The hallmark of a successful weight loss initiative is not losing the weight, but keeping the weight off. A lot of people are able to lose the weight but very few are able to keep it off. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) in the US was an initiative started in the University of Colorado in 1994. The objective of the NWCR is to find out what is required to maintain long-term weight loss Currently, the NWCR is tracking 6000 individuals who have lost weight and have kept it off for a long time.
According to data collected by the NWCR, people who have been able to maintain weight loss had the following characteristics.
- 78% eat breakfast every day
- 75% weigh them self at least once a week
- 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week
- 90% exercise on average, about 1 hour per day
The NWCR seems to be the only place we can turn to, to find out what it really takes to maintain weight loss. This is because they have tracked a lot of people who have successfully kept the weight off over a long period. The information from the NWCR may be valuable for people who are frustrated with rebound weight gain. Lets examine these key findings one by one.
Eating Breakfast Every Day
A lot of research has also confirmed this finding. One recent study has found that those who consumed breakfast had a lower storage of abdominal fat as compared to those who missed breakfast. Even those who occasionally ate breakfast had a lower propensity to store abdominal fat. Read about the weight loss benefits of eating breakfast from a previous article entitled “Breakfast Skippers Beware : You Could be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts”.
Self Weighing Once a Week
Self weighing once a week is extremely important to ensure that one is always making efforts to stay at the desired weight. The challenge with a lot of people after they achieve their weight loss goals is to completely let themselves go. They feel deserving and indulge in all sorts of drinks and food. Most people think of weight loss as a goal and not a journey. The desired weight is a goal but the maintenance of a desired weight is a lifelong journey. A good guide is to activate the panic button if one has gained 2kgs more than the desired weight level. At the same time,one should not be overly obsessed with one’s weight resulting in daily and some times twice daily weight measurements.
Watch Less TV Weekly
Television time takes time away from other valuable activities that could be contributing to one’s health. We hear of people who do not have time to exercise because they want to spend time with their family, yet unknowingly waste hours mesmerized by a box with pictures. The other challenge with watching too much television is unconsciously consuming too many calories. People may not even realize that they are stuffing themselves when glued to the television.
Exercising 1 Hour or More Daily
This seems to be the biggest challenge with most people. Some people think of exercise when trying to lose weight as a “temporary sacrifice”. They feel that they only need to make this “sacrifice” until they reach their target weight. Little do they realize that exercise is a lifelong affair. This again stems from the notion that weight loss ends after achieving the target weight. People forget about weight management consists of maintaining the weight loss.
The NWCR has revealed the secrets of maintaining weight loss but a lot of people will not want to believe this. “It can’t be that simple”. “I just can’t see myself exercising for the rest of my life”. “I am an emotional eater”. Well it seems that there is no other way. The people who maintained their weight loss followed these guidelines. Not following these guidelines and expecting to maintain weight loss will be a long, hard, tiring and frustrating battle which one will eventually loose. The world is filled with people who have lost weight at one time and have regained it or those who constantly battle with weight loss and weight rebound.