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Long-term maintenance of weight loss: do people who lose weight through various weight loss methods use different behaviors to maintain their weight?


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether individuals who lost weight on their own (b=447), through organized programs (b=313) or with liquid formula (b=133) would differ in the strategies they used to maintain their weight losses.

DESIGN: All subjects were members of the National Weight Control Registry, had lost ≥13.6 kg (30 pounds), and kept it off at least one year (mean weight loss=30.1±14.9 kg and mean duration of maintenance=5.7±6.9 y).

RESULTS: Liquid Formula users differed from the other two groups on many characteristics; they were more likely to be women, older, heavier, and to have had a medical disorder prior to weight loss. To maintain their weight loss, the Liquid Formula group reported greater use of dietary strategies (for example, counting calories, limiting the amount of calories from fat) and higher dietary restraint. Liquid Formula users reported that weight maintenance was more difficult than losing weight, whereas individuals who lost weight on their own reported the reverse. The On Own group reported expending a higher percentage of calories through strenuous activities such as running and weight lifting, and reported weighing themselves more frequently to maintain weight loss. Despite these behavioral differences, all three groups are maintaining their weight losses similarly by eating a low calorie diet (5792.3 kJ/d and 25% of daily calories from fat) and engaging in high levels of physical activity (11847.3 kJ/week).

CONCLUSIONS: Despite using different methods to lose weight, individuals who lost weight on their own, through an organized program, or with a liquid formula, use similar behavioral strategies to maintain their weight loss.

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McGuire, M., Wing, R., Klem, M. et al. Long-term maintenance of weight loss: do people who lose weight through various weight loss methods use different behaviors to maintain their weight?. Int J Obes 22, 572–577 (1998).

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  • weight loss maintenance
  • obesity
  • diet
  • exercise

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