Losing weight like a man: reported weight loss strategies from a men's weight loss intervention [abstract]
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Background: Men express preferences for weight loss programs that feature individualization; however, little is currently known about the specific weight loss strategies men prefer to use. The purpose of this study is to describe the weight loss strategies used by men prior to a weight loss program and changes in weight loss strategy utilization during the course of the intervention. Methods: This data comes from a randomized trial testing the efficacy of a men-only
weight loss program as compared to a waitlist control group. Participants reported the frequency with which they used 45 weight loss strategies at baseline and 3 months. The list included strategies central to program recommendations (e.g., record weight), strategies mentioned in the program (e.g., reduce high calorie beverages), and strategies not mentioned in the program (e.g., follow a structured meal plan). Participants who reported using a strategy “much of the time” or “always or almost always” were considered to regularly use that strategy. Results: At baseline participants (N=107, 44.2 years, 31.4 kg/m2, 76.6% white) reported regularly using 7.3±6.6 of the 45 strategies. The most commonly endorsed strategies were reducing fast-food, reducing sugar-sweetened beverages, and increasing lifestyle activity. The intervention group increased the number of strategies used to 19.1±8.3 at 3 months versus 7.1±6.1 for the waitlist group (p < 0.01). The intervention group reported increased use of all but one of the strategies recommended by the program (5 of 6 strategies), and increased use of one-quarter of the strategies not specifically recommended by the program (4 of 16 strategies). No change in regular use of weight loss strategies between baseline and 3 months was reported by participants in the control group. Participants in the intervention group lost more weight at 3 months compared to waitlist group participants (4.7±4.3 vs. 0.6 ±2.1 kg; p < 0.01) and this intervention effect was significantly mediated by the number of strategies used at 3 months. Conclusions: This study adds to what is known about men’s preference for and use of weight loss prior to and during a formal weight loss program. This information will help future program developers create programs that utilize strategies that appeal to and are effective for men.