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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The meaning of weight loss for women Conrad, Danielle Lara

Abstract

The purpose of the current study was to examine the experiences of women who lost a significant amount of weight by following a safe and healthy weight loss program. Participants for the study were eight women, aged between 31 and 51. Participants selfidentified what constituted a significant amount of weight, and this varied for each participant. Research suggests that significant weight loss has an impact on an individual's body image and self-concept. The impetus for this study stemmed from the author's belief that significant weight loss is a psychological, as well as a physical process, and that some individuals could benefit from counselling and support throughout this process. The current study explored how the experience of weight loss impacted each individual's life. Participant interviews were analysed using a categorical-content, or thematic analysis of the content of participants' narratives, to uncover commonalities among participants' experiences. Results indicated that the findings could be grouped into five main areas: Conscious shift in lifestyle change, changes and shifts in relationships, the influence of social commentary, self perception with changing body size, and struggles with weight loss and disordered eating. Results offered support for various forms of counselling throughout the weight loss journey, including individual, couples, and group counselling.

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