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Background: With the global rise of individuals classified as overweight and obese, weight-related screenings have been promoted to combat their high prevalence and associated health problems. Hopefully, such screenings can act as a ‘trigger’ for health behavior change, however little is known about the experience of weight loss triggers.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to elaborate on the experiences and meanings of weight-control triggers in a sample of overweight women prescribed by their physician to lose weight.
Patients and Methods: We conducted exploratory qualitative interviews, grounded in phenomenological practices, to elaborate on the experience and meaning of weight loss ‘triggers’ in a sample of overweight, female patients prescribed to lose weight by their physician.
Results: Weight-related screenings can act as a ‘trigger’ for health behavior change. Overall, we discovered five novel themes that embodied patients’ complex experiences with triggers: (1) trigger realization, (2) trigger meaning, (3) knowing what to do, (4) perceptions of self, and (5) the good, the bad, the monitoring.
Conclusions: We believe our findings advance the novel understanding of experiences with triggers. Specifically, our work sheds light on why triggers occur, and can guide how to create and manage both realized and meaningful triggers for healthy behavior change. The present results suggest that trigger realization can come from several different sources (e.g. medical, emotional, clothing, social), yet women are capable of deflecting any potential trigger experience. In addition, our findings suggest multiple facets of self-monitoring experiences can actually be counterproductive in weight control. The results provide insight for primary care, weight control counseling, and future interventions for triggered patients.


Faries, M., Espie, E., Gnagy, E., McMorries, K. (2015). Experiences With Weight Loss Triggers in Women Prescribed to Lose Weight by Their Physician. Women’s Health Bulletin, 3(1), 1-7. doi: 10.17795/whb-30166



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