Seasonal fluctuations in weight and self-weighing behavior among adults in a behavioral weight loss intervention

  • Margaret C. FaheyEmail author
  • Robert C. Klesges
  • Mehmet Kocak
  • Gerald W. Talcott
  • Rebecca A. Krukowski
Original Article



The current study aimed to observe potential seasonal fluctuations in weight and self-weighing behavior among a diverse sample of adults engaged in a behavioral weight loss intervention.


Active duty personnel (N = 248) were randomized to either a counselor-initiated or self-paced 12-month behavioral weight loss intervention promoting daily self-weighing. Body weight and self-weighing frequency were collected from electronic scales (e-scales) provided at baseline.


Overall, participants lost weight from winter to spring (p = 0.02) and gained weight from fall to winter (p < 0.001). No demographic differences in weight changes were observed. Participants self-weighed less frequently during summer compared to spring (p < 0.0001), less in fall compared to summer (p < 0.0001), and less in winter compared to fall (p < 0.0001). In multivariate models, weight change and self-weighing frequency during the previous season, as well as days since randomization and intervention intensity were associated with seasonal weight changes.


This study is the first to observe seasonal fluctuations of weight and self-weighing behavior among adults actively engaged in a weight loss intervention, consistent with research in the general population. Findings highlight the importance of acknowledging seasonal influence within weight loss programs and trials.

Level of evidence

Level I, randomized controlled trial.


Seasonal weight patterns Behavioral weight loss intervention Self-weighing 



The research represents a Collaborative Research and Development Agreement with the United States Air Force (CRADA #13-168-SG-C13001). The study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (RO1 DK097158) of the National Institutes of Health, with the title of “Dissemination of the Look Ahead Weight Management Treatment in the Military”, Robert Klesges and Rebecca Krukowski, Principal Investigators. The trial is registered on (NCT 02063178). The opinions expressed in this document are solely those of the authors and do not represent an endorsement by or the views of the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government. Finally, we would like to thank the participants and the research team for their dedication to the research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board of the 59th Medical Wing in San Antonio, Texas and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants in the currrent study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of MemphisMemphisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Preventive MedicineUniversity of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health Sciences, School of MedicineUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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