"You just need a bathroom scale and an excel spreadsheet or even a piece of graph paper," said study senior author David Levitsky, professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University in the US.


"The method forces you to be aware of the connection between your eating and your weight," Levitsky said.  In the study, 162 men and women were randomly separated into an intervention group and a control group. Individuals in the intervention group were first given a target of one percent weight loss, which they could lose in any manner they chose.

Losing one percent of body weight requires most people to cut only about 150 calories a day for two weeks.  Once they maintained that weight loss for 10 days, the programme then gave them a new target to lose another one percent, and so on. The goal was to lose a total of 10 percent of their starting body weight.


"We think the scale also acts as a priming mechanism, making you conscious of food and enabling you to make choices that are consistent with your weight," Levitsky added.



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