Keeping Weight Off Is as Much a Challenge as Losing ItSunday, January 29, 2012
People who succeed at losing weight and keeping it off employ various strategies, according to a Brown University study of 3,000 National Weight Control Registry participants. The registry includes 10,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained that loss for at least a year. "These people are very successful at something that requires a lot of effort," says co-investigator Graham Thomas. "They built healthy habits and routines and made them a part of their everyday lifestyle. That makes it feel like less effort than it did at first." Studies of registry members` brains show that they work harder to control eating when exposed to appetizing food than those who have never been overweight. Strategies registry members use to maintain their weight loss include following a low-calorie, low-fat diet of about 1,800 calories a day; keeping track of food intake; and walking about an hour a day or burning an equivalent number of calories through other physical activities. In addition, members tended to count calories and keep track of carbohydrates and fat grams consumed or use a commercial weight-loss program. They eat breakfast regularly, often including whole grains and low-fat dairy products. They eat out no more than three times a week, and limit fast food to less than once a week. They tend to eat similar foods often and limit splurging. They watch fewer than 10 hours of TV a week, and weigh themselves at least once a week.