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Physiotherapy Research Group

Life after severe obesity

Long-term experiences of weight loss and embodied change

Our project points to severely obese individuals’ experiences of extensive weight loss and embodied change in a long-term perspective. The overall aim is to gain new systematized knowledge based on the patients’ perspective, which may support physiotherapists in treatment and follow-up of severely obese patients, aiming to improve the patients’ physical function, health, quality of life and participation in society.

Bariatric surgery (BS) is increasingly documented as effective treatment for severe obesity, providing sustainable weight loss, improved health and increased quality of life. However, a subgroup does not have a satisfactory weight loss, regains weight or experience severe complications. BS is not feasible for all severely obese who seeks treatment, and the conventional treatments (diet, exercise and cognitive approaches, pharmacotherapy) do not produce effective and lasting weight losses for the majority of severely obese individuals. Therefore, we aim to explore severely obese individuals’ long-term experiences with weight loss and embodied change, with or without BS. We explore the meanings the participants attach to their long-term experiences of weight loss, focusing on change of habits and practices, experience of own body, interactions and coping-strategies. The study design is qualitative and founded in a phenomenological lifeworld perspective. We interview (in-depth) participants who started their weight loss process at least five years ago. Analysis is based on methods inspired of phenomenology. Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of the body is central to deepen the participants’ experiences.

Project leader: Eli Natvik