The long-term National Weight Loss Registry project in the US tracks individuals who have lost at least 30 lb and kept it off for at least a year. The following characteristics have been identified in these "weight maintainers":
- 80% of persons in the registry are women and 20% are men.
- The "average" woman is 45 years of age and currently weighs 145 lbs, while the "average" man is 49 years of age and currently weighs 190 lbs.
- Registry members have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years.
- These averages, however, hide a lot of diversity:
- Weight losses have ranged from 30 to 300 lbs.
- Duration of successful weight loss has ranged from 1 year to 66 years!
- Some have lost the weight rapidly, while others have lost weight very slowly--over as many as 14 years.
We have also started to learn about how the weight loss was accomplished: 45% of registry participants lost the weight on their own and the other 55% lost weight with the help of some type of program.
- 98% of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.
- 94% increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.
There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.
- 78% eat breakfast every day.
- 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
- 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
- 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.
It is helpful to learn about how others have accomplished long-term weight loss, and use this information to inform our own behavior.