Which are the new behavioural and psychological strategies among weight - loss maintainer?

Updated: Sep 26


Lower-calorie diet, engagement in high levels of physical activity, and frequent self-monitoring of eating, weight, or activity, are actions required to maintain and control long-term successful weight. However, weight control strategies such as keeping healthy foods in visible locations, setting daily goals, or “talking back” to negative thoughts, and regimes come with psychological and behavioural effects that don't get enough attention.


Commercial weight management plays an important role in the weight control strategies used by individuals. It is estimated that 10% to 15% of individuals seek weight loss through commercial weight management programs. These programs, encourage healthy habits in the areas of food, activity, and mind-set that have demonstrated clinically significant average long-term weight loss.


In the National Weight Control Registry, the chance of longer-term success was found to increase in participants who had kept their weight off for 2 years or more, and the most successful registry members reported that it became easier to maintain a weight loss over time.


Phelan et al. 2020 use validated questionnaires to identify novel behavioural and psychological strategies among weight-loss maintainers (WLMs) in a commercial weight management program. 4,786 weight-loss maintainers who participated in WW were older than 18 years old and had maintained a weight loss of more than 9 kg for 3 years. Whereas, the control group of 528 weight-stable individuals with obesity had a mean BMI of 38.9.


In comparison with weight-stable individuals with obesity, weight-loss maintainers reported significantly greater practice of strategies to support healthy dietary choices, self-monitoring, and psychological coping. Weight-loss maintainers with a greater weight loss physical activity from commercial weight management started to report a greater practice of strategies to support healthy dietary choices, psychological coping, self-monitoring, and physical activity.


There was also a greater habit strength for healthy eating and physical activities in weight-loss maintainers with a greater weight loss as well as in weight-loss maintainers with a longer duration of weight loss maintenance. Moreover, higher quality of life scores was related to the most frequent practice of healthy dietary choices physical activity strategies, self-monitoring, and psychological coping strategies, as well as greater habit strength for healthy eating, and physical activity.


In conclusion, weight-loss maintainers in comparison with weight-stable individuals with obesity reported more frequent engagement in healthy dietary, self-monitoring, psychological coping strategies as well as reported greater habit strength for healthy eating.

Source: Behavioral and Psychological Strategies of Long-Term Weight Loss Maintainers in a Widely Available Weight Management Program.
Phelan et al. 2020
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