Ecological Momentary Assessment of Dietary Lapses Across Behavioral Weight Loss Treatment: Characteristics, Predictors, and Relationships with Weight Change
Adherence to dietary prescriptions is critical for successful weight loss and weight loss maintenance. However, research on specific instances of inadherence (lapses) is limited, and findings regarding the frequency, nature, and causes of lapses are mixed. Additionally, no studies have examined lapses over the course of a weight loss program.
In the context of a reduced calorie diet prescribed as part of a behavioral treatment, we aimed to characterize lapse occurrence, examine lapse frequency across treatment, examine predictors of lapses, and assess the relationship between lapses and weight loss.
Adults (n = 189) enrolled in a 12-month behavioral weight loss program completed ecological momentary assessment (EMA) at baseline, mid-treatment, and end of treatment. At each EMA survey, participants indicated whether a lapse had occurred, and responded to questions assessing situational, environmental, and affective states.
Lapse frequency showed a curvilinear relationship over time, such that frequency first decreased and then increased. Lapse frequency at baseline was negatively associated with early and overall weight loss. Lapses most often occurred at home, in the evenings, on the weekends, and entailed eating a forbidden food. Greater overall levels of assessed affective and environmental triggers predicted lapses, and greater momentary hunger and deprivation, and the presence of palatable food, also prospectively predicted lapses.
In addition to characterizing lapse frequency, the current study identified prospective predictors of lapses across treatment. These findings support the importance of lapses to weight control and provide insight for potential targets of intervention to prevent lapse occurrence.
KeywordsDietary lapses Adherence Ecological momentary assessment EMA Behavioral weight loss Overweight
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