What are the characteristics of successful weight losers?

Kirsi Bhasin
Nutrition & Dietetics

Here are the top 5 characteristics to help you along the way to losing weight and keeping it off.

1. Set your intention

What exactly do you want? Say you weigh 160 lbs and you know your ideal weight is 140 lbs. You know you need to lose 20 lbs of body fat and you want to look toned. Being specific gives you clarity and now you know what success looks like. That means more motivation and more success to achieving your weight loss goals.

2. Be realistic

Knowing that losing weight can present challenges helps. To be successful you need to put in more effort. In fact people who have successfully lost weight have done so. They have planned in advance how to deal with problems. For example that can be knowing what to order at a restaurant or knowing what questions to ask at a restaurant to find the healthier option. They have also persisted when times got difficult. It is ok to fall back but you got to get back up again.

3. Strengthen your willpower

Willpower is like a muscle. it takes time to strengthen it. To strengthen it pick any activity that requires you to override an impulse like sitting up straight when your impulse is to slouch and add that to your daily routine. Take baby steps. Substitute that bad of chips for fruit instead of going totally junk food free. Hang in there, you can do it.

4. Stop Proscrastinating

You may know a six-pack [of beer] a day is bad for you, but will this make you stop? In a sense, procrastinators are optimists; they think they can escape by putting things off. Change is a process not an event. Weight loss involves changing habits and taking on new ones one step at a time.

Break up a task into segments. Do one a day. If for example it's grocery shopping for healthier foods and meals, plan your meals out first on one day. Then make your grocery list the next day. Pick a day to go to the store another day. And so on. You can even set a timer for yourself to reserve short periods of, like 5-15 minutes, to each broken down task.              

5. Get Support

Involve others, invoke a buddy system of people who will support you in your weight loss goals. This is one of the most important strategies. Getting support will significantly increase your chances of losing weight.



Rose Reisman
Nutrition & Dietetics
Successful dieters have certain characteristics in common:
  1. They know they're capable of changing their habits even if they "fall off the wagon." They get back up and stay motivated.
  2. Persistence and patience -- not willpower! Willpower always gives out at some point, whereas persistence and patience will ultimately take the lead.
  3. Intense desire and motivation to succeed. Learn from your mistakes and move forward. Don't stop until you've reached your goal. There's no luck involved, just perseverance, consistency and drive.
  4. A strong mental attitude, clear focus and direction. These mean eliminating all the excuses you've used for years that got you to this state. Those excuses only perpetuate the problem!
  5. Food isn't an emotional crutch. It's not easy, but once you deal head-on with the real issues in your life you'll notice that food never solved anything. It was just a temporary distraction that made you feel better at your health's expense.
Rose Reisman's Secrets for Permanent Weight Loss: With 150 Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Success

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Rose Reisman's Secrets for Permanent Weight Loss: With 150 Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Success

For the journey toward healthier living. Losing weight can be a constant and frustrating struggle. Rose Reisman's Permanent Weight Loss Solutions creates a blueprint for lifelong weight control that...

They are able to determine a healthy way of living with food.  This first begins with an understanding that food is energy.  When we take it in excessively we gain fat.  We also must become aware of our caloric needs everyday.  When we choose to eat above these needs we make sure that we spend some time, either through exercise or correct eating but usually a combination of both, paying for that excess.

The most important characteristic of successful weight losers is the self awareness and honesty when it comes to the amount and types of foods that we consume.  All fat gain is attributed to excess energy intake.  All fat loss will come from pulling from those energy stores while not replacing the supply with the food that we eat.

Awareness. When our goal is weight loss, the most powerful first step is to become aware of our current state (where we are; our starting point), followed by where want to be (our goal), and then of course our plan (so important!). And then the next critical step, which is ACTION (without it, nothing changes), working our plan.

As we move through the process, awareness helps us learn what works and what doesn't so we can make changes to our plan as required. In addition, it's staying aware that helps us to sustain/maintain once we have reached our goal.

Successful weight losers would be defined as people that lose weight and keep it off for at least 3 years. Successful weight losers/maintainers never stop paying attention to their weight or body fat changes because in today’s modern world weight loss or maintenance DOESN’T happen by accident but weight gain DOES – therefore paying attention regularly is mandatory.
 Below is a list of a few attributes of successful weight maintainers:
  • Highly motivated to lose weight generally triggered by a life-changing event whether it be emotional, such as divorce, or medical, such as diagnosed with a weight-related disease
  • Consistently record food intake until identifying proper portion sizes and the calorie content of foods becomes almost automatic
  • Eat at least 4 small meals daily and often using meal replacement bars or shakes for 1 or 2 meals
  • Exercise at least 3 days/wk with walking different speeds being the most common form
  • Weigh or measure regularly (generally once weekly)
  • Incorporate motivational devices like pedometers or other body sensing devices that capture activities and/or calorie burn
The evidence-based Sharecare MILI application under the "Coach" tab contains all your weight control tools/needs so you will have your best chance of long term success.

I would also say that successful weight losers also are aware of what they are doing.  With anything else when you the open the eyes of people and show they reality their perspective on things changes.  With weight loss people think and try to eat healthy and exercise but when they actually track or log their activity and exercise they become more aware of what they are doing at all times.

I definitely believe the awareness to right nutritional and exercise strategies versus flawed ones is definitely a very important characteristic of successful weight losers.

Kelly Traver
Internal Medicine

Successful weight loss maintainers showed that they had below given characteristics in common:

  • A high internal locus of control (that is, they were motivated by internal, not external, factors)
  • High self-efficacy (that is, they believed they could do it)
  • Better coping strategies for dealing with stress
  • Good social support

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.