Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Want to Lose Weight? Texting May Help

Every commitment of any kind is downright hard to see through. Chances are, we just might engage in something that can completely capsize what we have chosen to live our lives for. And where does that leave us? Of course, it leaves us in shambles—in the realm of defeat. One of the scenarios that we often fail to keep our commitment to is with our weight loss programs. We tend to fall short with the commitment and with ourselves ultimately, which brings us to the fact that losing weight is so darn taxing.

Over the years, it has been established that technology in the form of our smartphones is one reason for the increasing incidence of obesity. Prior research shows that spending too much time fiddling over your handheld device is bad for your fitness. However, one study shows that this is not always the case; there is an aspect with technology that isn’t at all counterproductive to fitness programs. And this comes by means of texting. According to the VCU School of Nursing research team headed by Claudia Bouhaidar, “The ubiquitous spread of mobile phone short message systems (SMS) appears to offer an effective alternative to face-to-face approach when delivering behavioral weight management interventions.”

loss weight with texting

The study participants in the experiment received a text message biweekly which often involves an interactive component, such as responding ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to whether the participant followed the a healthy diet advice or not. In the beginning of the 12-week diet program study, 66 percent of the experimental group responded to the text messages. But that number gradually narrowed down to 52 percent until the end of the study. Be that as it may, the researchers deemed that as acceptable. Ultimately, they found out that 72 percent of the respondents considered the text messages “somewhat” to “very motivational” to reach their goal.

The results of the aforementioned study confirm that dieters who opted to receive motivational and reinforceable text messages lost around 4.5 pounds or 2 kilograms more in a 12-week period than those who did not receive any texts at all. Text messaging showed promise for increasing motivation for increasing exercise and promoting other healthy behaviors.

So you see, besides pushing you to shed off those extra pounds, text messaging also helps improve our eating behaviors, exercise and nutrition self-efficacy, and our attitude towards mobile technology. It serves as a medium to establish a social support system in keeping ourselves in good shape. As of this moment, the findings are but limited, but the researchers are hopeful that the practice of text messages will be adopted in a large-scale and long-term intervention studies to further strengthen the effect it proves. If this happens, the presence of tailored text messages might one day appear in weight loss management programs among peers or in programs for a healthier community.

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