Keeping the weight off!
I have committed myself to a healthy lifestyle that will allow me to keep my weight in the range where I want it. However, I do know that it will take some work and how easy it is to fall back into my old patterns. I have been doing some research on “weight maintenance,” because I refuse to be another statistic and that person who lost it just to gain it all right back again. I found a great article online that discusses the journey of weight maintenance. The authors mention “The National Weight Control Registry” and give valuable tips on how to avoid becoming another yo-yo dieter. Here is some of the information they noted. (http://www.thedietchannel.com/weightloss8.htm)
Long-term strategies from successful losers
Take a look at some major weight loss maintenance strategies used by people who are enrolled in The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). The National Weight Control Registry began in 1993, and it is a database of thousands of people who have successfully maintained weight loss. It is the largest database of its kind. With so many weight loss methods available, and so few who keep the weight off, you should study the strategies used in these success stories. To enroll in the NWCR, you must have lost at least 30 lbs. and have maintained that loss for at least one year. Of note, however, is that the actual numbers for the participants are far better. Their average weight loss is actually about 66 pounds, and most participants have maintained the loss for more than five-and-a-half years! In addition, the great majority of the subjects experienced many prior repeated failures at dieting. In fact, the average participant had previously lost and regained an average of 270 pounds during repeated attempts at dieting before discovering the real strategies that permanent weight loss entails! These people obviously have some good ideas to share about what finally helped them to become masters at weight control. To date, the researchers have learned a few things: A great majority of the participants reported that a trigger led to their final decision to take off the weight once and for all. Many reported the onset of a medical or emotional problem as the trigger. Others reported seeing themselves in the mirror or in a photograph as the trigger. Compared to previous weight loss attempts, the following list contains what works for them now:
• 82% are more committed to making behavioral changes
• 81% exercise more
• 63% use different dietary approaches
• 89% changed both their eating and physical activity
• Approximately 55% of the participants used a formal weight loss program to lose their weight, and about 45% did it on their own.
• Most report that their average fat intake was at or below the recommended 30% of calories daily.
• Most participants eat regular meals, including occasional meals at restaurants. On average, they eat five times a day and most meals are prepared and eaten at home.
• They exercise regularly, moderate to high-intensity. On average, the calories they expend exercising each week equate to walking 28 miles. Most burn more than 2,000 calories a week through exercise!
• Almost half were overweight before age 11, and another 25 percent were overweight before age 18. (This debunks the old myth that it’s impossible to lose weight if you’ve been overweight since childhood or if you have “heavy” genes).
• More than 70 percent of the people have at least one overweight parent. These people have genes that pre-dispose them to being overweight, but they still succeeded in losing weight.
• Very few used Popular Diets, and only four percent used weight loss medication.
• 42% say it’s easier to maintain weight than to lose it.
• 95% say that the overall quality of their lives has improved, and 92% report that their energy level has also improved.
Registry participants offer these weight loss/weight maintenance tips:
• Learn to eat in a way that you can live with for the rest of your life.
• If you watch what you eat 90% of the time, the other 10% is not a problem.
• Take it slow if you don’t want the pounds to return again.
• Decide on what you need, and do only what works for you.
• Continue to set small goals to work towards your big goal.
• Find support from a friend, a group, or even create your own group. • Know what your food triggers are and what your alternative non-eating options are when you get cravings.
• Make exercise a priority and a scheduled appointment, not an option.
• Be sure the exercise you choose is something you enjoy.
The take home message is that most of these people have been highly creative and persistent about finding and applying what works for them. You must learn constantly about what works for you and develop your own personal tricks. The key to successful weight maintenance is putting these ideas into action.