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Weighing yourself every day keeps your weight stable

If you want to prevent yourself from putting on weight, weigh yourself at the same time every day and write down the amount. According to nutritionists at Cornell University processing information in this way prevents you from getting fatter.

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American students generally put on a couple of kilograms during the first few months of their study. The exact amounts are shown in the table below. The researchers wanted to know whether they could prevent this weight increase by using a Tissue Monitoring System.

This system meant that students had to weigh themselves immediately after getting up in the morning. They then mailed their weight to the researchers. Once the researchers had received weights for 7 days, they could plot a linear progression of the subjects' weight development, and then mailed the results every day to the students. So from day 7 the students knew whether their weight was increasing, decreasing or staying constant.

Weighing yourself every day keeps your weight stable

The researchers tested their Tissue Monitoring System on a dozen female freshmen students for a period of 12 weeks [Experimentals]. Another dozen first-years didn't have to weigh themselves [Controls].

As the figure below shows, the students in the experimental group stayed the same weight and the students in the control group put on 3 kg.

Weighing yourself every day keeps your weight stable

A year later the researchers repeated the experiment with new freshmen, but went a step further. Not only did they measure whether the subjects in the experimental group were putting on or losing weight, they also told them by how much they needed to reduce their daily calorie intake if they wanted to stay the same weight.

This system worked even better, as the figures below show. The students in the experimental group actually lost weight.

Weighing yourself every day keeps your weight stable

The researchers think that systems like their Tissue Monitoring System can help to reverse the obesity epidemic.

"The first step in reversing the epidemic of obesity must be to prevent further weight gain in the population", they write. "The results of this study raise the hope that the TMS, or a similar system that monitors daily body weight, may provide people with a technology to enable them to maintain their weight in an environment that is constantly encouraging weight gain."

Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Jun;30(6):1003-10.

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