Daily Weigh-Ins Sustain Weight Loss

Stepping on a scale daily and recording the results may help patients not only lose weight, but also keep it off.

Stepping on a scale daily and recording the results may help patients not only lose weight, but also keep it off.

“Though for weight loss there is no 1 magic solution, daily self-weighing and tracking of one’s weight appears to be a behavior that can help some lose a small amount of weight and maintain this loss,” Carly Pacanowski, PhD, a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota, told Pharmacy Times. “In our study, we found that this was true predominantly for males.”

The study, which was published in the Journal of Obesity, suggested this low-cost, low-effort method could be a useful tool for health care providers to present to patients, in addition to counseling on exercise and nutrition.

Pharmacists, in particular, could recommend the Caloric Titration Method (CTM), which involves self-weighing and visual feedback, for patients dealing with changes to their medications.

“I think pharmacists could use daily self-weighing and tracking to monitor results of medication switches or as a first-line behavioral approach to managing weight in those adults for whom this may be appropriate, before resorting to medication,” Dr. Pacanowski told Pharmacy Times.

Sustained weight loss in overweight individuals has been shown to reduce gastric reflux symptoms, lower blood pressure, and improve health among those with diabetes.

The present study split 162 overweight individuals between a control group and intervention group that followed the CTM. Both groups attended educational presentations that provided several strategies for losing weight, including skipping dessert and snacks.

Those in the intervention group additionally received a scale and were told to weigh themselves daily, preferably as soon as they woke up in the morning. They also entered their weight on a website more than 4 times a week, on average.

The goal for all participants was to gradually lose 10% of their body weight in the study period. At the 1-year mark, the CTM group lost more weight than the control group, as 28.6% of the intervention group saw a weight loss of ≥5%, compared with 10.8% of the control group.

At the start of the second year, the control group started to use the CTM, while the intervention group maintained its use. At the end of 2 years, the control group members who adopted the CTM lost a similar amount of weight as those in the intervention group.

The CTM was more effective in helping men lose weight than woman, but women in both groups did lose some weight. Men in the control group in the first year gained weight, while the intervention group lost weight.