Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Weight loss-Psychological aspects, Obesity-Psychological aspects, Body weight-Regulation, Overweight, Obesity, Weight loss, Weight loss maintenance, Weight Management Program of San Francisco, Inc.


This study explored and described how psychological processes relate to maintaining significant weight loss. The goals for this study were to add to the weight literature the personal experiences of individuals maintaining significant weight loss and to better understand the needs of these individuals so as to develop psychological interventions that are effective in assisting with successful weight loss maintenance (WLM) and in reducing the perceived difficulty of WLM. Twelve formerly obese adults currently engaged in WLM, recruited primarily from The Weight Management Program of San Francisco, Inc., were interviewed about their perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and self-concepts as they reflected on both their past and current WLM efforts. This study confirmed previous research suggesting: (i) the importance of sustained WLM-related behaviors to successful WLM; (ii) the importance of external support to successful WLM; (iii) the importance of sustained cognitive restraint around eating to successful WLM; and (iv) the persistent difficulty of, and effort required for, long-term WLM. This study also suggested areas for future intervention and study, including: (i) education of social workers about the difficulties of WLM and the importance of providing supportive and non-judgmental therapeutic environments; (ii) creation of courses to introduce social work students to issues around weight; (iii) education of the public about the difficulty of weight loss and WLM to reduce the stigma of overweight and obesity; and (iv) further research on how individuals engaged in WLM can move from a place of struggling with WLM to a place of acceptance around WLM.




iii, 116 p. : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 97-103)