Forming New Health Behavior Habits During Weight Loss Maintenance—The PREVIEW Study

Maija Huttunen-Lenz, Sylvia Hansen, Anne Raben, Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga, Ian Macdonald, Gareth Stratton, Nils Swindell, J. Alfredo Martinez, Teodora Handjieva-Darlenska, Sally D. Poppitt, Marta P. Silvestre, Mikael Fogelholm, Elli Jalo, Jennie Brand-Miller, Roslyn Muirhead, Thomas M. Larsen, Pia Siig Vestentoft, Svetoslav Handjiev, Wolfgang Schlicht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Changing lifestyle habits to achieve and maintain weight loss can be effective in prevention of Type II diabetes. Ability to resist temptations is considered one of the key factors in behavior change. This study examined how habit strength, motivation, and temptations for an energy-dense diet developed during the maintenance stage of a behavior modification intervention tool. Method: Participants with prediabetes and overweight/obesity were recruited in the two-phase trial PREVIEW with the aim to achieve ≥ 8% body weight loss over 2 months and maintain weight loss over a subsequent 34-month period. The four-stage intervention (PREVIEW Behavior Modification Intervention Toolbox, or PREMIT) supported participants in weight maintenance. Uni and multivariate analyses were completed from the beginning of the PREMIT maintenance stage (Week 26 of the PREVIEW trial) with 962 individuals who completed the trial. Results: Habit strength and ability to resist temptations increased during the early PREMIT adherence stage (Weeks 26 to 52) before plateauing during middle (Weeks 52 to 104) and late (Weeks 104 to 156) PREMIT adherence stages. Higher habit strength for energy-dense diet was significantly associated with larger weight regain (p ≤.007). No changes in motivation or interactions with PREMIT attendance were observed. Discussion: Changing diet habits is a complex, multifactorial process, with participants struggling at least with some aspects of weight maintenance. Habits against consuming energy-dense, sweet, and fatty food appeared effective in protecting against weight regain. The observed effect sizes were small, reflecting the complexity of breaking old habits and forming new ones to support long-term maintenance of weight loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549 - 558
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Diabetes type ii
  • Habits
  • Motivation
  • Temptations
  • Weight-loss maintenance


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