OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate available variables of a long-term weight maintenance study to investigate possible factors predisposing to weight regain after a period of weight loss. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: The Maastricht Weight Maintenance Study is an ongoing longitudinal study of healthy men and women (29 men and 62 women; 18 to 65 years of age; BMI = 30.2 +/- 3.1 kg/m(2)). A variety of parameters were measured before and after a very-low-energy diet and after a follow-up of at least 2 years. RESULTS: Mean weight loss was 7.9 +/- 3.6 kg, and percent weight regain was 113.8 +/- 98.1%. Percent BMI regain was negatively associated with an increase in dietary restraint (r = -0.47, p < 0.05). Percent weight regain was negatively correlated with baseline resting metabolic rate (r = -0.38, p = 0.01) and baseline fat mass (r = -0.24, p = 0.05) and positively correlated with the magnitude of change in body weight (BW) expressed as maximum amplitude of BW (r = 0.21, p < 0.05). In addition, amplitude of BW was positively correlated with the frequency of dieting (r = 0.57, p < 0.01). DISCUSSION: The best predictors for weight maintenance after weight loss were an increase in dietary restraint during weight loss, a high baseline resting metabolic rate, a relatively high baseline fat mass favoring a fat-free mass-sparing effect during weight loss, a rather stable BW, and a low frequency of dieting. Therefore, BW maintenance after BW loss seems to be a multifactorial issue, including mechanisms that regulate an individuals' energy expenditure, body composition, and eating behavior in such a way that energy homeostasis is maintained.