When it comes to getting that oh-so-elusive "summer body," most of us don't start putting in extra effort until the shorts go on and the sun invites us out for a walk. But it turns out you might have more success losing lbs when the temperature is still chilly — and you also follow one tried-and-true weight-loss technique, according to new research.
In a January 2017 study published in Scientific Reports, Korean researchers looked at more than 3,200 people around the world who use a popular food diary app and compared their weight loss, consistency logging meals, and local weather patterns over 18 months. What they found: Folks lost more weight when the temperature and dew point were lower.
This might sound counterintuitive — after all, previous research (not to mention common sense) suggests people are generally more likely to be active when the weather is warmer and the days are longer. But that's where another finding from the new study comes into play: Participants who used the app consistently were more likely to hit their weight-loss goals than people who used the app infrequently.
Coincidence? We think not, considering another study published in Scientific Reports in April 2016 found 78 percent of people using a meal tracker lost weight successfully, and a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in April 2012 found women who consistently kept a food journal for a year lost 6 pounds more than those who didn't adopt the habit (in addition to the nearly 20 pounds they lost overall from eating healthier).
Winter Weather + Meal Tracking = Bikini Body?
So the new study findings aren't counterintuitive: because when you pair cold weather with a food diary, what do you get? A person who is stuck indoors and much more likely to consistently track her meals.
It's an especially good option for people who feel like their goal weight is way out of reach: The study also found folks who started with a higher BMI saw more progress than those who had less to lose.
So, even though we're looking at a few more months of sweater weather, this may be the best time to pick up the effective tool of food journaling — a habit that will pay off just in time for summer.