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Pricewatch on Dieting

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Conor Pope tackles the subjects of diets today: a timely one, as this is the key time of the year for the diet industry, who will be hoping that we’re all looking for quick ways to shift some of that Christmas weight.  It’s a really good piece and cuts to the heart of the problem with diets: they’re unhealthy, expensive and don’t work.  There’s a lot of useful info in the article:

  • Lifestyle change (healtheir eating, more exercise) is the only thing that will bring about long-term change in your weight.
  • Diets stop working for most people after six months even if they stick to them.
  • Before embarking on any diet programme, consumers should find out the percentage of all participants who completed it, the percentage who had achieved various degrees of weight loss and the proportion of that weight loss that was maintained at one, three, and five years.

It’s really good to see a voice of reason on this topic. Dieting culture has gone bananas.  Never forget that it’s big business – the diet industry is worth over $50 billion a year in the US.  I feel it’s a feminist issue as well, as women are strongly encouraged by popular culture to have a dysfunctional relationship with food, and it starts from a really early age.   Crash diets only encourage this cycle of depriving yourself and then bingeing, and they also load every interaction with food with guilt or smugness.  All you need to know about losing weight is that you should eat healtheir and exercise more.  Now sign up to the CheapEats SuperDiet, where we tell you that advice every day and only charge you €9.99 each time!

What do you feel about diets?  Do you ever try them?

A New Decade’s Resolution: Quit Dieting (Huffington Post)


  1. I think this entry should refer to crash diets, not all diets give short term results. My comment on Conors’ article says exactly what I think; Weight Wathcers promotes healthy eating and exercise, its perfectly sensible and allows for the occasional treat. I ate what I wanted over Christmas and still lost a pound. WW was my first (and last) ever diet. I am at my goal and now and will coontinue with the habits I have learned.

  2. It does seem like Weight Watchers come out better than most dieting schemes when they’re rigorously tested, but I still think that obsessive point-counting encourages an unhealthy relationship with food. Plus their ready meals are total muck.

  3. I never eat any ready meals, they’re all muck as far as Im concerned.

  4. Here bloody here! It’s great to take good care of your health by eating well and getting enough exercise but obsessing about the calorie content of everything you eat is NOT healthy, nor does it work.

  5. I went to WW to re-educate myself on portion sizes, nutritional values and get some recipes together to start losing weight. Pur Eh tea and maple syrup diets don’t work, but sensible eating, portion control and exercise does. This has to include calorie and fat gram counting otherwise, how do you expect to lose weight? I am 5ft 8in and was neither happy nor healthy at 12st 10lbs. Eating better food and more of it, more often really helped me and WW taught me what good food is. I thought I was fine skipping breakfast, eating a kilo of grapes all day, then a home cooked dinner. The extra two stone told me otherwise. I’m not trying to sell weight watchers, in fact no one but my husband even knows I’m following the plan, but I feel strongly that this blog entry as well as Conor Popes’ article should stress that it’s crash diets that don’t work, not all diets are crash diets.

  6. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one, Claire. Information on healthy living is widely available and I don’t think people need to pay Weight Watchers to share it – particularly as they are a commercial organisation and have a vested interest in selling their service and their products. You can absolutely lose weight without calorie counting – just improve your diet and exercise more, and your weight will improve gradually (not drastically as with a crash diet, but with more lasting effect). The only benefit of something like Weight Watchers, as far as I can see, is that it helps you if you have problems with self-control. I’ve friends who’ve gone and say that they found it good for keeping them motivated.