Comparison of techniques for self-monitoring eating and exercise behaviors on weight loss in a correspondence-based intervention

J Am Diet Assoc. 2007 Oct;107(10):1807-10. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2007.07.014.


This study examined whether different methods of self-monitoring eating and exercise behaviors affect the process of self-monitoring and change in body weight in overweight adults. Forty-two subjects participated in a 16-week correspondence-based weight-loss intervention using a pretest-posttest randomized design. Dietary intake was prescribed at 1,200 to 1,500 kcal/day and <30% dietary fat. Physical activity was progressed to 200 minutes/week. Participants were randomly assigned to self-monitoring eating and physical activity behaviors using a traditional detailed method or transitioning to an abbreviated method. Transitioning to an abbreviated method returned significantly more diaries than using a traditional detailed method (P=0.04). Participants completing the study showed no significant difference in weight loss between the traditional detailed method (-7.5+/-5.3 kg) and the abbreviated method (-7.6+/-5.5 kg), with similar results for intention-to-treat analysis (detailed method -3.9+/-5.3 kg vs abbreviated method -4.3+/-5.8 kg). Weight loss was significantly associated with number of self-monitoring diaries completed (r=0.53, P<0.05). Findings suggest the self-monitoring process, rather than the detail of self-monitoring, is important for facilitating weight loss and change in eating and physical activity behaviors. Transitioning to a simplified approach to self-monitoring does not negatively affect short-term weight loss in overweight adults. These results may have implications for improving self-monitoring in overweight adults during periods of weight loss.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Diet Records*
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Eating / physiology
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Self Disclosure
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*