Department of Management

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

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

  • Susanne Pedersen
  • Falko Sniethotta, Newcastle University, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
  • Kirby Sainsbury, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
  • Elizabeth Evans, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
  • Martha Marques, University College London, London, United Kingdom
  • James Stubbs, Leeds University, United Kingdom
  • Berit Heitmann, Bispebjerg Hospital, Bispebjerg, Denmark
  • Liisa Lähteenmäki
The aim of this study was to better understand whether self-regulation of food intake in WLM differs in the challenging transition from being a short-term maintainer (having maintained without regaining less than 12 months) to a long-term maintainer (having maintained without regaining more than 12 months) is under-researched. Food intake was viewed as an outcome of a complex set of food-related behaviours including planning, shopping/storing, preparing/cooking, eating and dealing with barriers. The Health Action Process Approach (HAPA) was used as a conceptual framework to help describe and understand the self-regulatory strategies related to food intake in WLM.

Individual interviews (14 female/5 male) were conducted with 9 Danish short- and 10 long-term weight loss maintainers. Initial codes were based on five themes related to food intake: planning, shopping/storing, preparing/cooking, eating, and general barriers and resources in WLM. Post-hoc coding was applied based on self-regulation strategies and self-efficacy beliefs, and thematic analysis was also applied to identify additional themes. A content analysis approach using NVivo 11 highlighted the differences between short- and long-term weight loss maintainers.

Self-regulatory strategies and self-efficacy beliefs varied between the food-related behaviours and between short- and long-term maintainers. With repeated use of action and coping planning, long-term maintainers had formed habitual routines, allowing more flexibility and improvisation 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, focusing on the avoidance of certain behaviours (e.g., buying specific foods), showed less self-regulatory flexibility, more detailed action planning, but their interviews also inferred having ambitions for building strong WLM-habits, maintenance and recovery self-efficacy.

The contribution of the study is that by applying a more holistic view on food intake as an outcome of a set of complex behaviours, insights into the difficult individual transition required from short- to long-term weight loss maintenance can be revealed. The transition process is clearly not a “one size fits all”-process, but a learning process that needs to be tailored to fit each individual’s life.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year29 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018
EventISBNPA 2018: International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity - Hong Kong, China
Duration: 3 Jun 20186 Jun 2018
Conference number: 17


ConferenceISBNPA 2018: International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity
CityHong Kong

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 119381525