. “I’m Still on Track”: A qualitative exploration of participant experiences of a weight loss maintenance Program.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation, 2020, 8, (1), pp. 1-16
Issue Date:
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Qualitative evidence of participants’ experiences of real-life weight loss maintenance programs is important for ongoing participant engagement and can inform program improvements. The purpose of this study was to understand how participants account for their engagement with a weight loss maintenance program and the role of the program in their weight management. A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with 17 participants of a weight loss maintenance program was conducted; common themes were identified using a thematic inductive approach. Many participant narratives incorporated recurrent descriptions of their program experiences as a weight management journey. Our analysis generated four themes: returning to real life as a threat, the personal responsibility imperative, the program supporting agency and the program supporting self-regulation. The program, which provides external support and strategies, overlapped with the context of returning to real life and the personal responsibility imperative. Participant accounts of their journey at this intersection include the program supporting both agency and self-regulation which influences ongoing weight management. The interplay between themes identified and the maintenance program services allows compatibility between participants’ sense of personal responsibility and the program components to help participants to ‘stay on track’ or ‘get back on track’. In providing sufficient structure, opportunities to revisit successful strategies, and accountability, participants are empowered to overcome real-life threats and make positive health choices.
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