What happens after a weight loss intervention? A qualitative study of drivers and challenges of maintaining time-restricted eating among people with overweight at high risk of type 2 diabetes

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Time-restricted eating (TRE)1 has been conceptualised as a strategy for achieving weight loss and improving metabolic health, but limited knowledge exists about how people can maintain TRE in daily life. This study examined how TRE was maintainable in daily life after a three-month intervention (the RESET study) in which participants were encouraged to consume all food and beverages except water within a 10-h daily window. Specifically, we examined TRE maintenance patterns across participants, including drivers and challenges for maintenance success. A qualitative longitudinal study was conducted, and twenty participants with overweight at high risk of type 2 diabetes were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide at the end of the intervention and after a three-month follow-up period. Data were analysed longitudinally in two steps inspired by a pattern-oriented longitudinal analysis approach. Seven participants maintained a strict 10-h window, ten maintained an adjusted TRE regimen (e.g., taking days off), and three did not attempt maintenance. Maintenance drivers included consistent daily rhythms and regular meal patterns, subjective experiences (e.g., feeling healthier), making flexible adjustments to the TRE regimen, family support and avoiding feelings of guilt. Maintenance challenges included social evening events, inconsistent daily rhythms and eating patterns, preoccupation with losing weight, lack of family support and self-blame. TRE was manageable for most participants; however, personalised support for adjusting TRE to daily life is needed to ensure long-term maintenance. Future studies should explore the effectiveness of a personalised TRE concept to determine the usefulness of TRE in real-life settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106034
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© 2022 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Daily life, Eating behaviour, Overweight, Qualitative research, Time-restricted eating, Weight loss maintenance

ID: 304363976