Postprint version. Published in International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, Volume 28, Issue 2, February 1, 2004, pages 278-281. Publisher website: http://www.nature.com. The definitive version is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1038/oby.2004.161
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Suzanne Phelan was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Objective: This pilot study assessed the short- and long-term effects of a modified cognitive behavioral treatment designed to facilitate obese patients' acceptance of a 5% to 10% reduction in initial weight.
Research Methods and Procedures: Participants were 17 women with a mean age of 46.5 ± 9.7 years and BMI of 34.7 ± 2.9 kg/m2. They participated in a 40-week program that included four phases. The first discussed the benefits of modest weight losses and the potential adverse effects of unrealistic expectations. Phase II provided instruction in traditional cognitive behavioral methods of weight control Phase III focused on methods to improve body image and self-esteem. Phase IV addressed skills for weight maintenance. Changes in weight, self-esteem, body image, and quality of life were assessed at the end of treatment and 1 year later (week 92).
Results: At week 40, participants lost an average of 5.7 ± 5.3% of initial weight, which was associated with significant improvements in body image, self-esteem, and quality of life. Improvements in psychosocial status were maintained at week 92, although mean weight loss at this time had declined to 2.9 ± 5.6% of initial weight. Increased satisfaction with body weight at week 40 was associated with significantly better maintenance of weight loss at follow-up (r = -0.70; p = 0.02).
Discussion: Having participants seek only modest initial weight losses does not appear to facilitate weight maintenance. However, increasing patients' satisfaction with their body weight at the end of treatment may help improve weight maintenance. More research is needed on the relation between satisfaction with initial weight loss and long-term success.