Testing the effectiveness of a weight loss intervention to enhance self-regulation in adults who are obese: protocol for a randomised controlled trial
Kerstin Frie, Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, Susan A Jebb, Paul Aveyard
Introduction Previous trials finding an effect of self-monitoring on weight loss have considered the effect to be mediated by self-regulatory processes. However, a qualitative think-aloud study asking people to record thoughts and feelings during weighing showed that self-regulation occurs only rarely without further instruction. The aim of this trial is to test a novel intervention guiding people through the self-regulatory processes to see whether it facilitates weight loss. Methods and analyses A parallel group, randomised controlled trial will be conducted to test the concept that a self-regulation intervention for weight loss increases weight loss compared with daily self-weighing without further support. One hundred participants with a body mass index ≥30 kg/m2 will be randomised to either the control or intervention group. The control group will be asked to weigh themselves daily for 8 weeks, the intervention group will be encouraged to follow the self-regulation intervention. They will be prompted to weigh daily, track their weight using an app, plan daily actions for weight loss and reflect on their action plans on a weekly basis. This self-regulation cycle will allow them to experiment with different weight loss strategies and identify effective and sustainable actions. Primary and process outcomes will be measured at baseline and 8 weeks’ follow-up. Linear regression analysis of the primary outcome, weight change, will assess the early effectiveness of the intervention. The process outcomes liking, perceived effectiveness, as well as usage and barriers with regard to the self-regulation intervention, will be assessed through qualitative analysis of follow-up interviews and quantitative analysis of adherence rates and responses to a final questionnaire.