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Abstract

Objective : To assess dietary intake, eating patterns, physical activity and eating behaviors, and to explore strategies and perceptions of the experience of weight maintenance in weight loss maintainers (weight loss maintenance (WLM) ≥ 10% weight loss maintained for ≥1 year) and in matched controls with a lifetime stable normal weight. Methods : Volunteers (32) were recruited by a snowball procedure in this cross-sectional, mixed-methods study. Diet, physical activity, and eating behaviors were assessed with validated questionnaires. Strategies and experiences were investigated during interviews. Descriptive coding, thematic analysis (qualitative data) as well as descriptive analysis and t-tests (quantitative data) were performed. Results: Both groups had similar energy and macronutrient consumption. Those in the WLM group reported higher levels of exercise and scored higher on several dimensions of eating disorders. Four themes – « food choices », « quantities » and « portion control », « physical activity », and « burden » - emerged from the qualitative data. Both groups used similar weight maintenance strategies, but those in the WLM group experienced a higher burden, expressing effortful control which contrasted with the control group's confidence in their internal cues. Conclusion : Our results show an additional burden related with maintaining weight loss compared to keeping a stable normal weight. They provide evidence to devise interventions that will address the difficulty of regulating intake.

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