Aim: The purpose of this study was to identify psychosocial determinants for maintaining weight loss.
Methods: 42 obese individuals who achieved a 12% weight loss before entering a 52-week weight maintenance program were interviewed qualitatively. Psychosocial factors related to weight loss maintenance were identified in two contrasting groups: weight reducers and weight regainers. Groups were defined by health-relevant weight maintenance (additional weight loss > 3% at week 52, n = 9 versus weight gain > 3%, at week 52, n = 20).
Results: Weight reducers reported structured meal patterns (p = 0.008), no comfort eating (p = 0.016) and less psychosocial stress (p = 0.04) compared to weight regainers. The ability to instrumentalize eating behavior emerged as an important factor (p = 0.007). Nutritional knowledge, motivation or exercise level did not differ between groups (p > 0.05).
Conclusions: Successful weight loss maintenance was associated with an interplay between behavioral, affective and contextual changes. 'Instrumentalization of eating behavior' seems to be an important element in long-term weight maintenance.
Keywords: Body weight maintenance; Interviews; Obesity; Psychosocial aspects; Qualitative research; Quantification.
© 2017 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg.