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Weight Maintenance and Relapse in Obesity
Psychological Factors in Maintaining Lower Weight Among Obese Women
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Weight Maintenance and Relapse in Obesity

Weight Loss Study Aim
To investigate, among women with obesity who have lost weight, the psychological factors associated with successfully maintaining the new lower weight, as opposed to weight regain.

Weight Loss Study Method
Qualitative research methods (in-depth individual interviews and group interviews) were used to assess the characteristics of successful weight maintainers, as compared with weight regainers and healthy-weight women.

Weight Loss Study Subjects
In all, 76 females were recruited from the community, comprising 28 formerly obese women who had lost weight and maintained their new lower weight for at least 1 y; 28 obese women who had lost weight but regained the weight that they had lost; and 20 women with a stable weight in the healthy range.

Weight Loss Study Results
Certain psychological factors were identified which characterized the regainers but not the maintainers. These factors were: failure to achieve weight goals and dissatisfaction with the weight achieved; the tendency to evaluate self-worth in terms of weight and shape; a lack of vigilance with regard to weight control; a dichotomous (black-and-white) thinking style; and the tendency to use eating to regulate mood.

Weight Loss Study Conclusion
The results suggest that psychological factors may provide some explanation as to why many people with obesity regain weight following successful weight loss. The factors identified in this study need to be examined further using prospective designs.

Sources:
Byrne S, Cooper Z, Fairburn C. University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK.
International Journal of Obesity

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