Waiting in line at the grocery store, magazine headlines flash in front of your eyes,
“Lose 10 Pounds in 30 Days!”
“Lose Weight Without Trying!”
“Drop 2 Sizes in Two Weeks!”
What does is really take to lose weight and keep it off for good? The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) was created in 1994 to study long-term weight loss and maintenance. The NWCR is currently tracking over 5,000 people who have lost a minimum of 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year. The average registry member has lost 66 pounds and kept it off for 5.5 years. The results of the study may surprise many Americans.
Rule 1 – Always Eat Breakfast. 78 % of the dieters eat breakfast daily.
Rule 2 – Weigh yourself at least weekly. Many of the participants weigh themselves daily to monitor their progress. Another method of monitoring progress is to keep a journal. Keep a log of how many calories consumed per day as well as calories burned through activity.
Rule 3 – Add a significant amount of daily exercise. Try to fit in about an hour of exercise per day. Walking is the most common form of exercise among the participants. Most report walking between 11,000 – 12,000 steps per day. Female participants report burning 2500 calories per week and the average man burns 3000 calories, the equivalent of 60 to 90 minutes of moderate intensity activity per day. 62 % of participants watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
Rule 4 – Cut down on calorie intake. Average calorie intake of participants is between 1300 – 1500 calories per day. A diet low in fat is found to be beneficial, between 23 % and 24 % calories from fat is an ideal ratio. Only a small portion of dieters are able to keep the weight off following a high fat, low carb nutrition plan.
Another intriguing finding of the NWCR database is the ability to overcome genetic predisposition for obesity. Half of the participants were overweight as children and the majority had at least one overweight parent. Yet they were still able to lose the weight and permanently keep it off.
There are no secrets to keeping the weight off, hard work is key. Diet and fitness programs that promise to be easy or painless tend to be failures. Despite the hard work, the higher quality of life and health benefits make it all worthwhile in the long run.
Dieters who qualify for the National Weight Control Registry may enroll online at www.nwcr.ws.