Most dieters find the hardest part is not losing weight, but keeping it off. The National Weight Control Registry tracks the weight loss strategies of over 6000 successful losers. To be eligible, participants must have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for over 1 year. On average, members have lost 66 pounds and kept it off for 5.5 years. Here are some of their secrets:
1. Lose weight with diet and exercise: 89% of registry members lost weight with a combination of diet and exercise. Only 1% reports losing weight with exercise alone. Therefore, making dietary changes was key for 99% of successful losers.
2. Eat a consistent diet: Successful losers reported eating a consistent diet from day to day. They ate 4-5 small meals per day, they don’t eat much differently on weekends or holidays, and they eat a smaller variety of foods than other people. In other words, a healthy routine can help you lose weight and keep it off.
3. Eat breakfast: 78% of weight loss registry members eat breakfast every day. Studies show that if you eat breakfast, you’ll consume fewer calories throughout the day.
4. Weigh frequently and have a “Take Action” weight: 75% of the successful losers weigh themselves at least once per week. If their weight increases just a little bit, they get back to their healthy routine ASAP.
5. Watch less TV: 62% of members watch less than 10 hours of TV per week. This is 1/3 of what the typical American watches. So, try cutting back on TV time, and do something active instead. Which leads us to our next secret…
6. Be physically active: 90% of the members exercise, on average, 1 hour per day. About half of the participants combine walking and another activity, such as aerobics, weight lifting, cycling or swimming. When given a pedometer, they were found to take 11,000 to 12,000 steps per day, which is equivalent to 5.5-6 miles.
7. Write down your food intake: Successful losers are also more likely to keep a daily food log which helps keep them accountable. When you write it down you are less likely to overeat.
To sum it all up… Make lifestyle changes! If you go on a short-term diet, your results will also be short-term. Make healthy lifestyle changes, and your results will stick with you for life!