A new study conducted by the National Weight Control Registry examined about 3,000 men and women who managed to maintain the bulk of their weight loss for at least 10 years. Over the last two years, I have managed to lose a total of 53 pounds and have yet to put any of the weight back on.
Nor will I.
Participants in the NWCR study identified the following strategies to assist in maintaining weight loss:
- Count calorie or fat grams or use a commercial weight-loss program to track food intake.
For the first year, I used an iPhone app called Lose It in order to track my calories, but I eventually became proficient enough to count calories without the help of technology. I can now roughly determine the number of calories for almost any meal and can quickly total the day’s calories mentally.
- But learning to count calories was essential to my success. It cannot be underscored.
- Follow a low-calorie, low-fat diet. They take in about 1,800 calories a day and less than 30% of calories from fat.I never followed this rule. I simply counted calories. I also take in up to 3,000-4,000 calories per day but compensate by exercising daily.
- Eat breakfast regularlyAlways.
- Limit the amount they eat out. They dine out an average of three times a week and eat fast food less than once a week.I did not follow this rule either. Again, I simply counted calories. If I was going to eat a fast food meal for dinner, I ate a light lunch.
Also, I eat fast food almost everyday. My breakfast is almost always an Egg McMuffin, hash brown and Diet Coke.
- Eat similar foods regularly and don't splurge much on holidays and special occasionsIt’s true that I often eat similar foods. The same breakfast almost everyday and oftentimes the same lunch. But I was never concerned with splurging on holidays or special occasions. If I did so, I ate smaller meals in the following day or exercised more.
- Walk about an hour a day or burn the same calories with other activitiesI exercise every day, almost without exception, for at least 30 minutes.
- Watch fewer than 10 hours of TV a weekI watch far fewer than 10 hours of TV most weeks.
- Weigh themselves at least once a weekI weigh myself daily.
I’m often asked how I managed to lose so much weight. My answer is simple:
I eat a little less, and I exercise every day.
I get the sense that this answer does not satisfy a lot of people.
I think they’d rather hear that I ate bacon and tree bark and took hot yoga classes for six months.