The November 2007 issue of Australian Women’s Health magazine looks at the strategies of that rare breed of weight-loser – the one who keeps it off. The findings are from the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), which has more than 6000 members who’ve managed to misplace at least 14kg without finding them again.
Here’s my summary of the rules from the article.
1. Ditch the diet
Once weight is lost, it’s time for maintenance mode. Dieting doesn’t work long-term.
2. Embrace exercise
In Dr Hill’s opinion, ‘exercise is the single most important strategy’.
3. You can do less, if you do it more
Of the 91% of registry members who exercise 60-90 minutes daily, most break it down into 10-15-minute mini-workouts. They fit walks or resistance exercises in when and where they can.
4. Break the fast
Since breakfast helps prevent overindulgence later in the day, it’s a daily staple of 78% of registry members.
5. Be a dietary creature of habit
People who eat consistently through the week maintain their weight over a year better than strict-weekday, relaxed-weekend dieters.
6. Plan a naughty treat
A small dietary indulgence once a week or so can head off major temptation.
7. Less fat, more carbs
Fat is easy to overeat – it tastes good and doesn’t look like a lot of calories. Carbs are fuel. The average registry member’s diet is 25-30% fat, 15-20% protein and 50-60% carbohydrates.
8. Step up
Registry members walk 11,000-12,000 steps daily. That’s 6.4-8.8 km and more than twice the average Australian’s daily perambulation. For 28% of registry members walking is their sole exercise (delightfully witty pun unintended); 50% do other cardio as well as walking.
9. Weigh in regularly
More than 75% of registry members weigh themselves more than once a week. They aren’t slavish about daily fluctuations, but take increased weight over several days as a call to remedial action.
10. If at first you don’t succeed…
Nine out of ten registry members failed to keep weight off on previous tries. This time they had greater commitment – they slipped up, but they got back on track.
11. It gets easier
The longer the weight is off, the better the chance it will stay off.
If ditching those pesky homing kilos once and for all is one of your happiness strategies for 2008, then why not follow the example of these long-term losers.
I will be, starting with Rule #6. And to show my commitment, I’m gonna do it every day!