Background: Changes in several lifestyle related factors are required for successful long-term weight loss. Identification of these factors is of major importance from a public health point of view.
Methods/subjects: This study was based upon findings from the Finnish Weight Control Registry (FWCR), a web-based registry. In total, 316 people were recruited and 184 met the study inclusion criteria. The aims of this study were to assess means and typical changes in eating habits associated with successful long-term weight loss.
Results: Half of the participants (48%) reported that they lost weight slowly primarily with dietary changes. Self-weighing frequency was high, 92% was weighing themselves at least once a week during the weight loss phase, and 75% during the maintenance phase. Dietary aspects associated with successful weight loss and weight maintenance included an increase in intake of vegetables, a reduction in frequency of eating candies and fast food, regular meal frequency and application of the Plate model.
Conclusions: Both slow and fast weight loss may lead to successful long-term results and weight maintenance. A decrease in energy intake was achieved by reducing intake of energy-dense food, applying the Plate model and by regular meal frequency. Key messages Successful long-term weight loss is associated with a reduction in intake of energy-dense food. A more regular meal frequency and a high frequency of self-weighing seem to be helpful.
Keywords: Diet; eating habits; long-term weight loss; meal frequency; weighing; weight gain; weight maintenance.