Self-Monitoring Diet and Exercise

wellness 101

Self-Monitoring Diet and Exercise can Help you Lose Weight

Weight loss is a goal of 30-60% of Americans. If you want to manage your weight, you need to measure the two things that control your weight- your eating and exercise habits.  If you want to improve on something, you need to track your progress, and the behavior that causes progress.

Self-monitoring is a valuable tool for behavior change. You can use self-monitoring to assess your daily diet, calorie intake and exercise intensity. Research has shown that self-monitoring is the single best predictor of success with weight loss, and people who self-monitor eating and exercise behaviors usually have the best adherence.  Self-monitoring provides direct feedback on how your choices accelerate or hinder your progress.

Smartphone tracking apps and websites are easy and fun to use. My Fitness Pal and Fitbit are two examples that can track and identify gaps and assumptions between actual behaviors and assumed behaviors.  Self-monitoring creates intentional self-awareness that allows you to identify problem behaviors. The act of recording your food intake, body weight and daily exercise levels will help you eat less and exercise more, which may help you lose weight.

Self tracking allows you to see exactly how much or little your choices will affect your goals. The success of self-monitoring is influenced by the regularity of tracking. An honest record will be most helpful in setting realistic goals.  Weight loss usually takes two or three weeks after you have created a caloric deficit.

The Benefits of Self-Monitoring

  • Highlights information for short-term goal setting
  • Fosters automaticity and healthy habit development
  • You will eat less and exercise more
  • Weight loss goals become easier to achieve
  • Brings self-awareness and creates personal accountability

By Allison Stolar, Health Fitness Specialist