Further support for consistent self-monitoring as a vital component of successful weight control

Obes Res. 1998 May;6(3):219-24. doi: 10.1002/j.1550-8528.1998.tb00340.x.


Objective: This study attempted to replicate that of Baker and Kirschenbaum by providing a descriptive analysis of the relationship between self-monitoring and weight control.

Procedures: Fifty-nine women and men in long-term cognitive-behavioral treatment for obesity participated over an 8-week period. Percentages of participants who self-monitored consistently and the relationship between the variability in self-monitoring and weight change were examined.

Results: As in the previous study, a substantial minority of the participants in this research (26.3%) self-monitored all foods eaten on less than half of the days evaluated. The assertion of Baker and Kirschenbaum that self-monitoring is most appropriately viewed as both a state and a trait was supported by finding that the most consistent self-monitors lost more weight than the least consistent self-monitors; however, regardless of overall self-monitoring consistency, participants lost much more weight during their two most consistent weeks compared with their two least consistent weeks. Again, as in the previous study, only the more consistent quartile of self-monitors lost a substantial amount during the course of this study.

Discussion: The results of both studies taken together suggests that a reasonable target for consistency for self-monitoring within the context of a professional cognitive-behavioral treatment program may be self-monitoring all foods eaten on at least 75% of the days. If participants generally self-monitor on less than half of the days during participation in such programs, they may be very unlikely to succeed at weight loss both during the program and afterward.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Diet
  • Diet Records*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Self Care*
  • Weight Loss*