Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tips from National Weight Control Registry

At our last meeting, we talked about the National Weight Control Registry - a database of individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight and maintained that weight loss for at least 5 years. Here's a recap of 6 key behaviors that lead to long-term success (along with some commentary):

Eat Breakfast

They say it's the most important meal of the day...and it's true! You need to eat breakfast to get your metabolism going in the morning. You do need to eat healthy, nutritious foods.

Eat: Oatmeal, whole grain cereals (without a lot of sugar), wheat toast with scrambled egg whites. Not: poptarts, sausage egg & cheese croissant, doughnuts/muffins.

Moderate caloric intake

You need to consume fewer calories than you expend (use) in order to lose weight, and you need to have an equal balance of calories in/calories out to maintain your weight. Stop the yo-yo dieting pattern of eating way too much and then starving yourself to try to make up for it and lose the weight you've gained. Choose a healthy diet you can live with long-term, and a moderate caloric intake so weight gain will not creep up on you!

Regular physical activity

As discussed above, you have to balance calories in/out to maintain your weight. Diet is key, but so is expending calories through regular exercise. Those who have been successful in their weight loss and maintenance continue to work out 4-6 times a week for a minimum of 45 minutes.

Self monitor weight

If you have a history of eating or weight disorders, you may be an exception to this point. For most people, weighing yourself once a week (same time, same day, same conditions) is important to help keep your weight in check and stay in touch with your body. Read below for a major part of the reason why...

Correct small weight gains quickly

Successful weight loss maintainers monitor their weight, and correct small gains quickly before they become bigger problems. For example, if I notice I have gained 5 pounds over the past 2 weeks, I need to adjust my eating & exercise habits immediately and get those 5 pounds off. If I delay and continue along that path, I will put on 30 pounds in 3 months - YIKES!

Eat consistently across weekends and holidays

This isn't to say you can't treat yourself, but in moderation and working into your overall calorie budget. Many people eat very differently on weekends/holidays or see these times as occasion to splurge. If you are constantly overeating on the weekend or during holiday seasons, you may feel frustated that you are never able to reach your goals. If you are always having to "make up" for overeating, you will never advance towards your goals but take 2 steps forward and 2 steps back...and stay stuck in the same place!

Consistency is the key to all these points! Break the mentality of being "on a diet", because you need to be consistent every day: eat moderately, exercise, monitor your weight, and eat consistently throughout the week and year. Choose healthy habits you can live with for life.

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