Finding ways to motivate yourself to keep to a weight loss plan can be very difficult, however new research suggests that the key to success could lie in a simple photograph.
A new study by the University of Alicante in Spain, has found that dieters who keep a photo diary charting their weight loss are more likely to be able to reach their target weight and to keep motivated while following a healthy eating and exercise plan to lose weight.
According to a report by Science Daily Isaac Elías Kuzmar Daza, a medical professional from Colombia and more recently a PhD student at the university, studied the motivation levels of patients on weight loss programs at a nutrition clinic in Colombia.
During the research the people taking part had their measurements taken each week including their body mass index and weight-to-hip ratio. Alongside having a record of their measurements and weight they were all told to record the foods that they ate and the exercise they undertook on a daily basis.
These sorts of tools to record weight loss are very common but in this study they also included the need to take full body photos of everyone taking part in the research on a weekly basis.
The conclusion of the study was that the photos that were taken each week were seen as being key to the success of those on the diets and to keep motivated.
Mercedes Rizo Baeza, the thesis director at the university, said: “After all, it is very gratifying to literally see yourself get slimmer over time.”
The study was conducted over a 16 week period and followed the weight loss of 271 people, of which 233 were female and all were between the ages of 16 and 72.
Of those who took part in the study a massive 71.3 percent of those dieting managed to meet their target weight.
Other interesting elements to come out of the study was the fact that waist circumference measurements were very important to the dieters – as this is another very visual element.
And the need to have the support of others on the diet was found to have less of an impact as in previous studies. It was found that dieters did not need to attend the clinic in person to be able to get good results and instead could still have success by simply sending in the measurements themselves and of course submitting the all important photo every week..
Summarising the findings for Science Daily, Rizo Baeza says: “What patients want is a photo, rather than cold numbers.” These photos serve as visual confirmation that all their hard work is paying off, spurring them on to further weight loss.