People who are fond of taking selfies may be delighted to know that their habit may actually help them lose weight. A study from the University of Alicante in Spain says keeping a weekly photo diary is a great motivator to achieve dieters' target weight.
The researchers analyzed the motivation levels of people enrolled in weight loss programs in Barranquilla, Colombia. They particularly looked at the adherence of the participants and the factors that keep them motivated.
The authors recorded the subjects' weekly exercise regimens, food intake and body measurements such as body mass index and weight-to-hip ratio. Aside from these objective parameters, they also took full-body photographs, which proved to be highly motivating. The researchers considered the photos as a key factor in maintaining adherence.
"After all, it is very gratifying to literally see yourself get slimmer over time," says co-author Mercedes Rizo Baeza.
The experiment was conducted in 271 obese and overweight individuals including 100 dropouts. The weight loss program ran for 16 weeks and ended on a very high note. The total adherence rate was 90 percent, with 71.3 percent of the participants achieving their target weight.
The researchers also note that participants did not need to be physically present at the clinic for the program to be effective.
The participants were given access to a support line, where they can submit their weekly measurements. They were also the ones who took their own photographs and submitted to the researchers.
The selfies serve as a visual tool that confirms and validates the participants' hard work. They feel more motivated and thus are driven to further their weight loss.
"What patients want is a photo, rather than cold numbers," Baeza says.
The authors also notes that there was a significant statistical difference between the waist-to-hip-ratio and overall weight loss. The photographs also solidify this finding thus the researchers concluded that waist circumference loss is the main factor that keeps patients enrolled in the weight loss program.
The study, which was co-authored by Isaac Kuzmar and Ernesto Cortés-Castel, was published in Peer J.
Photo: Megan Studdenfadden | Flickr