Step 8: A Successful Future
Keeping it OffThe National Weight Control Registry tracks thousands of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least one year. The researchers at the registry study the habits and choices of these successful life-changers to gather information that may help others who want to lose weight. The registry subjects are diverse: men and women who have lost from 30 to 300 pounds and kept it off from 1 to 66 years. But the majority of them have a few things in common, too:
- 78% eat breakfast every day.
- 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
- 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
- 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.
No Longer HookedRecovery from addiction to nicotine, alcohol or illicit drugs is tough, and backsliding is common. In addition to breaking a physical addiction, which often requires medical intervention, addicts must successfully change many of the behaviors that make up their daily routine, break ties with people who aided their addiction and make new friends. In a Connecticut study of recovering addicts who had been abstinent for an extended time (a median span of 12 years), researchers sought the common experiences that helped former addicts succeed. Subjects were given this task:
Describe the most significant experience(s) that helped you start and maintain your recovery. Here is how they responded:
- 46% said the escalating consequences of substance use.
- 30% mentioned support of peers/family/friends.
- 26% joined 12-step fellowships (Alcoholics Anonymous/NarcAnon).
- 22% had a substance-related accident, arrest or other legal trouble
- 22% said treatment or professionals
- 16% surrendered, wanted to move forward, recover
- 10% experienced the birth of child, wanted to be responsible parent
- 10% cited spirituality, a higher power
Here's What Works
- Know WHAT your current health status is.
- Know WHY you want to change your life.
- Know WHICH aspects of your life you want to change first.
- Know WHAT might go wrong along the way.
- Make small, gradual changes.
- Write things down.
- Find a supportive community.
- Celebrate your successes.
- Remain committed through setbacks.
- Be prepared to maintain your new lifestyle for the long haul.