More than ⅓ of Americans have obesity and many people struggle to lose weight on a daily basis. Obesity is a disease that worsens over time and places a person at a higher risk for other diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea and certain types of cancers including breast, colon, pancreas, gallbladder, thyroid and kidney cancer.
The National Weight Control Registry has been tracking 10,000 people since 1994 who have lost significant amounts of weight. They also have a long list of published research studies using data they have collected from participants. So what do people do that helps them lose weight and keep it off too? Lifestyle modification is key! Keeping weight off for the long term requires sustainable behavior changes. The registry has found that there are specific characteristics of people who have successfully maintained their weight loss.
Here are 4 simple habits of successful people that have been able to maintain their weight loss:
1. 78% report eating breakfast every day
Featured is our “Blink & It’s Ready Breakfast Sandwich” and blog on 7 Steps to a Better Breakfast.
2. 75% of people weigh themselves at least once a week
3. 62% are watching less than 10 hours of television per week
4. 90% say that they exercise about 1 hour per day
These are definitely not brand new ideas but according to the data, they are lifestyle changes that work for many people when incorporated into their daily routine. Starting the day out with breakfast and avoiding skipping meals helps manage hunger levels and prevents overeating later. When you weigh yourself you are able to self monitor and make adjustments to your plan. Limiting screen time allows you to be more active and regular physical activity helps your body burn calories to stay on track with weight loss.
People who are able to take control of their health and change their lives around by losing weight know that it is a journey and the struggle does not stop there. Maintaining weight loss can be even more challenging than losing the weight in the first place. There are certain foods like processed, refined grains that along with obesity are associated with increased blood sugar and insulin levels, which can ultimately lead to insulin resistance and prediabetes. When your body has too much insulin it makes it easier to store fat and harder to burn it. Through research, we also know that as people gain excess weight, their fat cells multiply and grow larger. Weight loss does not destroy those additional cells. Rather, they shrink in size, which means it is easier to regain weight and maintenance becomes a lifelong challenge.
As we roll into a new year, if losing weight is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions, then be sure you make changes that you can continue doing for the rest of your life. That is what setting sustainable behavior change goals is all about! Setting unrealistic expectations and trying extreme diets can cause setbacks and make it harder on you in the long run. Check out our blog post on tools and tips for staying motivated with your goals this year.