A new study has backed up what others have found: Women who want to loose weight should keep a food journal, avoid skipping meals and eating in restaurants, especially at lunch.
The study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, looked at self-monitoring and diet-related behaviors and meal patterns among overweight post-menopausal women.
The conclusion was total calories matter more than the kind of diet.
"When it comes to weight loss, evidence from randomized, controlled trials comparing different diets finds that restricting total calories is more important than diet composition such as low-fat versus low-carbohydrate. Therefore, the specific aim of our study was to identify behaviors that supported the global goal of calorie reduction," said Dr. Anne McTiernan, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
The researchers told women to be honest, complete and consistent in their journals by recording everything they ate, measuring portions, reading labels and including details about how food was prepared.
Those who did lost 6 pounds more than those who didn't. Those who skipped meals lost 8 pound fewer than those who didn't. And women who ate out at least weekly for lunch lost 5 fewer pounds than those who ate out less. (Lunch seemed to matter more than other meals.)
Eating out means a loss of control of calories, and skipping meals lead women to eat more other times.
So, the take away from the researchers is monitor closely overall calories in to meet your goals.