
Fitday.com
iPhone App: Lose It!

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