According to surveys, 20% of obese and overweight Americans have managed to lose weight and successfully kept it off.
There are a lot of resources and opinions about how to lose weight, but what most, if not all, dieters learn firsthand is that maintaining weight loss can be just as difficult, if not more so, than losing the pounds. And yet resources and discussions about weight maintenance are noticeably scarce.
Fortunately, The National Weight Control Registry was founded in 1994 to try to identify those individuals who have successfully maintained weight loss and study their behaviors, habits, attitudes and skills. The Registry currently keeps track of more than 10,000 Americans over 18 years old who have successfully maintained at least a 30-pound weight loss for over a year.
Listed below are some of the few things that successful weight losers and maintainers do differently.
5) They make it a point to make the transition from losing weight to maintaining it as seamless as possible.
Shedding pounds in a way that is closest to what maintaining it will feel like may prove to be the most effective approach. For example, if you lose weight by adapting an unusual diet like a liquid meal plan or eating only one type of food, it can be difficult to transition to your maintenance diet. Instead of losing weight through weird diets that are impossible to sustain, try to learn right off the bat what it’s like to eat a healthier diet and start developing an exercise routine to incorporate into your daily life. The trick is to build healthier patterns that truly last.
4) They are active.
According to the Registry’s records, the average maintainer logs at least 200 minutes per week of physical exercise. Although there’s limited data as to what type exercises the maintainers did, what’s important is that by simply moving more, the maintainers were able keep their healthy weight more successfully.
3) The don’t spend much time at their couch watching TV.
So how did those maintainers find the time to fit in all those physical activities? Well, a big part of it is decreased screen time. Registry records shows that members log about only 10 hours hours of TV time in a week while the average American spends about 28 hours a week.
Another reason why limited couch time is important is because for many of us, TV time also means snack time. By decreasing TV time and increasing physical activity, you’ll have the dual benefit of additional calorie burn while also reducing potential calorie intake.
2) They are consistent with their eating habits.
Although Registry members share some similarities when it comes to their eating habits, this doesn’t necessarily mean that one person’s approach will work on another. Always remember that losing and maintaining weight is possible using a variety of diets and eating plans.
One major reason why obesity is a big problem in the U.S. is that the food environment here has made delicious, high-calorie food is easily accessible. Successful maintainers from the Registry seem to limit their exposure to the variety of unhealthy foods by eating the same diet over and over again.
For example, instead of picking a meal from all the possible choices, successful weight maintainers adhere to a certain diet that’s beneficial to their weight maintenance plan. They’re also highly consistent and never splurge on special occasions and holidays.
1) They find support.
It’s safe to say that any goal feels more attainable when you have someone to cheer you on and provide encouragement. Studies have shown that social and technological support has been associated with weight loss and weight maintenance. Whether it’s a partner accompanying you at the gym or a fitness tracking app, having a good support system will help you stay accountable and encourage you to stay on track.