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‘It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle’: a longitudinal, data-prompted interview study of weight loss maintenance

Lookup NU author(s): Dominika Kwaśnicka, Dr Stephan Dombrowski, Professor Martin White, Professor Falko Sniehotta


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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Objective: To advance understanding of the individual and environmental factors underpinning weight loss maintenance. Design: Semi-structured, data-prompted interviews were conducted with twelve overweight adult participants (three men, nine women) who had lost over 5% of their body weight in the year before baseline. Participants gathered daily data through wireless scales, activity monitors (Fitbit™), ecological momentary assessment and experience sampling (taking photographs, writing notes). They were interviewed at 3- and 6-months post baseline. Interview stimuli included personal data of weight and activity graphs, correlations of psychological factors, and self-generated notes and photographs. Interview data were analysed using the Framework Method, applying pre-specified maintenance-relevant theoretical themes. Results: The theoretical Framework provided a good fit for the narratives, with five main themes underpinning successful weight loss maintenance: sustained motivation, effective self-regulation, plentiful resources, habit formation and a supportive environment. Additionally, participants reported an identity shift from being a dieter to accepting a new healthy lifestyle. Goal prioritising and allowing for occasional controlled lapses enhanced weight loss maintenance. Conclusions: This study successfully used the novel method of data-prompted interviews to explore weight loss maintenance experiences with new explanations emerging from the data. Future research should further develop behaviour change maintenance theory and data-prompted interview method.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kwasnicka D, Dombrowski SU, White M, Sniehotta FF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychology and Health

Year: 2019

Volume: 34

Issue: 8

Pages: 963-982

Online publication date: 23/03/2019

Acceptance date: 23/01/2019

ISSN (print): 0887-0446

ISSN (electronic): 1476-8321

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/08870446.2019.1579913


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