Secrets to Lasting Weight Loss

How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off

Weight loss is one of the reasons some people start running but, as many of them discover, weight loss doesn’t happen with exercise alone. While regular exercise is important for losing weight and maintaining your weight, other healthy lifestyle factors contribute to weight loss success.

The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) tracks the behaviors of more than 6,000 people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time. Based on the success of the NWCR members, here some secrets to lasting weight loss:

Be active.

More than half (54 percent) of NWCR members expend more than 2,000 calories each week. This equals about 200 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise. If you divide that by seven days, it's less than 30 minutes of exercise a day, so it's possible to fit it in, even with a busy schedule.

More: Beat Your Excuses for Not Running

Turn off the TV.

About 63 percent of NWCR members watch television for fewer than ten hours per week. If you have some favorite shows that you can't miss, try to watch them when you're on the treadmill. (It will help prevent you from getting bored.)

Enjoy a low-calorie, low-fat diet.

The average NWCR member consumes 1,380 calories per day, and less than 30 percent of those calories come from fat.

More: Healthy Snacks for Runners

Keep your diet consistent.

Resisting the urge to splurge on holidays or weekends, NWCR members eat the same foods on a regular basis.

Eat breakfast.

Most NWCR members (78 percent) eat breakfast every day. This helps curb hunger and binging later in the day. If you exercise in the morning, you'll get a more effective (more calories burned) workout if you eat breakfast before.

Show some restraint.

NWCR members exert great control over their cravings and eating habits, and they rarely overeat.

More: How to Avoid Mindless Eating

Track your progress.

Weighing in at least once a day and tracking your food and beverages is essential. Some runners prefer to track their food and drinks in their training journal, so they have their nutrition and workouts all in one place.

Source: "Weight Control Registry Reveals Secrets to Lasting Weight Loss," American College of Sports Medicine, 3/9/11

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