Study: Diet journal helps weight loss

July 8, 2008 7:50:54 AM PDT
One of the critical keys to a successful diet is how honest you are with yourself. That's the finding of a large and diverse health study coming out from Kaiser Permanente Health.

Kaiser Permanente registered dietician Nora Norback loves to preach healthy eating as part of healthy dieting. And now she has results of a five year Kaiser study to help her clients achieve their weight loss goals. The study found those who kept a food record and who wrote down exactly, honestly what they ate - lost the most weight.

"Until you figured out what's behind it, it just becomes this matter of putting yourself in a straight jacket and trying not to eat. That only lasts so long," said Norback.

Gibby Tacotaco participated in the 1,700 person study. He ate a diet high in protein and fiber, low in fat and sodium, met weekly with a dietician and exercised. Motivation was not a problem.

"I am diabetic and I work at a skilled nursing home in Berkeley. I saw the complications of what can happen with diabetes every day - like amputation of the foot, blindness, kidney failure," said Tacotaco.

Gibby also wrote everything he ate, in his food record. He lost twenty three pounds.

"Don't try to kid yourself, like, I am going to cheat right now and I can make it up later. Stay focused and stay motivated," said Tacotaco.

"If you are writing down everything you eat, you're being accountable to yourself. And if you show those records to someone else, you're accountable to them as well and that accountability part is very powerful," said Victor J. Stevens, Kaiser Center for Health Research.

The Kaiser study was unusual in that 44-percent of the participants were African Americans.

"That's a population that is particularly impacted by diseases that go along with overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, hypertension and diabetes," said Norback.

None of the steps followed by participants in this study is new. And maybe that's the best news of all.

"It sounds like in someways pretty simple stuff, but I think that is the point that maybe it isn't super duper magic out there - it's focusing and move forward," said Norback.

A previous Kaiser study shows in person or an online support groups helps dieters keep the weight off far better than no support groups at all. Gibby says achieving his current weight of 204 pounds is just a start.

"I'm trying to reach my ideal weight of 154," said Tacotaco.

And Gibby says he's going to make it - honestly.


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