Exploring the factors associated with significant weight loss and maintenance in obese adults
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Obesity is a major public health concern in the United States with an estimated 33.3% of noninstitutionalized U.S. adults age 20 years and over being obese. The purpose of this study has been to determine how some obese adults were able to lose a significant amount of weight and maintain that weight loss over time. The sample (N = 11) included obese or previously obese adults, 18 years of age and older who intentionally lost a significant amount of body weight (10% or more) and maintained that weight loss for at least 1 year. In-depth, individual interviews were conducted with all the participants, and coding, constant comparison of the data, and memo writing were used to analyze the data. Additionally, participants were asked to take part in 2 components of the study; photo elicitation and 24-hour diet and physical activity recalls. The range of weight loss was 11.9% to 28.6% maintained for 1 to 7.5 years. Changes in dietary intake, self-regulating, self-monitoring, regular physical activity, regular self-weighing, were used for weight loss and maintenance. Social support was a facilitator for weight loss, but was not found to have an effect on weight maintenance. The most common motivation for weight loss was participant’s self-appearance, and health-related reasons were also a significant motivator for both weight loss and weight maintenance. Weight maintenance transition generally occurred when participants met their weight loss goal, felt comfortable at the weight loss they had achieved, or were unable to lose additional weight using the regimes they had developed.