“The Internet” as a public service appeared when I was seventeen and since those Bygone Days of Yore, geeks of all persuasion have been filling it with the object of their OCDs and analytical fascinations. As a result, today we’re living in a chaotic nerdtopia of overly abundant data that is instantly available on almost any imaginable topic. And when you know what you are looking for, you can find some interesting trends.

Believe it or not, but there is a massive database of weight loss findings that spans nearly a quarter century and contains detailed records of more than 10,000 individuals that have lost (and kept off) at least third pounds. It is the National Weight Control Registry and you can dig into that bad boy over here: http://www.nwcr.ws

But on the off chance that you don’t have a 2-liter of Mountain Dew and a Master’s in Statistics, I’m going perform an unbridled act of dorktastic alchemy and boil a couple hundred thousand numbers down to just seven key findings. Short, simple, easy to digest. Each of these is meaningful, actionable and shouldn’t require any deep thinking:

  1. Any “diet” works, if you stick to it
  2. “Diets” focusing on low carbs work quicker, but have a higher rate of long term failure
  3. 98% of successful individuals modified their food intake and 94% of them increased their physical activity
  4. 90% of successful individuals do some form of healthy activity for 1hr per day
  5. 78% eat breakfast every day
  6. 75% weigh themselves only once a week
  7. 62% watch less than 10hr of TV per week

What is the result of hitting these metrics? The average male in the NWCR weighs 190lbs. And the average female weights 145lbs.

So, there you have it. Over 300,000lbs worth of weight loss stems from: sticking to a lifestyle of proper food intake (including breakfast) and moderate activity (especially turning off that daily Netflix binge!) If you’re looking to make positive, reasonable changes that will improve your quality of life, see above for your new plan.