A motivation-focused weight loss maintenance program is an effective alternative to a skill-based approach.
OBJECTIVE: Maintaining weight loss is a major challenge in obesity treatment. Individuals often indicate that waning motivation prompts cessation of effective weight management behaviors. Therefore, a novel weight loss maintenance program that specifically targets motivational factors was evaluated. DESIGN: Overweight women (N=338; 19% African American) with urinary incontinence were randomized to lifestyle obesity treatment or control and followed for 18 months. All participants in lifestyle (N=226) received the same initial 6-month group behavioral obesity treatment and were then randomized to (1) a novel motivation-focused maintenance program (N=113) or (2) a standard skill-based maintenance approach (N=113). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Weight assessed at baseline, 6 and 18 months. RESULTS: Both treatment groups (motivation-focused and skill-based) achieved comparable 18-month weight losses (-5.48% for motivation-focused vs -5.55% in skill-based, P=0.98), and both groups lost significantly more than controls (-1.51%; P=0.0012 in motivation-focused and P=0.0021 in skill-based). CONCLUSIONS: A motivation-focused maintenance program offers an alternative, effective approach to weight maintenance expanding available evidence-based interventions beyond traditional skill-based programs.