Objective: The present study examined whether long-term weight loss maintenance is enhanced by maintaining the same diet regimen across the week and year or by dieting more strictly on weekdays and nonholiday periods than at other times.
Method: National Weight Control Registry participants (N=1429) indicated on an eight-point scale whether they dieted more strictly on weekends than weekdays, adhered to the same diet regimen throughout the week, or dieted more strictly on weekdays. Participants responded to a similar question about holiday and vacation eating. Participants were then followed prospectively to determine whether scores on these questions were related to self-reported weight regain over the subsequent 12 months.
Results: There was a linear relationship between scores on the dieting consistency questions and weight change over the 1-y period (P's <0.01), with smaller weight gains in those who reported more consistency. Participants who reported a consistent diet across the week were 1.5 times more likely to maintain their weight within 5 pounds over the subsequent year (OR=1.58, 95% CI: 1.2-2.2) than participants who dieted more strictly on weekdays. A similar relationship emerged between dieting consistency across the year and subsequent weight regain.
Conclusion: Dieting consistency appears to be a behavioral strategy that predicts subsequent long-term weight loss maintenance.