Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 100–106 | Cite as

The weight loss experience: A descriptive analysis

  • Robert W. Jeffery
  • Kristina M. Kelly
  • Alexander J. Rothman
  • Nancy E. Sherwood
  • Kerri N. Boutelle


Background: Six months of loss followed by gradual regain to baseline is descriptive of most weight loss attempts.Purpose: This study sought to identify thoughts and feelings accompanying weight loss that might explain the phenomenon.Methods: Thoughts, feelings, and body weight were measured weekly for 6 months in 41 women receiving behavioral treatment for obesity.Results: Overall, the weight loss experience of these women was positive, requiring modest time and effort and being associated with more positive than negative thoughts and experiences. Over time, however, positive but not negative reactions to the weight loss experience decreased, as did the strength of beliefs that the benefits of weight loss were worth the effort. In addition, we found no relation between the women’s perception of effort and weight loss results.Conclusions: Inadequate long-term rewards for behaviors needed for weight control may be an important cause of frequent weight loss failures.


Weight Control Behavioral Medicine Weight Loss Program Weight Loss Outcome Weight Loss Experience 
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Copyright information

© The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Jeffery
    • 1
  • Kristina M. Kelly
    • 2
  • Alexander J. Rothman
    • 2
  • Nancy E. Sherwood
    • 1
  • Kerri N. Boutelle
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Epidemiology, School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolis
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCollege of Liberal Arts University of MinnesotaUSA

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