Research Article| Volume 52, ISSUE 4, P369-376, April 2020

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Self-Weighing and Visual Feedback Facilitates Self-Directed Learning in Adults Who Are Overweight and Obese

Published:September 25, 2019DOI:



      Understanding how and why self-weighing works for some individuals but not others in weight management is vital. This study investigated how self-weighing and tracking of weight using a Web site facilitated a self-directed learning process in overweight or obese adults interested in losing weight.


      Semistructured interviews with study completers (n = 47) and voluntary withdrawals (n = 10) about their experience after 6 and 12 months of using the program or when they withdrew.


      Qualitative, guided by self-directed learning theory.


      Although both completers and those who withdrew engaged in self-directed learning, often exemplifying the same concepts (eg, instrumental learning), experiences described a positive sense of control over weight in completers and a lack of sense of control in those who withdrew.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Overall, it seemed that frequent self-weighing and visual feedback of body weight over time facilitated a self-directed learning process in both completers and those who withdrew. This research provides a rich understanding of how adults use self-weighing to facilitate self-directed learning for weight loss. Future studies assessing how self-weighing and visual displays of weight facilitate a self-directed learning process in diverse populations and age groups are necessary to better understand how self-weighing works and for whom self-weighing is beneficial.

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