The present study investigated three dimensions of dieting (current dieting, history of dieting, weight suppression) and behaviors related to energy balance in a community sample of 999 women. The three dimensions, current dieting status, history of dieting, and weight suppression, were examined in relation to dietary intake, eating behaviors, physical activity, and weight concerns. Twenty-two percent of the women were current weight loss dieters. 8.3% were currently dieting for weight maintenance, and 69.3% were not currently dieting. Twenty-eight percent of the women were weight suppressers. Current dieting for weight loss or weight maintenance was associated with lower percent of kilocalories from fat (33% vs. 35% among nondieters), less frequent consumption of sweet foods, more frequent consumption of vegetables and fruits, more frequent self-weighing, and lower tolerance for weight gain prior to taking action (10 lb vs. 14 lb among nondieters). Current dieters and those with an extensive history of dieting self-reported a greater number of healthy and unhealthy weight loss practices during the past year, and they scored higher on measures of low-fat eating behaviors and restrained eating. Weight suppression was associated with higher physical activity levels and low fat eating behaviors. Distinguishing weight suppression from current dieting status may provide insight into the behaviors related to successful weight loss maintenance, whereas measures of dieting history might be useful in clinical contexts.
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