Secrets of Successful Dieters
Have you tried to lose weight many times? Or, maybe you’ve lost several pounds but gained it all back again. If so, you’re not alone. It’s extremely challenging to maintain weight loss. However, some people do manage to achieve their weight loss and weight maintenance goals.
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) (www.nwcr.ws) is a database that tracks more than 5,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds and maintained the loss for at least 1 year. How did these people keep off the weight? Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD, CSCS, a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, a registered dietitian and an ACE master trainer, shares some of their secrets.
Portion sizes were much smaller in the past than they are today. With today’s portion sizes, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re eating. To lose weight, you must control your food portions. In fact, research suggests portion control is the greatest predictor of successful weight loss (Logue et al. 2004). Control portions by learning to read nutrition labels; carefully measuring out servings; eating only a single helping; using smaller serving dishes; and resisting the urge to “clean your plate.”
Practice paying attention to everything you eat. Many people turn to food when they are bored or stressed out. Ask yourself why you are heading to the fridge or pantry. Are you really motivated by hunger, or are you just bored, stressed, sad or tired? Emotional eating can wreak havoc on a well-planned weight management program. Keeping a daily food log and jotting down what you are feeling can help you identify your emotions, monitor your food intake and hold yourself accountable.
It’s also important to know your weight. While it is not advisable to become obsessive about weight to the nearest 0.01 pound, people who maintain their weight loss do so by keeping periodic tabs on the scale, weighing themselves at least once per week. This way they are able to identify small weight increases in time to take appropriate corrective action (NWCR 2007).
Time spent watching TV is usually time spent being completely sedentary (and thus expending minimal amounts of calories) and often eating as well. Most people mindlessly consume snacks while mesmerized in front of the television, not noticing the rapidly multiplying calorie intake. Case in point: the successful NWCR “losers” watched less than 10 hours of television per week (Raynor et al. 2006).
For the latest research, statistics, sample classes, and more, "Like" IDEA on Facebook here.
Fitness is key in losing weight and keeping pounds off. More than 94% of participants who succeeded in their goals in the National Weight Control Registry did so by increasing their rate of physical activity in order to lose weight (NWCR 2007). In fact, many who lost weight reported walking for at least 1 hour per day.
And for those who kept the weight off, exercise was also crucial. This was evident because the registry participants who dropped out of fitness programs ended up putting the pounds back on (NWCR 2007). As you lose weight, a proportion of each pound comes from muscle; that, in turn, slows down the metabolism and makes it difficult to keep the weight off. Although cardiovascular exercise is important for burning calories, be sure to do a resistance training program as well, to help preserve your lean tissue and keep up your metabolic rate.
This handout is a service of IDEA, the leading international membership association in the health and fitness industry, www.ideafit.com.
National Weight Control Registry. 2007 NWCR facts. www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm; retrieved Sept. 15, 2007.
Raynor, D.A., et al. 2006. Television viewing and long-term weight maintenance: Results from the National Weight Control Registry. Obesity, 14 (10), 1816–24.
© 2009 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.
IDEA Newsletter Sign-up
|Extreme Interval Training
In this course you'll learn goal-focused intervals and over 50 dynamic exercises and drills to create extensive and intensive training formats.
|Cut to the Core
This is a raw, unedited video filmed live at the 2009 IDEA World Fitness Convention™. Cut to the Core is packed full of core-focused exercises that aim to improve the way you look, feel and live.
|September 2011 IDEA Fitness Journal Quiz 4: Plyometric Training
This continuing education quiz is an in-depth look at plyometric training. Plyometric exercises—jumping, bounding, hopping, arm pushing, and catching and throwing weighted objects such as machine balls—are movements that involve rapid eccentric and concentric muscle actions.