Keeping Weight Off – Lessons from the National Weight Control Registry

by | Jan 30, 2018


The National Weight Control Registry (“NWCR”) was created in 1994 at Brown Medical School to track and learn from people who lost more than 30 pounds and kept the weight off more than a year. It has tracked over 6,000 participants. I was a participant in the NWCR study after losing over 40lbs in 2002.  For about ten years I annually responded to a very detailed survey about eating, exercise and lifestyle (it took about 2 hours).

It is very difficult to lose weight and it’s often harder to maintain weight loss.  Some studies have found that only about 10% of people who lose weight are able to keep from regaining the weight lost.

While  various  different strategies/diets were used by the NWCR participants to lose the weight initially, some common themes have been found among those most successful in keeping the weight off.  The common themes are:

  1. They monitor what they eat, typically through a food journal/app. They remain conscious of what they eat and their caloric intake.
  2. They regularly weigh themselves, typically at least once a week or more frequently.
  3. They engage in regular exercise with 90% reporting they engage in daily exercise or at least one hour.
  4. On average they watch less TV and are less sedentary. 62% of NWCR participants watch 10 hours or less of TV a week vs the national average of 28 hours per week.
  5. 80% eat breakfast.

The food tracking app I use:





Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe To The IFOD

Get the Interesting Fact of the Day delivered twice a week. Plus, sign up today and get Chapter 2 of John's book The Uncertainty Solution to not only Think Better, but Live Better. Don't miss a single post!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This