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Secrets to Successful Weight Loss

What it takes to lose weight and keep it off

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Updated March 11, 2010

If you look at the process of weight loss, it seems like the simplest thing in the world: Eat less, burn more and watch the weight melt away. Such a simple concept, right? In fact, if you believe the hype put out there by some diet books, magazines and infomercials, it may seem like fast weight loss is just one diet or gadget away...if you could just find the right one.

In that respect, some of those infomercials and books are right - fast weight loss can be just around the corner. But losing weight fast doesn't always mean it will be permanent. For long-term weight loss, the usual diets or programs seem to fall short. So, what if you decided to get off the quick-fix path and do what really works? Your next question might be: what really works? The answer to that comes from more than 4,000 people who've lost weight and kept it off for a year or more. Are you ready to find out the secrets to successful weight loss?

Behind the National Weight Control Registry

These 4,000 successful weight losers are all part of the National Weight Control Registry, a group which continually gathers information about their members to find out how people really lose weight and keep it off. The members of the NWCR are men and women who have maintained at least a 30-pound weight loss for at least one year. In general, these members:

  • Lost an average of 70 pounds and kept it off for almost 6 years
  • Tried to lose weight previously and were unsuccessful
  • Used both diet and physical activity to lose weight
  • Used a variety of different dietary and activity approaches

What you can already glean from these few facts is that, first, there is no perfect diet or exercise program. Each member found his or her own method of dieting and exercising, so that's the first not-so-secret step to losing weight: a willingness to experiment and keep trying until you find a way of eating and moving around that fits with your life.

But, even though there is no one diet or exercise program that fits everyone, there are some common habits and behaviors that all of these successful losers share.

Next

Successful Weight Loss Habit No. 1: Exercise
Successful Weight Loss Habit No. 2: Eating a Low-Calorie, Low-Fat Diet
Successful Weight Loss Habit No. 3: Self-Monitoring
Successful Weight Loss Habit No. 4: Being Consistent

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