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



Kwasnicka D, Dombrowski SU, White M & Sniehotta FF (2019) ‘It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle’: a longitudinal, data-prompted interview study of weight loss maintenance. Psychology & Health, 34 (8), pp. 963-982.

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.

Applied Psychology; Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Psychology & Health: Volume 34, Issue 8

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Medical Research Council Canada, National Institute for Health Research and Wellcome Trust
Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online23/03/2019
Date accepted by journal23/01/2019
PublisherInforma UK Limited

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Dr Stephan Dombrowski
Dr Stephan Dombrowski

Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Psychology