Research: Support from others is the key to successful weight loss maintenance.


Support can be the difference been keeping the weight loss and gaining is all back.

Support Group
Support Group

Most of us try to lose weight in our lives. Whilst initial weight loss is achievable, maintenance of long-term weight loss or maintenance is a goal that is difficult or impossible to achieve. As a medical provider, I have seen this time and time again in my patient population. Finding a framework to achieve success for myself and my patients would be a welcome addition to my toolkit.

Many pieces of research have sought to find the solution to this age-old question including one from late 2019​[1]​. Collaborative approaches between patients, families, and healthcare professionals could help identify suitable and effective treatments. Heck, I would suspect that they might even make weight loss maintenance more achievable. This study aimed to describe the views of patients attending a National Health Service (Great Britain) weight management service with regard to the support needed to maintain weight loss after an initial weight loss intervention. The ultimate goal was to determine how this may improve weight management service.

In the study, data was collected using a questionnaire and opportunistic sampling. Twenty-five participants (17 female) were included, but only 17 participants completing the intervention. Eight participants completed a 1-to-1 intervention with a dietitian. The data were coded manually then organized into main- and sub-themes to determine the value of the support and other variables contributing to weight loss maintenance.

The researchers did have several significant findings delineated during the analysis. First, 54% of the participants identified losing weight as the main goal and 72% of patients lost weight with over 5 pounds lost on the average. Unfortunately, 16% of patients gained weight.

Support emerged as a key theme in relation to support and keeping participants on track and keeping the weight off. The face to face support method was the most positively rated. The non-face to face support methods were negatively rated. This finding was regardless of the degree of weight loss achieved.

The analysis also identified 5 main themes linked to reaching goals. These were achieving a healthy lifestyle, improving emotional well-being, intrinsic factors, extrinsic factors, and self-management skills. Weight trajectory did not influence self-efficacy, the type of intervention was unrelated to the preference of support technique and participants did not desire interaction via technological formats. This finding was regardless of age.

The bottom line: Support is key to weight loss and weight maintenance success and dieters prefer face-to-face support. This study found readily available support and such support taking place in person is a main priority. I would like to see more research that looks at the age versus the method of support. If patients have to pay for sup[port, it might change perceptions on non-face-to-face methods. More research could shed further light on these findings.


  1. [1]
    D. Price, “Support Required to Maintain Weight Loss after an Initial Intervention: A Mixed Methods Study of Patients’ Views,” OB, Sep. 2019, doi: 10.1530/obabs.01.p40. [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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