May 7, 2011

Incremental, self-selected, and contextualized small changes

The research below describes an effective weight loss program which is based on a principle which sound very solution-focused: using incremental, self-selected and contextualized small changes.

Weight loss is coupled with improvements to affective state in obese participants engaged in behavior change therapy based on incremental, self-selected “Small Changes”
by Jenny Paxman et al. (2011)
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a group behavior change intervention involving self-selected, contextualized, and mediated goal setting on anthropometric, affective, and dietary markers of health. It was hypothesized that the intervention would elicit changes consistent with accepted health recommendations for obese individuals. A rolling program of 12-week “Small Changes” interventions during 24 months recruited 71 participants; each program accommodated 10 to 13 adults (body mass index [BMI] ≥30 kg/m2). Fifty-eight participants completed Small Changes.
Repeated measures were made at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks. Anthropometric measures included height and weight (to calculate BMI), body composition, waist circumference, and blood pressure. Affective state was monitored using relevant validated questionnaires. Dietary assessment used 3-day household measures food diaries with Schofield equations to monitor underreporting. Relevant blood measures were recorded throughout. Across the measurement period, Small Changes elicited a significant reduction in body weight (baseline, 102.95 ± 15.47 vs 12 weeks 100.09 ± 16.01 kg, P < .0005), coupled with associated significant improvements in BMI, body fat percentage, and waist circumference measures. There were additional significant positive changes in measures of affective state including general well-being (baseline, 58.92 ± 21.22 vs 12 weeks 78.04 ± 14.60, P < .0005) and total mood disturbance (baseline, 31.19 ± 34.03 vs 12 weeks 2.67 ± 24.96, P < .0005). Dietary changes that occurred were largely consistent with evidenced-based recommendations for weight management and included significant reductions in total energy intake and in fat and saturated fat as a proportion of energy. The Small Changes approach can elicit a range of health-orientated benefits for obese participants, and although further work is needed to ascertain the longevity of such effects, the outcomes from Small Changes are likely to help inform health professionals when framing the future of weight management. Long-term follow-up of Small Changes is warranted.

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