Long-Term Maintenance

Weight maintenance strategies

A number of different strategies specifically designed to achieve weight maintenance have been evaluated. These include:


  • Extended treatment
  • Relapse prevention training
  • Monetary incentives
  • Telephone prompts
  • Peer support
  • Exercise/physical activity
  • Post-treatment programmes

All of the above approaches may have some merit, either when used alone or in combination. However, extended support, along with continued changes to diet and physical activity, is emerging as being most significant.2

The Health Development Agency’s review of strategies for weight treatment and maintenance found evidence to support:3

  • Continued therapist contact when combined with behavioural therapy and relapse prevention training
  • Continued therapist contact by mail and telephone

Data from The National Weight Control Registry in the USA provides information on 3,000 subjects, who have lost weight successfully and maintained that weight loss for one year or more. The average participant kept the weight off for 5.5 years and 16% kept it off for ten years. It is interesting to note that only 1% eat a low carbohydrate diet, 75% weigh themselves at least weekly, 78% eat breakfast every day (only 4% did not eat breakfast at all) and 91% report engaging in regular physical activity.4 As already stated, there appears to be no single formula for success, but these findings are consistent with other studies on weight maintenance.