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Advice from National Weight Control Registry on How to Lose Weight
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Perspectives on How to Lose Weight

There are many different weight loss methods. What helps you to lose weight may not be the best method for someone else. To help you decide how to lose weight without regain, here is some information from the National Weight Control Registry.

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is a database of people who have self-reported a weight loss of 30 pounds or more and kept it off for at least a year. NWCR participants have chosen to share information about their weight loss and weight maintenance efforts. NWCR data is not a comparison study of populations that have successfully and unsuccessfully lost weight and kept it off, rather a report of successful attempts.

How People Managed to Lose Weight

Participants were asked questions about how they achieved their weight loss:

  • 89 percent changed their diets and increased physical activity (10 percent used diet modification only and one percent used activity only).
  • 55 percent used a formal program (like Weight Watchers) or professional assistance (dietitian, psychologist, etc.).
  • 87.6 percent limited some type or class of food (especially high-fat and high-calorie foods).
  • 44.2 percent limited the quantities of food they ate.
  • 43.7 percent counted calories.
  • 92 percent exercised at home, 40.3 percent exercised regularly with a friend, and 31.3 percent exercised regularly with a group.
    Walking was the most common activity reported.
  • 77 percent said a medical or emotional event triggered weight loss.
  • 42.7 percent described losing weight as hard, 31.4 percent as moderately hard, and 25.7 percent as easy.
  • Two-thirds were overweight as children (about 46 percent indicated that they became overweight at age 11 years or younger and 25.3 percent at 12 to 18 years).
  • 46 percent had one biological parent who was overweight, and 26.8 percent indicated that both biological parents overweight.
  • 91 percent had tried to lose weight before.

Comparing successful attempts to lose weight with previous ones, NWCR researchers found that:

  • 81.3 percent used more exercise to lose weight.
  • 63 percent used a stricter dietary approach.
  • As a result of weight loss, 85 percent reported improvements in physical health, quality of life, energy level, physical mobility, general mood and self-confidence.

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