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11,000 Weight Loss Maintainers Have Lost & Kept Their Weight Off for 6 Years

Weight loss maintainers secrets- how do they do it. While almost 60% of Americans are trying to lose weight. Many quickly regain their weight.   Researchers  have reported numerous health benefits associated with weight loss including lowering of blood pressure, cholesterol, fat in the blood as well as improvement in cardiac and lung function.  There is even a reduction in cancer among weight loss maintainers.Unfortunately, many individuals who lose weight eventually regain most of the weight that was lost. However, there are many individuals who have lost weight and have not regained their weight after years.

NIH Guidelines for Weight Loss:

For successful weight loss, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Guide to the Identification,Evaluation and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults recommends using behavioral modification to reduce caloric intake and increase physical activity. Sounds easy, but most of us know how hard these modifications are to achieve.  Readiness and motivation alone, fail to  predict weight loss. The first steps to success,  however is associated with rapid,  immediate initial weight loss and then goal attainment.

National Weight Control Registry:

Weight loss maintainers secrets are described in the  national wide weight loss registry– the National Weight Control Registry.
The registry provides insight into how overweight people are able to lose weight and keep it off for years and years. Successful weight maintenance is associated with rapid initial weight loss and then reaching a “self-determined goal weight.” Successful weight loss maintainers are defined as “individuals who have intentionally lost at least 10% of their body weight and kept it off at least one year.” Over 11,000 participants have been followed  in the registry report since the study began in 1994.  The average loss is   72 lb and  they have maintained the minimum weight loss (30 lb) for an average of 5.7 years. Thirteen percent have maintained this minimum weight loss for more than 10 years!  The participants have reduced from a BMI of 36.7 kg/m2 at their maximum to 25.1 kg/m2 currently.These averages, however, hide a lot of diversity:

    • Weight losses have ranged from 30 to 300 lbs.
    • Duration of successful weight loss has ranged from 1 year to 66 years!
    • Some have lost the weight rapidly, while others have lost weight very slowly–over as many as 14 years.
    • 80% of persons in the registry are women and 20% are men. The “average” woman is 45 years of age and currently weighs 145 lbs, while the “average” man is 49 years of age and currently weighs 190 lbs.

These individuals are clearly extremely successful.

Weight Loss Maintainers: Their Secrets

weight loss maintainers: the secrets

Weight loss maintainers secrets are based on  successful   specific strategies to lose and maintain their weight loss:

  • Eating breakfast. Nearly 80% of participants report eating breakfast every day, with only 4% reporting never eating breakfast.
  • Monitoring energy and fat intake. A common characteristic of  participants is that they continue to monitor their calorie  fat intake even after the weight loss period is over. On average, participants consume diets with ~24% of energy from fat and have energy intakes lower than average.  The strategies employed to control food intake include:
    1. limiting intake of certain high-fat foods,
    2. eating less food per meal,
    3. counting grams of fat or calories,
    4. eating regular meals, and
    5. adhering to the same diet regimen throughout the week  Diet consistency across the week appears to help people prevent weight gain.
  • Exercising daily. Being physical active is an important characteristic of registry participants, with 90% reporting that they exercise, on average, about 1 h or more per day. Weekly energy expenditures from physical activity average ~2800 kcal: ~2500 kcal/week for women and 3300 kcal/week for men. The most common forms of physical activity reported are cycling, aerobics, walking, and running. Comparison of the levels of physical activity between successful weight loss maintainers and people who had always maintained a normal weight showed that the weight loss maintainers spent significantly more time in high-intensity forms of physical activity and spent more minutes per week doing physical activity.
  • Engaging in less sedentary activity. It has long been recognized that sedentary behaviors, especially TV viewing, may contribute to weight gain.  TV viewing of registry participants showed that  62% watched <10 h of TV per week, with 36% reporting that they watched <5 h/week. This level of TV viewing is much lower than the national average of 28 h/week.
  • Monitoring weight. Nearly 75% of the registry participants weigh themselves at least once a week.  Thus, regularly monitoring weight appears to be a behavior that is important for ensuring that weight regain does not occur.

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