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WEIGHT LOSS: A HOW-TO GUIDE

Scaled down

They'd each gained over the years -- from injury, inactivity, lousy diets -- but lost the pounds in their own ways. How six people changed their lives:

June 09, 2008|Jeannine Stein | Times Staff Writer

Most dieters gain back the weight -- and then some -- after losing it. So what's the secret of the few who have kept it off? For starters, they didn't diet. Instead, they changed how they ate -- long-term, wholesale changes, not just cutting back for a limited time and then returning to their old ways of snacking on Doritos and Haagen-Dazs. And they exercised -- consistently and in copious amounts, incorporating it into their daily routine.

The National Weight Control Registry, which tracks thousands of people who have kept off a significant amount of weight for years, has found that 98% have transformed their eating habits and that 94% got moving and stayed moving, way more than most people.

The six people profiled here, who have lost a great deal of weight and kept it off for at least three years, also keep track of their daily food intake, whether by counting calories or by keeping food journals or mental tallies, and most eat only 1,200 to 1,700 calories a day. They weigh themselves regularly. They have their own reminders, rebukes and rewards. They have support from family and friends. And they leave nothing to chance.

And all are certain they won't gain the weight back.

Here's how they lost it, and how they keep it off. Pages 9 and 10.

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