A proper diet, exercise and most importantly motivation to stick to a weight loss program is crucial for successful weight loss.
Researchers from the University of Kentucky and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined motivation and its relationship to adherence and weight loss in a 16-week intervention program.
A "Treatment Self-Regulation Questionnaire" was given five separate times over the course of the study to 66 participants, which was used to identify the source of motivation for losing weight.
In addition, the volunteers recorded their food intake, exercise, and body weight weekly.
There are two types of motivation - autonomous and controlled. Autonomous motivation is the choice to make changes for personal reasons without outside influences.
Controlled motivation, or extrinsic motivation, is the feeling of pressure from others to make changes.
Thirty-seven of the 66 participants lost 5 percent of their initial body weight during the study.
Those who had autonomous motivation were most successful in adhering to the program and in sustaining the weight loss.
They were better at self-monitoring behaviours, particularly between weeks 4 and 8, when dieting motivation most typically begins to wane.
The study has been published in the May/June 2010 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.