What actually does work
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is a research study that seeks to gather information from people who have successfully lost weight and kept if off. The registry is open to those 18 years or older who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained at least a 30-pound weight loss for a year or more. Researchers periodically ask participants to complete online questionnaires about their weight loss success, current weight maintenance strategies, and other health-related behaviors.
The diversity of success of these people reinforces the idea that the factors influencing whether and how you gain and lose weight are extremely individual. According to information reported by the registry, members have lost an average of 66 pounds, but the range is from 30 to 300 pounds. Weight has been kept off an average of 5.5 years, but the range is from 1 to 66 years. Some have lost weight rapidly, whereas other have lost it slowly — taking up to as long as 14 years. Some people figured out how to lose weight on their own (45 percent), while others lost it with the assistance of some kind of program (55 percent).
However, there were some things that were more universal in determining success for weight loss and maintenance. NWCR members keep weight off in a variety of ways, but most report maintaining a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity. Additional factors for success include:
- 98 percent modified their food intake in some way
- 94 percent increased physical activity, most often by walking
- 90 percent exercise an average of 1 hour a day
- 78 percent eat breakfast daily
- 75 percent weigh themselves weekly
- 68 percent watch fewer than 10 hours of TV weekly
If you have a little or a lot of weight to lose, keep an open mind about what weight-loss strategies will work for you and consider a balanced approach that incorporates a healthy diet coupled with regular exercise.
April 09, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN