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Good Losers, Bad Losers continued...

It's that level of support that may be crucial to keeping weight off, says Leslie Bonci (pronounced BAWN-see), MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Bonci is nutrition consultant to several professional, college, and high school sports teams as well as to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre company.

"People doing Weight Watchers are keeping some ties to it. They go to meetings they are tracked better than in other programs," Bonci tells WebMD. "And with this type of eating pattern, it is not a diet in the strict sense of the word. It helps people find a certain calorie level that makes them good losers and keeps them maintaining the weight loss."

Bonci says that people who lose weight and keep it off -- whether they are on Weight Watchers or not -- have several things in common:

  • They take in 1,400 calories a day: 56% from carbs, 24% from fat, and 20% from protein
  • They eat breakfast every day
  • They eat four or more small meals over the course of the day
  • They get exercise every day

You don't have to be a Weight Watcher to keep lost weight off. But Bonci says that many people make the mistake of thinking they can go it alone. Few can. Bonci says that when people ask her for weight-loss help, she insists on a three-month commitment at the very least.

"It is going to take them that long to make the changes they need," she says. "I find that those who come in more regularly are doing the best. They may not be dropping pounds and pounds and pounds right off the bat, but they steadily lose weight and maintain that."

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