What Matters in Weight Loss? An In-Depth Analysis of Self-Monitoring

Background: Using technology to self-monitor body weight, dietary intake, and physical activity is a common practice used by consumers and health companies to increase awareness of current and desired behaviors in weight loss. Understanding how to best use the information gathered by these relatively new methods needs to be further explored. Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze the contribution of self-monitoring to weight loss in participants in a 6-month commercial weight-loss intervention administered by Retrofit and to specifically identify the significant contributors to weight loss that are associated with behavior and outcomes. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed using 2113 participants enrolled from 2011 to 2015 in a Retrofit weight-loss program. Participants were males and females aged 18 years or older with a starting body mass index of ≥25 kg/m2, who also provided a weight measurement at the sixth month of the program. Multiple regression analysis was performed using all measures of self-monitoring behaviors involving weight measurements, dietary intake, and physical activity to predict weight loss at 6 months. Each significant predictor was analyzed in depth to reveal the impact on outcome. Results: Participants in the Retrofit Program lost a mean –5.58% (SE 0.12) of their baseline weight with 51.87% (1096/2113) of participants losing at least 5% of their baseline weight. Multiple regression model (R2=.197, P<0.001) identified the following measures as significant predictors of weight loss at 6 months: number of weigh-ins per week (P<.001), number of steps per day (P=.02), highly active minutes per week (P<.001), number of food log days per week (P<.001), and the percentage of weeks with five or more food logs (P<.001). Weighing in at least three times per week, having a minimum of 60 highly active minutes per week, food logging at least three days per week, and having 64% (16.6/26) or more weeks with at least five food logs were associated with clinically significant weight loss for both male and female participants. Conclusions: The self-monitoring behaviors of self-weigh-in, daily steps, high-intensity activity, and persistent food logging were significant predictors of weight loss during a 6-month intervention. Journal of Medical Internet Research

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