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The Lived experience of dieting in obese adult women

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Depies, Patricia M.
Moss, Vicki
MS, Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
May 2011
Body image in women; Overweight women; Obesity in women; Self-acceptance; Weight loss
Currently, two out of every three Americans are overweight or obese. Healthcare providers frequently recommend dieting as a primary obesity intervention despite the lack of empirical evidence demonstrating its long term effectiveness (Yaskin, Toner, & Goldfarb, 2009). Few nursing researchers have explored the experiences of obese people with dieting. The purpose of this qualitative, descriptive study was to examine the attitudes of obese women toward dieting, their experiences with dieting, and what they felt would assist them in improving their health and wellness. The theoretical framework for this study was based on the Neuman Systems Model (Neuman & Fawcett, 2002). Participants were recruited from a patient population who sought healthcare services from a bariatric clinic in the Midwest. Informed consent and a demographic questionnaire were completed prior to each interview. Interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. The following questions were asked; 1) What has been your experience with dieting? 2) What did you feel were positive aspects of the dieting programs? 3) What did you perceive to be barriers to long term weight loss maintenance with the dieting programs? 4) What would be helpful to you now in dealing with your obesity? Data analysis incorporated Spiegelberg's (1965) three-step process of 1) intuiting, 2) analyzing, and 3) describing. Colaizzi's (1978) method of analysis was used to develop an exhaustive description of the phenomenon of dieting experiences of adult women. The following themes emerged after data analysis: (a)If at first you don't succeed, try,try, and fail again; (b) Recognizing the problem is easy; finding a solution is difficult; (c) The great dieting barriers: stress and emotion; and (d) Exercise is a four letter word. The primary implications for advanced nursing practice included the importance of treating the obese woman with a holistic approach, as well as development of an individualized plan of care to assist her in achieving increased health and wellness. Understanding the limitations of dieting for many obese patients reinforces the need for practitioners to explore alternative interventions for future obesity management.
A Clinical Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
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