I’m fascinated with weight loss for entrepreneurs because let’s be honest, it’s hard for many of us to stay slim. We sit on our duff most of the day pecking away at the computer. But, I found this great article that is based on research and not personal bias and emotion.

Because one of my pet peeves is when every nutritionist and health expert confidently explains how to REALLY lose weight… i.e. THEIR way (and only their way.) They denounce all other possible weight loss options and get righteous that their way is the only way.

There’s so much emotional charge around this topic of weight loss for entrepreneurs that I was glad to come across an organization that actually did hard science on the subject. Because just like in business when you’re looking to launch a new product or service, if you have research and data to back up your ideas, you’re chances of succeeding are vastly improved.

And this applies to losing weight and keeping it off.

The National Weight Control Registry is a database of about 4,000 people who maintained at least a 30 pound weight loss for at least one year.

Here’s what the NWCR says about maintaining weight loss:

What do we currently know about maintaining weight loss? Most of what we know comes from university-based weight loss programs; with some exceptions, commercial programs neither collect nor publish data showing the results achieved by clients. Consequently, we generally know little about the way real-world people maintain their weight loss. Much of what we know has been learned from people who lose but then regain weight–ie, those who have failed at weight loss maintenance.

If successful weight loss is defined as intentionally losing 10% of initial body weight and not regaining it, we can say that 20% of overweight and obese people in the United States have lost weight successfully. But a 20% success rate still isn’t very good; therefore, whatever criteria for success are used, we must accept one major truth: To ensure that our ability to manage obesity reaches the necessary level of effectiveness, we must improve our methods.

The Top 4 Success Findings (Based on research, not emotion or bias!)

I find these results reassuring:

  • 90% of them say they exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day
  • 78% eat breakfast every day
  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week
  • 62% watch fewer than 10 hours of TV per week

Weight Loss for Entrepreneurs Tip #1: More physical activity than you might think

Only 9% of registry participants reported keeping their weight off without engaging in physical activity. Substantial weight loss can be maintained with diet alone but occurred rarely in this group. Walking appeared to be the most popular form of physical activity, but most people also engaged in some planned exercise. Twenty-eight percent of participants used only walking as their chosen form of physical activity, and about half combined walking with another form of planned exercise (eg, aerobics classes, biking, or swimming). To quantify the walking done by this population, we placed pedometers on a sample of registry participants and found that, on average, they took between 11,000 and 12,000 steps per day–about 5.5 to 6 miles per day. Thus, these people exceeded by far the minimum physical activity recommended by the US Surgeon General.

 Weight Loss for Entrepreneurs Tip #2: Monitor your weight

A third characteristic relates to a controversial issue: Participants reported that they self-monitor their weight regularly. Many people recommend against relying on the scale to achieve weight loss, but we found that registry participants weighed themselves frequently: 75% of participants weighed themselves at least once per week, and many weighed themselves daily. Frequent weighing may therefore serve as an “early warning system” for these people. I suspect that when they have gained a few pounds, they implement strategies to prevent further weight gain. Although this possibility represents speculation, many participants told us that they have a plan for what to do if the scale reaches a certain number. Other studies have found that self-monitoring predicts success in long-term maintenance of weight loss.

Weight Loss for Entrepreneurs Tip #3: Eat Breakfast

The second characteristic common to these subjects was that they tended to eat breakfast regularly. This finding did not surprise us, but we were surprised that most registry participants ate breakfast every day without exception. Starting the day with breakfast may therefore be even more important for weight maintenance than previously thought.

 Quality of Life

To summarize, almost all patients who successfully maintained long-term weight loss used both diet and physical activity to lose weight. These people also shared strategies for maintaining the weight loss: eating a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet; eating breakfast almost every day; weighing themselves frequently; and engaging in 60 to 90 minutes per day of moderate-intensity physical activity. Although we do not know for certain, we think that this behavior probably led to their success in keeping weight off. These characteristics could be effectively used as components of programs for helping overweight and obese people to achieve and maintain weight loss.

You can read the whole article from The National Weight Control Registry here: http://xnet.kp.org/permanentejournal/sum03/registry.html

What have you found to work? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

Share your thoughts on using research and facts to guide you not only for weight loss, but business and marketing. I see such a parallel in how to approach the subjects. What do you think?