Long-Term Maintenance

Implications for Practice

From every viewpoint it is desirable for people who have successfully lost weight to maintain the pounds lost and prevent weight regain. Practitioners have an important role in emphasising the chronic nature of obesity and the importance of lifelong weight management. Therefore, it is much more helpful to talk about 'weight management programmes', which have a 'weight loss' and a 'weight maintenance' phase. Patients should be encouraged to make changes to diet and physical activity which they can sustain and, furthermore, they should be encouraged to continue to monitor their weight and waist, so that awareness of any weight regain can be tracked. Patients can be encouraged to return to the surgery for further support when this happens.

There clearly are implications for practitioners about how best to provide continued contact and support over an extended period of time. It may well be that support can be offered by different members of the multidisciplinary team at different times throughout the patient's life. It is also important to recognise the role that family, friends, peers and other agencies such as leisure services, commercial slimming clubs and home-based programmes can play in providing support.