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Who Succeeds at Long-Term Weight Loss?

Nov 16, 2007
Is true long-term weight loss really possible?

We've all heard the statistics that say most people who lose weight will gain most of it back again in a very short amount of time. Those statistics can be discouraging, because losing a significant amount of weight, from 5% to even 25% of your total body mass, is hard work and it takes a huge commitment.

If you get help from a weight loss clinic or doctor specializing in obesity, the process can be expensive, too. How can you know if you'll be one of the "biggest losers" who manages win the long-term weight loss battle?

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) has the resources to actually study this issue, and their findings are important clues to the odds of losing weight and keeping it off.

They have the voluntary participation of over 4,000 members who have lost at least 30 pounds, and who have kept it off for at least one year. The greatest value of this program is that they study the successes, as much as they study the failures, so they are learning what works as well as what doesn't.

The successful folks, the ones who lose their excess pounds and manage to stay thin over a long period of time, have a number of things in common:

1. They eat breakfast, usually consisting of cereal and fruit.

2. They continue to eat a low-calorie, low-fat diet.

3. They're active, and stick with their exercise program even after they've thinned down. Most participate in some form of physical activity for at least an hour a day, with walking being the most common form of exercise.

4. They get on the scales at least once a week.

5. They maintain their weight for at least two years after the weight loss - in other words, the longer you keep it off, the lower your chances of getting fat again.

What are the risk factors?

People who start to regain their weight seem to have some common traits, as well. Of particular importance is maintaining control of your eating habits. People who regain at least part of their weight tend to have periodic losses of control, and may experience occasional bing eating.

The folks who keep on the same eating schedule and diet every day of the week, and even on holidays, tended to keep their weight stable. Those who fluctuate with their diet are more likely to get lax about the amount of calories they consume, and the numbers on the scale start creeping back up.

Depression has a significant effect on the study's participants, as well. Frequent bouts of depression or dark mood swings makes regaining the weight more likely. Since depression is now seen as a medical condition, and many treatment options are available, it makes sense to talk to your doctor about this issue if you need to.

Keys to successful long-term maintenance of a healthy weight:

Stay active, remember your commitment to a low-calorie, low-fat diet every single day, and seek help for depression if mood swings affect your eating choices.

And remember - the longer you keep the weight off, the easier it is to stay thin, so commit to staying vigilant with your diet for at least two years. Success with long-term weight loss is possible - and you could be one of the "biggest winners".
About the Author
If you buy frozen diet meals to control your portions and calories, you know they're convenient, and they do help you lose weight. Now you can freeze your own diet meals and eat good healthy food every day, for less! Visit EasyDoesItDiet.com
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