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      Motivation, self-determination, and long-term weight control

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          Abstract

          This article explores the topics of motivation and self-regulation in the context of weight management and related behaviors. We focus on the role of a qualitative approach to address motivation - not only considering the level but also type of motivation - in weight control and related behaviors. We critically discuss the operationalization of motivation in current weight control programs, present a complementary approach to understanding motivation based on self-determination theory, and review empirical findings from weight control studies that have used self-determination theory measures and assessed their association with weight outcomes. Weight loss studies which used Motivational Interviewing (MI) are also reviewed, considering MI's focus on enhancing internal motivation. We hypothesize that current weight control interventions may have been less successful with weight maintenance in part due to their relative disregard of qualitative dimensions of motivation, such as level of perceived autonomy, often resulting in a motivational disconnect between weight loss and weight-related behaviors. We suggest that if individuals fully endorse weight loss-related behavioral goals and feel not just competent but also autonomous about reaching them, as suggested by self-determination theory, their efforts are more likely to result in long-lasting behavior change.

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          Most cited references60

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          The "What" and "Why" of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior

          Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227-268
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            Who succeeds in maintaining weight loss? A conceptual review of factors associated with weight loss maintenance and weight regain.

            Weight loss is difficult to achieve and maintaining the weight loss is an even greater challenge. The identification of factors associated with weight loss maintenance can enhance our understanding for the behaviours and prerequisites that are crucial in sustaining a lowered body weight. In this paper we have reviewed the literature on factors associated with weight loss maintenance and weight regain. We have used a definition of weight maintenance implying intentional weight loss that has subsequently been maintained for at least 6 months. According to our review, successful weight maintenance is associated with more initial weight loss, reaching a self-determined goal weight, having a physically active lifestyle, a regular meal rhythm including breakfast and healthier eating, control of over-eating and self-monitoring of behaviours. Weight maintenance is further associated with an internal motivation to lose weight, social support, better coping strategies and ability to handle life stress, self-efficacy, autonomy, assuming responsibility in life, and overall more psychological strength and stability. Factors that may pose a risk for weight regain include a history of weight cycling, disinhibited eating, binge eating, more hunger, eating in response to negative emotions and stress, and more passive reactions to problems.
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              The stigma of obesity: a review and update.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act
                Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act
                The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
                BioMed Central
                1479-5868
                2012
                2 March 2012
                : 9
                : 22
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Faculty of Human Kinetics, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal
                [2 ]University Lusófona of Humanities and Technologies, Lisbon, Portugal
                [3 ]School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, UK
                Article
                1479-5868-9-22
                10.1186/1479-5868-9-22
                3312817
                22385818
                077b6b61-70f0-4daf-bf43-c6158a10c7c6
                Copyright ©2012 Teixeira et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 23 October 2010
                : 2 March 2012
                Categories
                Review

                Nutrition & Dietetics
                Nutrition & Dietetics

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