The National Weight Control Registry tracks thousands who successfully lose weight and maintain their weight loss for years. Find out how they do it.
Weight loss is a national obsession and yet each year the percentage of adults who are either clinically overweight or obese continues to increase. Clearly, losing weight is not easy and those who attempt weight loss are misguided in their efforts.
The National Weight Control Registry is a study attempting to find commonalities among people who have successfully lost weight, at least 30 pounds, and have maintained that weight loss for more than one year. Researchers have published their findings and identified several factors that separate successful weight losers from those who are not successful.
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Change Eating Habits to Lose Weight
Ninety-eight percent of study participants modified food intake for successful weight loss. The average daily intake of calories for women participating in the study is 1306, while men in the study average a daily intake of 1685 calories. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2000, the average number of calories consumed by women in the United States was 1877, while men in the United States average 2618 calories per day.
Consuming fewer calories means greater weight loss and women in the study consume 30% fewer calories than the average woman in the United States, while men in the study consume 36% less than the average man in the United States. Those wanting to lose weight and keep it off should consume fewer calories not for a short-term diet, but as a long-term lifestyle change.
Increase Physical Activity for Weight Loss
Most study participants, 94%, also reported an increase in physical activity, with walking being the most frequently reported activity. On average, participants in the study exercise an hour a day, twice the current recommendation of the joint study by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association released in 2007, which suggested 30 minutes per day, 5 times a week of moderate intensity exercise.
For improvement of general health and fitness, the current recommended amount of weekly exercise may be sufficient, but for those who want to be successful at losing weight, an hour a day should be considered a minimum.
Frequently Monitor Weight Loss Success
Seventy-five percent of participants frequently monitor weight gain or loss by weighing themselves weekly. By constantly checking for weight loss, or gain, participants were able to make adjustments to food intake, or activity levels, before gaining a large amount of weight. Frequent progress checks also helped participants to stay accountable for their weight loss goals.
Losing weight and keeping it off is not easy in today’s modern environment of cheaply available calories and lack of activity, but thousands of people each year manage to lose weight and maintain their weight loss for years by permanently changing their lifestyle.