HealthDay News — Using a food journal to self monitor diet may improve weight loss, but missing a meal or eating out frequently can hinder efforts, results of a 12-month weight-change study indicated.

Among 123 postmenopausal overweight-to-obese women who participated in the study, those who completed more food journals experienced significantly greater weight loss (interquartile range 3.7% greater weight loss; P<0.0001), Angela Kong, PhD, RD, from the University of Illinois at Chicago and colleagues reported in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Mean weight loss across participants was 10.7%. However, those who missed meals experienced 4.3% lower average weight loss (P<0.05) and those who ate out for lunch at least once per week had a 2.5% lower average weight loss (P<0.01), the researchers found.

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“From a clinical point of view, these findings are promising and suggest fundamentals such as eating out less, eating at regular intervals, and use of food journals are weight loss strategies that may be effective for postmenopausal women,” the researchers wrote.

Kong A et al. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012; doi:10.1016/j.jand.2012.05.014.