20% of people in the general population report that they have lost at least 10% of their weight and have kept it off for a least a year. The National Weight Control Registry is tracking over 4,000 people who have successfully kept off 30 pounds or more for at least one year. An analysis of registry participants revealed six key strategies for keeping off lost weight over the long-term:
- Doing lots of physical activity. They exercise about 60 minutes daily, burning an average of 400 calories per session. Walking is the most frequently cited physical activity, listed by 77% of registrants. Women burned an average of 2,545 calories and men burned 3,293 calories weekly, which is equivalent to walking 20 to 30 miles per week. And one in five engage in weight training.
- Eating a diet that's low in calories and fat. Registrants make an effort to eat few calories; in particular, they eat less fat and more fiber. On average, their diets hover around 24% fat, which is lower than the typical American diet.
- Eating breakfast. Seventy-eight percent say they have breakfast every day. Their typical choice is my own favorite, cereal and fruit!
- Weighing themselves regularly. Seventy-seven percent weigh themselves at least once a week and 44% weigh themselves daily.
- Having consistent eating habits. Most say they following the same eating patterns on weekdays and weekends, as well as during vacations and holidays. They ate at fast food restaurants once a week and ate 2.5 meals per week at other restaurants, on average.
- Catching "slips" before they turn into larger regains. Their frequent weight monitoring helped, but taking action is what really counts. Most participants kept close tabs on how much they ate, particularly if they gained more than a few pounds.
The findings from studies- described in some 400 scientific publications-combined with knowledge from the many experts quoted throughout BTYSP, form the foundation of the advice, which is summarized in these five simple steps:
- Eat less to weigh less
- Eat well to stay healthy
- Exercise to feel good
- Get sufficient sleep
- Control stress and enjoy life