Dieting is often recommended as a means of weight loss, yet research consistently shows that self-reported dieting does not result in weight loss. Toward resolving this discrepancy, this study assessed the daily dietary intake and weight control strategies of people who self-identified as dieting. College women (N = 266) provided a report of their eating pattern (dieting, “watching what I eat,” and/or “eating healthy”) followed by three daily diaries (24-hour recalls of dietary intake and weight control strategies) elicited on randomly selected days during a one-month period. Dieters were expected to report fewer daily calories, more daily exercise, and more daily weight control strategies than non-dieters. At baseline, 122 participants (45.9%) endorsed both “watching” and “eating healthy” (“Concerned Eaters”) while 55 (20.7%) endorsed current dieting along with “watching” and “eating healthy” (“Dieters”). Just 3 (1.1%) endorsed dieting only, and 31 (11.7%) endorsed no eating pattern (“Unconcerned Eaters”). Dieters' mean BMI was in the overweight range; the mean BMIs of other groups were in the normal weight range. Dieters did not consistently endorse dieting across diaries. Nevertheless, Dieters reported fewer daily calories, and more overall weight control strategies, including more healthy weight control strategies, than Concerned Eaters. Across groups, participants’ weights did not change significantly during the study. Dieters appear to engage in weight control strategies which could result in weight loss; however, their reports of whether they are dieting vary across days, suggesting a need for more consistent behavior. These results have clinical and research implications in the area of weight loss.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 2018
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