Be a Successful Weight Loss Maintainer

Be a Successful Weight Loss Maintainer

 The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) was established in 1994 by

Rena Wing, Ph.D. from Brown Medical School, and James O. Hill, Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, and is the largest prospective investigation of long-term successful weight loss maintenance. Given the prevailing belief that few individuals succeed at long-term weight loss, the NWCR was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss. The NWCR is tracking over 10,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. Detailed questionnaires and annual follow-up surveys are used to examine the behavioral and psychological characteristics of weight maintainers, as well as the strategies they use to maintaining their weight losses.

Registry members have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years These averages, however, hide a lot of diversity: Weight losses have ranged from 30 to 300 lbs.

Duration of successful weight loss has ranged from 1 year to 66 years!

Some have lost the weight rapidly, while others have lost weight very slowly–over as many as 14 years.

There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, *low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.

(The average percentage of calories coming from fat is 24 %. I would consider this a moderate amount of fat)

 The National Weight Control Registry states that successful weight loss maintainers engage in the following:

  •   eating a low/moderate-fat , low-calorie, diet
  •   exercising ~ 1 hr/day (≈1 h/d), (90% exercise, on avg. ~1 hour   per day)
  •   eating breakfast regularly,  (78% eat breakfast every day.)
  •  self-monitoring weight, (75% weigh themselves at least once a week)
  •  maintaining a consistent eating pattern across weekdays and weekends.

It appears that weight loss maintenance may get easier over time. After individuals have successfully maintained their weight loss for 2–5 y, the chance of longer-term success greatly increases.  National Weight Control Registry members provide evidence that long-term weight loss maintenance is possible and help identify the specific approaches associated with long-term success.

 Here  are some more interesting data on successful weight loss maintainers:

 55.4% reported receiving some type of help with weight loss (commercial program, physician, nutritionist), whereas the others (44.6%) reported losing the weight entirely on their own.

  • 89% reported using both diet and physical activity for weight loss; only 10% reported using diet only, and 1% reported using exercise only for their weight loss.
  • The most common dietary strategies for weight loss were to restrict certain foods (87.6%), limit quantities (44%), and count calories (43%).
  •  Approximately 25% counted fat grams, 20% used liquid formula, and 22% used an exchange system diet.

 Thus, there is variability in how the weight loss was achieved (except that it is almost always by diet plus physical activity).

 Findings from the registry suggest six key strategies for long-term success at weight loss:

1) engaging in high levels of physical activity;

2) eating a diet that is low in calories and fat;

3) eating breakfast;

4) self-monitoring weight on a regular basis;

5) maintaining a consistent eating pattern; and

6) catching “slips” before they turn into larger regains.

 My Thoughts – Losing weight is easy.  It really is.  Choose any diet program or crazy fad diet and you’ll lose weight regardless of whether or not the diet is good for you.  If all you are looking for is to lose weight in order to fit into a pair of jeans, then this web site is NOT for you. However, if you need to lose weight and are looking for the healthiest way to do it, than a Whole Food Plant Based diet is for you.  Like other diets, you’ll lose weight, but unlike other diets (including programs like Nutrisystems and Weight Watchers) you’ll be more likely to keep the weight off in the long term.

 By following a WFPB diet that is low to moderate in fat and with reasonable exercise, you can achieve your weight loss goals  while improving your energy and feeling of well-being.  When your diet is dominated by whole and minimally processed plant foods, you’ll be eating a bunch of delicious foods that are low to moderate in both calorie density and fat.  This allows you to eat lots of food while keeping your caloric intake at a level that results in healthy weight loss. It’s a way to eat a diet that is low in calories and low to moderate in fat without the tedium of counting calories and figuring out fat calorie percentage.  If you eat a variety of whole to minimally processed plant foods, your body will do all of the math for you.  It will do the math not only  for calories and fat, but for many other nutrients as well.

 When you follow a WFPB diet, strategy # 2 (eating a diet that is low in calories and fat) is a “walk in the park”.  And a walk in the park (a brisk one) takes care of strategy # 1 as brisk walking is the most common type of exercise among Registry members.

 A WFPB diet certainly will not preclude you from following the remaining strategies of Registry members: eating breakfast; self-monitoring weight on a regular basis; maintaining a consistent eating pattern; and catching “slips” before they turn into larger regains.

 As you learn more about WFPB, you’ll discover many different breakfast ideas that never occurred to you before.  You’ll also find that your taste preferences will begin to change and that choosing healthy plant based foods on a consistent basis will become easy for you.  So WFPB will make it easier to follow the strategies that work for long term weight loss maintainers.

If this sounds good to you, then it is time for you to make the significant dietary changes that will give you the healthy, vibrant life that you deserve.

 References – Wing RR, Phelan S. Long Term Weight Loss Maintenance.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ; 2005; 82: 2225 -2255


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