Oh stuff it! The experience and explanation of diet failure: an exploration using interpretative phenomenological analysis

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Successful long-term weight-loss is exceptional, even with the best dietary and psychological interventions. Nomothetic accounts of diet failure focus on cognitive processes and emotional regulation. However, qualitative research suggests that successful dieters draw on wider understandings in explaining their success; this study extends this literature to address diet failure. Individual interviews with 10 self-selected UK dieters are analysed using IPA. Understandings of diet failure are explored and situated within wider cultural discourses. Five themes are identified: 'Dieting mode'; 'Multime'; 'Not me'; 'Modern life'; and 'Challenges of emotional and social eating'. Implications for weight-loss interventions are explored.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)997-1008
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009


  • Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), diet, overweight, adults, eating behaviour, qualitative methods