Finding the recipe for nutritious and delicious living : understanding the lived experience of weight loss from morbid obesity in New Zealand women : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Critical Health Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Obesity is classed as a crisis in New Zealand and across the world. Despite obesity reduction efforts, the obesity rates and failed weight loss attempts continue to be high. Due to the limited research available on the successful obesity reduction experience, this research aimed to understand the lived experience of significant weight loss in New Zealand women from a social constructionist perspective. Using critical discourse analysis, five participants were interviewed using semistructured questions. Each participant had lost between 30 and 105 kilograms each and kept the weight off long term for over one year. Findings indicate that there are identity changes, social experience changes, and issues with disclosure of their ex-morbidly obese identity in new social contexts. Additionally, understanding their ‘why’ was demonstrated to be a significant aspect to their success at long-term significant weight loss. This research indicates that the psychological and social aspects of weight loss are more significant than the biomedical aspect of energy balancing for weight loss. These results highlight that potentially these psychological and social aspects are not addressed within mainstream weight management programmes. This research calls for evaluation of current weight management programmes to ensure comprehensive and appropriate healthcare is being provided for morbidly obese individuals. This would assist with reducing obesity rates and enable the term ‘crisis’ to be disassociated with obesity in New Zealand.
Weight loss, New Zealand, Psychological aspects, Social aspects, Overweight women, Attitudes, Morbid obesity