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The National Weight Control Registry – Studying Successful Weight Loss


You can here a lot of advice to “study success” to model it. The trouble is, if you pick only one person, they’re different from you and so what works for them may not work for you. Maybe they’re on the asparagus diet and you hate asparagus.

Therefore, the NWCR examines the results of many people to obtain the common denominators in successful — and permanent weight loss.

Four out of five participants are women, probably reflecting the greater concern among women regarding their weight. (It’s well-known in weight loss marketing circles that women are the biggest customers of weight loss products of any kind.)

They also defy the common “wisdom” that’s impossible to lose weight on a long term basis.

They’re now tracking over 5,000 people. They’ve lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for an average of 5.5 years.

However, some members have lost (and kept off, remember) 300 pounds. Some have kept the weight off for as long as 66 years. Some lost their weight quickly. Some took 14 years.

Here’re some of their findings:

45% of registry participants lost the weight on their own. The other 55% used a program.

98% of Registry participants report changing their diet in some way. The only surprise there is that it isn’t 100%.

94% increased their physical activity. The most common form of exercise — walking.

78% eat breakfast every day. 75% weigh themselves once a week or more frequently. 62% watch fewer than 10 hours of TV a week. 90% exercise — average is one hour per day.

Dr. Rena Wing has found one secret for not gaining weight during holidays is planning. According to the Washington Post, Dr. Wing said of the registry’s participants: “They seem to be good at anticipating where there will be problems. They think through what makes this holiday period hard for them.”

According to Good Morning America, some participants said the key was not think of dieting as a short term “diet,” but as lifestyle change.

Another interesting finding: women lose weight as a group. Men tend to lose weight on their own.

Also, participants who did not have a “cheat” day were more likely to maintain their weight loss. Once you allow yourself to cheat one day, it’s easier to cheat another day, and another day, and when you’re tired… and pretty soon “cheating” is once again your regular daily diet.

And you’re back to gaining weight.

The NWCR also determined that people who maintain weight loss for two to five years cut their risk of regaining the weight in half. The longer you remain a healthy weight, the longer you’re probably going to remain a healthy weight.

For more information, you can visit the National Weight Control Registry at

Source by Richard Stooker

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