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'Super dieters' reveal secrets for maintaining 70-pound weight loss success

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Eat less, lose weight. You know the formula. But when it comes to long-term weight loss, making the mathematics work in your favor isn't so easy. Now a new registry is tracking the habits of those who have defied the odds, called "super dieters," reported ABC News on Jan. 8.

Dr. Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Miriam Hospital, is a co-founder of the National Weight Control Registry. More than 10,000 "super dieters" are being tracked in a database via the registry.

"We've been able to study these individuals carefully and find out what strategies have been related to their success," Wing said.

On average, dieters in her registry have lost 70 pounds and maintained their success for six years.

“In order to lose weight and keep it off, you can’t just follow a trendy diet for a few weeks. That’s not gonna work. This has to be a lifestyle change a permanent lifestyle change and that’s what the registry members are able to do,” Wing told ABC News.

In addition, in an exclusive interview on Jan. 10, an expert representing the National Weight Control Registry, J. Graham Thomas, PhD, Assistant Professor (Research) at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, revealed his views on what they've learned from the database.

"Almost all NWCR members changed their diet and physical activity habits to lose weight," he said. Among their new and improved habits:

  • "Most registry members engage in physical activity that is equivalent to about an hour of brisk walking per day (walking is the most common form of exercise reported)."
  • They reduce their TV viewing to have more time for exercise.
  • Most of them eat a diet that's both low in calories and low in fat.
  • They carefully track their food intake.

Started in 1993, the registry has helped with ongoing research into the strategies used by people who have "lost a substantial amount of weight and kept it off long-term," added Thomas.

In addition, Wing told ABC News, the people in the registry follow these rules:

  • Rule No. 1. Don’t ever cheat. They never give themselves a break, not even on holidays or weekends.
  • Rule No. 2. Eat breakfast. The National Weight Control Registry shows that’s one of the most common traits of those who succeed in keeping those pounds off once and for all.
  • Rule No. 3. Get on a scale every day.
  • Rule No. 4. Put in the equivalent of a four-mile walk seven days a week.
  • Rule No. 5. Watch less than half as much TV as the overall population.
  • Rule No. 6. Eat 50 to 300 calories less than most people.
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