Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Deborah Dunn-Frederick

Degree Award Date

Spring 2014


Motivational Factors, Lifestyle Changes, Weight Loss, Weight Loss Maintenance, obesity, interviews, inductive content analysis, shared characteristics


Medicine and Health Sciences | Preventive Medicine


Given the prevalence of obesity among American adults and the negative health effects associated with this excess weight, numerous health professionals have undertaken the challenging task of assisting their clients with the process of weight loss and maintenance. More times than not, this treatment takes the form of behavior changes related to dietary and physical activity habits, yet the success rates of weight loss maintenance are staggeringly low. Numerable previous studies have individually outlined a vast array of tactics considered to play key roles in the motivation to maintain weight loss. To better understand the real-world application of these motivational factors, semistructured interviews utilizing the same set of pilot tested questions were conducted, and an inductive content analysis was employed to discern common themes among the participants. These participants consisted of faculty and staff members of Bridgewater College who had lost at least 30 pounds and maintained that weight loss for at least 1 year. The results of this study revealed numerous shared characteristics among these successful weight loss maintainers. A better understanding of the motivational factors related to the reduction of body weight and its maintenance will provide professionals with the tools they need to implement more effective treatment programs.