A theoretical model of the concept of weight maintenance. The model was constructed based on the informants' stories and the descriptions of attitudes, behaviors and strategies important for weight maintenance. Weight maintenance was interpreted as a balancing act between different things in life that can be illustrated as a "tightrope walk". The shorter, wider and tighter the rope is, the easier it is to keep the balance, i.e. to maintain weight. The length of the rope symbolizes an individual's hereditary prerequisites for weight maintenance. The width of the rope symbolizes prerequisites in terms of the support an individual needs or can access in order to maintain weight. The tightness of the rope symbolizes the mental preparedness an individual needs or has to maintain or change weight. The actions needed to maintain weight are illustrated as four main strategies (one for each rope). Connected to each main strategy are two or three ideal types that illustrate the way and extent to which the main strategies are being used. Grey boxes in the model represent ideal types mainly using food habits in connection to the main strategy as a way to maintain weight. Black boxes represent ideal types that mainly use physical activity.
Lindvall et al. BMC Public Health 2010 10:51 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-51