Lots of people lose weight. At least half or more regain the weight within three to five years. How can you put the odds in your favour of staying slim and trim? The National Weight Control Registry, established in 1994, keeps track of people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. This registry is based out of the U.S. and currently tracks over 10,000 successful participants.
Here is what successful weight loss maintainers have in common:
About half have lost the weight on their own and half have used some type of weight loss program. Almost all have used a combination of eating less and exercising more to lose weight (only 10% just dieted and 1% just exercised).
Most maintain their weight loss by following a low calorie, low fat diet. The most common dietary strategies are to restrict certain foods (88%), limit quantities (44%) and count calories (43%). Most eat breakfast daily (78%). The typical breakfast is cereal and fruit. Dieting consistency is also important (eating the same foods on weekdays and weekends). Most dine out less than 3 times per week and eat fast food less than once a week.
This group is very physically active. Most participate, on average, in one hour of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking daily. The most common activity is walking (76%). The majority watch less than 10 hours of TV per week (62%).
Most weigh themselves at least once a week (75%). This allows them to catch small weight gains. Small regains in weight (1 to 2 kg/2 to 4 lbs) are common and should not be ignored. It’s important to react immediately to reverse even minor weight lapses and more importantly to determine how to prevent further regain in the future. Those who suffer from high levels of depression or dietary disinhibition (a tendency to overeat in the presence of tasty foods or because of emotional stress) are more likely to regain weight.
The longer they have kept the weight off, the more successful they have become at keeping it off, especially after two to five years or more (weight maintenance becomes easier and more enjoyable with time). Even many years after weight loss, however, they are still paying attention to what they eat and how much they exercise!
Nearly all have said that weight loss has led to improvements in their level of energy, physical mobility, general mood, self-confidence, and physical health.
If you lose weight and want to keep it off, follow a low calorie, low fat diet. Have breakfast daily. Eat consistently on weekdays and weekends. Participate in at least one hour of activity, such as brisk walking, daily. If you start to regain the weight, take action immediately.