Participant experiences of two successful habit-based weight-loss interventions in Australia: a qualitative study

Gina Cleo, Jolyn Hersch, Rae Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
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OBJECTIVES: Habit-based weight-loss interventions have shown clinically important weight loss and weight-loss maintenance. Understanding why habit-based interventions work is therefore of great value, but there is little qualitative evidence about the experiences of participants in such programmes. We explored the perspectives of individuals who completed two habit-based weight-management programmes, Ten Top Tips and Do Something Different.

DESIGN: One-on-one, face-to-face, semistructured interviews were conducted and analysed thematically.

SETTING: Participants from the community were interviewed at Bond University, Australia.

PARTICIPANTS: Using a maximum variation design, we recruited 15 participants (eight men, seven women) aged 39-69 years (mean 53.3 years, SD 10.3) with a range of education levels (no high school to university degree) and percentage weight change on the programmes (+4.0% to -10.4%).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: (1) The general experience of participants who completed the Ten Top Tips or Do Something Different intervention, (2) whether and how the interventions affected the participants' lifestyle postintervention, and (3) participants' views regarding the acceptability and practical application of Ten Top Tips and Do Something Different.

RESULTS: Participants reported positive experiences of the two programmes, both during and after the interventions. Participants particularly enjoyed the novelty of the interventions as they shifted focus from diet and exercise, to practical everyday habit changes. They also reported indirect health benefits such as increased energy levels, increased confidence and improved self-awareness. Accountability throughout the programmes and convenience of the interventions were identified as key themes and facilitators for weight-loss success.

CONCLUSIONS: This study offers insight into how and why habit-based interventions might work. Overall, Ten Top Tips and Do Something Different are practical and convenient to implement, and are viewed favourably by participants when compared with conventional lifestyle programmes for weight control.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere020146
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018


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