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What do successful weight maintainers have to teach us?
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 • Posted May 4, 2011

Maintaining weight-loss can be very challenging. However, it is not hopeless. About one in twenty individuals who lose weight will keep the weight off. Ever wonder why some who ‘diet’ are successful while others are not? What is their secret?

The National Weight Control Registry is a database of over 6,000 successful weight-loss maintainers. Researchers use the Registry to see if there are commonalities among the participants that can help us better understand weight loss. According to the National Weight Control Registry successful weight-loss maintainers: get plenty of physical activity, limit sedentary activities such as television watching, have a consistent eating plan, consume breakfast and monitor their weight.

Weight-loss maintainers get at least 200 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise such as walking or swimming. They also limit television viewing to about 10 hours a week. "Another trait of weight-loss maintainers is consistency; they do not ‘splurge’ because it’s the weekend, a holiday or because they are eating out," said Dr. Sharon Robinson, Nutrition Specialist and Registered Dietitian with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Sometimes when people want to lose weight they will stop eating breakfast. However, we know from the Registry that weight-loss maintainers eat breakfast daily. Also they monitor their weight by weighing themselves weekly and tracking their food intake daily.

Weight loss is not easy, said Robinson, but incorporating these positive lifestyle behaviors will increase the odds of being a success.

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