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Writing Things Down Can Actually Help You Lose Weight

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Could a pen and pad be more useful in weight loss than a barbel?

A recent study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, found that women that wrote about what they valued the most, such as relationships, religion, or music, lost more weight than woman who didn’t write down their values.

Christine Logel of Renison University College at the University of Waterloo, co-author of the study along with Geoffrey L. Cohen of Stanford University, said “We have this need to feel self-integrity. We can buffer that self-integrity by reminding ourselves how much we love our children for example,” she explained.

Researchers sought out 45 female undergraduates who contained a body mass index of 23 or above — 18.5 to 24.9 body mass index is of normal weight. About 58 percent of the women participants were considered obese. All of the woman were weighed, and then asked to write down a list of their most important values.

They all ranked their personal values from most important to least. Half of the group was told to write for 15 minutes about the values most important to them. The other half of women were instructed to write about why one of their least important values would be important to another person.

After a four month period, the women returned to be weighed again, and the ones who wrote about their most important values lost an average of 3.41 pounds, and the women who were told to write about their least important values gained an average of 2.76 pounds, which researchers say is a typical weight increase for undergraduates.

“How we feel about ourselves can have a big effect,” explains Logel. “We think it sort of kicks off a recursive process.

Evidently the women who were able to confirm what was important to them by writing it down, felt better and less inclined to snack as a form comfort or therapy, and this behavior has carried itself over and allowed these women to maintain healthier eating habits.

“My dream, and my research goal, is to get this to the point where people can do it deliberately to benefit themselves, “said Logel.

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