How do we know that our methods are more effective than other popular approaches to weight loss?

 

The first 73 of the 75 people that have joined the New York Calorie & Exercise Logging Groups since July 2001 have lost more than 1,640 POUNDS and well over 500 additional pounds have been lost by former members and their additional alliances during that time. Successful weight losers tend to have a growing sphere of influence. Thirty members have reached normal weight so far (one was there already).

Of the 66 members who have attended these meetings more than two times, and also had less than 100 pounds to lose, the average weight loss was almost 23 pounds per person, the equivalent of more than 12% of their body weight.

 

By comparison, Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., a leading obesity researcher and professor at the University of Florida, reports that individuals who complete weight loss trials in behavior therapy groups lose on average about 9% of their body weight and regain about half of that in one year and all of it in 5 years.

 

The average TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly, the oldest not-for-profit weekly support group) member loses only about 5 pounds per year. So far, the results of our New York Calorie & Exercise Logging Group compare favorably with both behavioral weight loss programs that offer evaluated and reported results, as well as with TOPS. Apparently group support is helpful, but not sufficient to optimize weight loss. In an experiment comparing TOPS groups that used the behavioral technique of logging with those that were not required to do so, logging improved the results by about 400%.

 

Commercial weight loss programs offer grandiose promises, but conveniently do not reveal actual results. Repeat business is their stock in trade. A Canadian study by C. Gosselin and G. Cote (2001) of weight loss in women revealed that two years after participating in a commercial program only 43.6% of women maintained at least 5% of their initial weight loss. However, the New York Calorie & Exercise Logging Group, had about twice that many people maintaining at least 5% of their loss two years later. Specifically, out of the first 45 reachable logging members only 5 had not maintained at least 5% of their weight loss, and 5 of them had actually lost even more weight after leaving the group. They continued to use the successful method of logging and weighing themselves to correct for gains without letting them get out of control.

 

Successful long term weight loss results are relatively rare, but they do exist. An analysis of the National Weight Control Registry, a group of more than 3,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for more than 1 year, that was formed by researchers, R. Wing & J.O. Hill, reveals that its members eat an average of 1,400 calories per day and burn about 400 calories in exercise, the equivalent of approximately 4 miles of walking.