Most of us know what it takes to lose weight: a healthy diet and regular exercise. Figuring out how to permanently change your lifestyle and keep the weight off for good is something not everyone has mastered. It's easy to think of weight loss as having a beginning and an end, as you start a diet and then finally reach your goal. But what's the secret to keeping that weight off for good?
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is a database of thousands of people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off long term (at least 30 lbs for more than one year.) A report from the American College of Sports Medicine on the NWCR found that these people have commonalities among their approaches to losing weight and maintaining that loss. Are these findings revolutionary and shocking? Probably not. But they reinforce some of the key behaviors that make keeping the weight off a lifelong success.
• 89% of participants used a combination of diet and exercise to lose weight.
• 98% exercise at home.
• 40% exercise with a friend.
The NWCR shares 7 tips for those trying to maintain weight loss:
"1. Be active. More than half (54 percent) of NWCR members expend more than 2,000 calories each week. This equals about 200 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise.
2. Turn off the television. About 63 percent of NWCR members watch television for fewer than ten hours per week.
3. Enjoy a low-calorie, low-fat diet. The average NWCR member consumes 1,380 calories per day, and less than 30 percent of these calories come from fat.
4. Keep your diet consistent. Resisting the urge to “splurge” on holidays or weekends, NWCR members eat the same foods on a regular basis.
5. Eat breakfast. Most NWCR members (78 percent) eat breakfast each day. This helps curb hunger and overeating later in the day.
6. Show some restraint. NWCR members exert great control over their eating habits, and they rarely overeat.
7. Keep track of your progress. Weighing in at least once a day and keeping track of food intake is essential for most NWCR members."
The good news is that these are all tips that SparkPeople reinforces on a daily basis. So whether you're still working toward your weight loss goal or focusing on maintenance, they are all good habits to employ. Looking for more good tips on maintaining your weight? Check out Maintaining a Healthy Weight and 3 Strategies to Prevent Relapse After Reaching Your Goal Weight.
What do you think? If you've reached your goal weight, do you have any additional tips to share?