Do you weigh yourself? Or maybe the question is, how often do you weigh yourself? And do you find it helpful? I find many people are so confused about this. They go through periods of time when they weigh daily; it seems to help, and then it doesn’t. So maybe they stop getting on the scales, but that doesn’t help either. And so it goes on.
Information on this has been accumulating through the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a database in the United States of people who have maintained weight loss of at least 30lbs for at least one year. They register on a web site and answer a questionnaire about how they did it, and why, and what changes they made in the process.
This is now a significant collection of evidence, and a number of research papers have been published that have taken a good look at all of it and proposed some conclusions about what it is that’s working for people in the longer term. For example, taking around 3,000 people from the NWCR, it was found that 96% of them ate breakfast. (1)
This sort of information then filters down into the media, as journalists read these studies published in the medical journals and write: “Top Tips for Weight Control – Number 1: Eat Breakfast.”
Another well-researched item from the NWCR is that when a person is motivated to lose weight for medical reasons, they are more likely to succeed, both in the short and long term. (2)
This fits with my observations over the years: that improvement in health is by far the best motivation to change eating patterns. No need to despair if you don’t actually have a medical crisis at the moment! My strongest motivation around food is all about prevention. I don’t see why I’d want to wait until I developed diabetes or arthritis, for example, before I started to change what I eat every day.