Exercise is one of the common ways to shed those extra pounds. While intense exercise works for some, for others, it just doesn’t. Seeing no progress in their weight loss efforts, people simply give up. And instead of losing weight, they’re gaining more. This prompted researchers to seek for the most effective weight loss ways that can help people stay on track even without following strict exercise routines.
If you’re still hopeful, the National Weight Control Registry might inspire you to try once more. This database followed more than 10,000 adult members who shared their progress by answering questionnaires every year. The majority of the participants are between the ages of 44 to 49 and had been overweight earlier in their lives. What’s more interesting is that almost 50 percent of the participants’ parents were overweight, which makes weight loss even more challenging. Thanks to their genes.
If obesity doesn’t run in your family, you have a bigger chance of losing weight by following what these participants have done. And, take note, doing it on your own is never an excuse not to see positive results. Almost half of the participants are doing their thing on their own. Isolation doesn’t matter then. The habits they follow in a course of 12 months included the following:
1. Staying away from high-fat content foods
The participants’ diet consists mainly of low-fat foods. Experts suggest losing weight in a gradual manner to avoid binge eating and other physiological factors happening inside your body that can affect your weight loss success. Losing one pound per week is the best recommendation. High-fat foods are dense and naturally tempting, which leads you to eat more and in larger proportions.
The participants maintained their healthy diet despite the amount of excess weight they lose. Unlike other crash dieters, the participants know that eating healthy from day one onwards is one secret to sustain weight loss long term.
2. Eating regular small meals four to five times a day
People used to believe that skipping meals can aid in their weight loss regimen. While others attested to its efficacy, this method doesn’t guarantee long term weight loss. This is effective only for short term weight loss goals. Say, you want to look leaner for the summer and you have only barely a month to do it. Consuming less food might work. But since your body is a complex mechanism, it can backfire and lead you to binge eating right after summer.
This always happens to people whose weight loss goals are more external than internal. But if you’re planning to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight range, a regular eating pattern can work wonders. This takes more discipline since it requires you to total self-control when presented with a variety of food before you. But the rewards would be great when you’re able to consistently follow a healthy eating pattern, just like the participants in the NWCR.
3. Not skipping breakfast
Another myth that sabotage your weight loss goals is skipping breakfast. Your body has already gone through more than eight hours of fasting while you sleep. It’s only reasonable for you to feed it healthy food upon waking up. Or else, you’re in for a sugar crash.
Participants at the NWCR never skipped breakfast. They don’t feel the need for it because their diet comprises healthy food. There’s a lot of options for a healthy breakfast when you’re on a diet. These include eggs and smoothies with chia seeds, berries, nuts, oatmeal, and other healthy fruits and veggies to your liking.
4. Exercising regularly
I know. You don’t want to hit the gym once more. Yes, you don’t have to. Experts say you need physical activity to lose weight successfully. But they didn’t say you have to do it intensely one to two hours per session.
Cardio exercises like walking, swimming or running, for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day are enough to give you success in weight loss. Once you achieve the desired weight, you can maintain it by getting physical at least 60 to 90 minutes a day.
This isn’t hard work at all. You can do this by walking while taking calls, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to work or gardening. The options are limitless as long as you keep your body moving.
5. Decreasing TV viewing time
Watching TV makes you sedentary. When you’re too hooked up, you’d be sitting for hours or even a day in front of the screen. About 62 percent of the participants reported watching TV 10 or fewer hours a week, which shows their lifestyle isn’t sedentary at all.
Being sedentary has been linked to a variety of major illnesses and disabilities. In fact, it doubles the risk of developing all causes of mortality.
6. Tracking weight loss progress
Checking the scales regularly is one of the strategies that worked for the participants. This helps them stay on track and exercise accountability. Monitoring progress gives you a bigger view of where do you come from to where you’re heading and allows you to see how far you’ve come. The more you see movement, the more you’re inspired to show up the next day.
Now, some fitness gurus might tell you the scales can work the other way. Instead of helping you move forward, it can get you stuck. And that losing weight without the scales is much better. But it worked for others, didn’t it? You might as well try it for yourself and see how it works. You can check the scales daily, weekly or twice a week, whichever supports your weight loss goals.
7. Using corrective techniques when regaining weight
Regaining weight is a normal part of the weight loss journey. It doesn’t signify failure. It just means something is a little bit off. Perhaps you’re eating more calories or skipping on exercise. You should know where the weight regain comes from to easily find the best method to lose it again.
You can either eat less or exercise more. This is what the registrants did when they regain the weight. Because they constantly weigh themselves, they’re able to take corrective actions before the weight becomes unmanageable.
By seeing how weight loss successfully worked for NWCR participants, we discover two obvious things: diet and physical activity. You can’t do one without the other. So, if you want to lose weight more successfully, you should start by eating less and moving more. The strategies are simple. You only need to be consistent. Besides, intense workout is not an option.