Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Font Size

4 Keys to Weight Loss Success

Successful "losers" share four factors in their ability to take weight off and keep it off.
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

If you listen to a lot of the stories in the media, you might believe that losing weight and keeping it off is virtually impossible. The common wisdom is pretty discouraging. Sure, you can lose weight, but what's the point, since you'll just put it on again sooner or later? And since your body type is determined by your genes, why bother trying anyway?

Well, here's the encouraging news: Regardless of body type or genetics, all sorts of people are successfully losing weight and keeping it off. While it may take some hard work and dedication, you can as well.

The National Weight Control Registry

In 1993, we started the National Weight Control Registry as a way of studying the behaviors of people who successfully lost weight and kept it off. We wanted to see what methods these people had in common, since they could help us discover the best strategies for weight maintenance.

To enroll in the Registry, a person must have maintained at least a 30-pound weight loss for at least a year. However, on average, members of the Registry have lost 67 pounds and kept it off for six years. Those are inspiring figures.

Looking at the data, we haven't seen evidence to confirm the idea that our genes make our destiny when it comes to weight. If people really had a genetic "set point" weight as some argue, why would the average weight of Americans be getting heavier each year? While genes certainly play a role, they don't predetermine what your weight will always be. Instead, they provide a range of weights that are possible depending on your diet and amount of exercise. So you have more control over your weight than you might think.

By looking at the behavior of the 4,200 people in the Registry, we've identified four common characteristics of those who've lost weight and are now keeping it off. These suggestions don't make up a diet program. But if you're looking for ways to keep weight off, adopting these behaviors isn't a bad way to start.

Today on WebMD

measuring waist
4 tips for shedding yours.
apple cider vinegar
Does it have health benefits?
Chocolate truffle
For weight loss, some aren’t so bad after all.
woman holding red dress
24 simple, practical tips.
woman shopping fresh produce
butter curl on knife
eating out healthy
Smiling woman, red hair
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens

Special Sections