Institut for Virksomhedsledelse

Susanne Pedersen

The complexity of self-regulating food intake in weight loss maintenance. A qualitative study among short- and long-term weight loss maintainers

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

  • Susanne Pedersen
  • Falko F. Sniethotta, Newcastle University, StorbritannienKirby Sainsbury, Newcastle University, StorbritannienElizabeth Evans, Newcastle University, StorbritannienMartha M. Marques, University College London, StorbritannienR. James Stubbs, University of Leeds, StorbritannienBerit L. Heitmann, The Research Unit for Dietary Studies at the Parker Institute, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Copenhagen, University of Southern Denmark, University of Sydney, University of Copenhagen, Danmark
  • Liisa Lähteenmäki
Whether self-regulation of food intake in weight loss maintenance (WLM) differs between being a short-term maintainer (having maintained without regaining less than 12 months) and a long-term maintainer (having maintained without regaining at least 12 months) is under-researched.

The aim of this study was to explore the self-regulatory strategies and self-efficacy beliefs applied by short- and long-term maintainers to the complex set of behaviours comprising food intake in WLM, and to obtain a better understanding of their challenges in the various food-intake processes in WLM.

Individual interviews (14 female/4 male) were conducted with nine Danish short- and nine long-term weight loss maintainers. The Health Action Process Approach (HAPA) was applied post-hoc to organise data and support analyses, since the approach focuses on both the cognitions (e.g., self-efficacy, the nature of which differs depending on the phase of behaviour change) and self-regulatory strategies (e.g., action planning and coping planning) involved in behaviour change.

Self-regulatory strategies and self-efficacy beliefs varied between the food-related behaviours and between short- and long-term maintainers. Consistent with the progression suggested by HAPA, with repeated use of action and coping planning, long-term maintainers had formed habitual routines, not only allowing them more flexibility, but also providing them stronger self-control in the behaviours related to WLM such as buying and storing food, and eating at social gatherings. The short-term maintainers often displayed a ‘weight loss mind-set.’ The short-term maintainers focused on the avoidance of certain behaviours, showed less self-regulatory flexibility, and exhibited more detailed action planning, but their interviews also inferred that they had ambitions to build strong WLM-habits, maintenance, and recovery self-efficacy.

The contribution of this study is a more comprehensive view on food intake as an outcome of a set of complex behaviours, revealing insights into the differences in cognitions and strategies applied to the task of WLM, between short- and long-term maintainers.
TidsskriftSocial Science & Medicine
Sider (fra-til)18-24
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - 2018

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