Psychosocial Predictors of Decay in Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Improvements in Obese Women Regaining Lost Weight: Translation of Behavioral Theory into Treatment Suggestions

James J. Annesi, Kennesaw State University


Regain of lost weight is a universal problem for behavioral treatments. An increased understanding of theory-based psychosocial predictors of decay in behavioral correlates of weight loss might improve treatments. Data were derived from a previous weight loss investigation of 110 women with obesity. A subsample from the experimental treatment who lost ≥3 % body weight and regained at least one third of that over 24 months (N = 36) was assessed. During months 6 through 24, there were unfavorable changes in behavioral (fruit/vegetable and sweet intake; physical activity) and psychosocial variables. Mood change predicted change in fruit/vegetable and sweet intake, with emotional eating change mediating the latter relationship. Change in self-regulation predicted changes in sweet and fruit/vegetable intake and physical activity, with self-efficacy mediating the self-regulation–fruit/vegetable intake and self-regulation–physical activity relationships. Findings suggest that after treatment-induced weight loss, addressing indicated theory-based psychosocial variables might mitigate decay in behavioral predictors of healthier weight.