In the battle against fat, the heroes achieve what most of us only long for—lasting weight loss. They're so unusual, they've become the subjects of ongoing research by scientists trying to finger just what it is that makes them stand out from the rest of dieting humanity. The project is called the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) and was created 12 years ago by researchers at Brown University and the University of Colorado in the face of the well-known and defeating statistic: Ninety-five percent of dieters gain their weight back. Registrants—some 4,500—must have dropped at least 30 pounds and kept them off for a year or more, though the average member has lost twice that much and maintained it for about five years.
In one of the latest studies, Inga Treitler, PhD, a cultural anthropologist, and a fellow researcher intensely interviewed and observed 10 of the registrants, focusing not on what they ate or did for exercise but on how they lived—the books they read, the photos they kept, their pets, careers, friends, and hobbies—before and after the weight loss. The question, again, was basic: What had enabled them to triumph where so many others falter?Breakthrough #1 Your Mind-Set and Your ScaleBreakthrough #2 A Leap of ImaginationTool Kit for Change: 3 Weeks to Change Your Mind