Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Success on a large scale

Americans have a reputation as highly independent souls who like to do things their own way. It’s a notion that is certainly borne out in the realm of weight loss.

In 1994, two well-respected researchers founded the National Weight Control Registry to track people who have lost weight. Dr. James O. Hill, a noted obesity expert, and Dr. Rena R. Wing, a professor of psychiatry, wanted to find out how people lose weight. But even more so, they wanted to know how people keep it off.

To date, about 6,000 people have logged their weight loss stories into the database. To qualify, a person must be at least 18 years old, have lost at least 30 pounds and have kept it off for one year or more. Participants have reported losing up to 300 pounds and keeping it off for as long as 66 years.

Almost half of the registry members—45 percent—designed and followed their own weight loss program. I'm not surprised by this at all. In looking for people to interview, it was far easier to find people who went solo. When I asked why someone would go it alone, more than once I heard, “I’m just not a joiner.”

While people in the NWCR study may have struck out on their own, their avenues to success have been pretty much the same. Ninety-eight percent of participants modified their eating habits, and most people report eating a low-calorie, low-fat diet in order to maintain their weight loss. Similarly, 94 percent of people said they increased their level of physical activity, mostly walking. On average, people report exercising one hour a day. And where do they find the time, you might ask? Sixty-two percent report watching fewer than 10 hours of television a week.

So... I'm ready to post my success. I've lost the 30 pounds and kept it off for a little over a year. How about you... will you join me?!


  1. I hope to join you someday! :)

    I can't help but wonder if the people doing it solo are making real, life changing experiences versus the people that join programs? Maybe when you join the program it's the program that's keeping you in line, but you really haven't changed how you think about food??

    hhmm.... I know I'm having more success learning what works best for me on my own this time also.

    Will you be able to post a link to your story on that site?

  2. There are a few success stories on the site, but they choose them. I've logged in my stats. They write a lot of papers based on the findings of the registry, and you get to participate in any surveys they send out. It would be great if they did allow people to post photos and stories.

    I know that doing it my way made it stick for me. It's mostly b/c I have a suspicious nature... I always feel I'm being manipulated by people! I hate buying cars and appliances, mattresses and the like. I would feel the same way about weight loss programs, I think. But they are helpful in that they show you how to get going and can help you make decisions when you feel least able.