In the segment on Disinhibition, we learned about a Three Factor Eating Questionnaire. Two of the factors were Uncontrolled Eating and Emotional Eating, while the third is Cognitive Restraint.
Successful NWCR maintainers scored high on measures of Cognitive restraint. This means that before they ate something, they evaluated it using one or more parameters, such as portion size, types of food and eating less than they might be inclined to with the object of weight management in mind. In this area, it is important to note that the average maintainer response was elevated, but not extreme.
“Registry members scored high on this measure (mean of 7.1), with levels similar to those seen in patients who have recently completed a treatment program for obesity, although not as high as eating-disordered patients. These findings suggest that successful weight loss maintainers continue to act like recently successful weight losers for many years after their weight loss.”
(Wing and Phelan, 2005)
Of course it’s difficult to quantify how much concern over food is too much. Since reaching goal, it’s likely you’ve run into situations where someone might have remarked you’re too worried about food. If you have such a concern, http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ has an anonymous and simple online screening tool.
Thomas and Wing (2009) reported that NWCR maintainers eat an average of 1385 cal/day with the observation that over half of those surveyed were still trying to lose weight. Wing and Phelan (2005) elaborates that the tool used for this estimate is often 20-30% low: “Thus, registry members are probably eating closer to 1800 kcal/d. However, even with this adjustment, it is apparent that registry members maintain their weight loss by continuing to eat a low-calorie, low-fat diet.”
An upward trend in the proportion of fat in diets may indicate the popularity of low carb diets. There is not a single diet strategy that dominates NWCR maintainers, but what does predict success is sticking with a plan.