Even though texting is often associated with lazy behaviour, some scientists believe it could hold the key to shedding those extra pounds for good.
At a weight loss camp for teens in the U.K., researchers divided participants into two groups. One would receive text messages throughout the day that contained useful dieting information such as “desserts can be high in calories, sugars and fats.” While the other group would receive messages that actually required a response and commitment, like “Can you promise to eat at least 3, 4 or 5 fruit or veg a day for the next week? Please text back the number of fruit you would like to commit to eating per day.”
For those who committed to eating a certain amount of food per day, the subsequent messages would be tied to that commitment. In other words, messages would say something like “Are you managing to eat fruits in the morning?”
By the time the camp was completed, the two groups had lost approximately the same amount of weight. However–and here’s where things get interesting–the “commitment” group was eight times more likely than the other group to keep the weight off once they left the camp. Which would suggest there’s something to be said for writing your goals down and holding yourself accountable–even when no one else will.
“Regardless of what interventions people use to lose weight, whether it is drugs or behavioural, the weight is commonly regained,” said Professor Ivo Vlaev, co-author of the study. “Therefore, finding effective interventions to maintain people’s new lower weight is crucial for the long-term success.”
While we may not see any weight loss camps employing this strategy just yet, it certainly is promising for the future.
Now excuse us while we text out the good news.