Home > Facts > Dietwatch  


Highlight any text in the article to look up more information!

Dietwatch

Definition

Dietwatch is an online weight loss program that focuses on helping dieters lose weight at a moderate, healthy pace through healthy eating, regular exercise, and motivational support.

Origins

Dietwatch was launched in 1999. It is an online only program, and can be found at <http://www.dietwatch.com> In December 2000, Dietwatch acquired cyberdiet.com, which greatly expanded its operations. Since its launch, more than a million people have visited the Web site. Dietwatch has won a number of awards for excellence in Internet content, including a Best of the Web Award from Forbes Magazine. It is operated by DietWatch.com, Inc., which is headquartered in East Rockaway, New York.

The nutritional aspects of Dietwatch are headed by Jennifer May, the Manager of Nutritional Services. She is a registered dietician who holds both a Masters degree in Nutrition Science and a Masters degree in Exercise Physiology, both from Indiana University. The Mastering Eating program was developed by Dr. Roger Gould. Dr. Gould has published a variety of scholarly articles and was the head of the University of California, Los Angeles outpatient and community psychiatry department.

KEY TERMS

Dietary supplement—a product, such as a vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid, or enzyme, that is intended to be consumed in addition to an individual’s diet with the expectation that it will improve health.

Mineral—An inorganic substance found in the earth that is necessary in small quantities for the body to maintain a health. Examples: zinc, copper, iron.

Vitamin—A nutrient that the body needs in small amounts to remain healthy but that the body cannot manufacture for itself and must acquire through diet.

Description

Dietwatch is an online program designed to support and guide dieters to healthy, maintainable weight loss. It provides advice from fitness and nutrition experts, meal plans, and tips and motivation, as well as an online community where dieters can help each other through dieting’s rough patches.

There are four options for meal plans provided by Dietwatch. It offers a “no restrictions” plan that is simply a reduced calorie, well balanced diet. Dietwatch says that this is the plan for dieters who do not have any specific concerns or preferences, as it includes a variety of types and styles of food. Another available plan is the “reduced carbs plan,” which limits carbohydrates to 40% of a dieters total caloric intake each day. This is not a low carbohydrate plan but a limited carbohydrate plan. Unlike popular low carb diets such as Atkins, it does not restrict carbohydrates to just a few grams each day.

Another diet option is the “heart healthy-Mediterranean plan,” which limits saturated and trans fats while including a high level of unsaturated fats. The style of the food and diet is Mediterranean and combines many flavors and food groups. The last meal plan alternative is the “vegetarian plan,” which is a plan specially designed to meet the protein and other needs of vegetarians who are on a diet. The plan does include eggs and milk products, but no chicken, fish, or meat.

Customers can personalize the meal plans offered by Dietwatch by switching meals or ingredients to meet individual preferences. The program also offers shopping lists that are customized to the dieter’s meal plan. This makes the meal plan easier to fit into a busy schedule.

In addition to meal plans, Dietwatch offers exercise and fitness plans and advice that the dieter can use to help customize a fitness plan to meet individual needs. There are a variety or strength training, aerobic, relaxation, and other suggested workouts available.

Motivation and emotional health are important aspects of Dietwatch. There are motivational tips from nutritionists and other experts, as well as discussion boards where dieters share frustrations, achievements, and tips. Dieters can search based on age, sex, weight, or other characteristics to find dieters to partner with for more one-on-one motivation and help.

Behavior understanding and modification is an important aspect of the Dietwatch program. Dr. Roger Gould developed a program called Mastering Food that is available to Dietwatch members. It is a 12-week program designed to help dieters overcome negative eating habits. Its goal is to help dieters discover why they eat when they are not hungry and help them find ways to deal with the problems underlying their eating behaviors. Overcoming emotional eating problems can help dieters be more successful in sticking to their diets and allow for more productive, successful weight loss.

Dietwatch also offers a variety of tools that can be used at the dieter’s discretion. A food journal lets dieters track everything that they eat each day. The tracker can tally calories, fat grams, and other information to help dieters ensure that they are getting all the nutrients they need. Also available is a tool for tracking a dieter’s daily calorie balance. This tool combines information about activity level and exercise with information about food eaten during the day to come up with the total calorie balance. This way dieters can check to see that they are burning more calories than they are taking in and if they are on track for their desired weight loss.

There is a wealth of information available on Dietwatch for dieters who are interested in learning more about health and nutrition. There is information about different nutrients and how they work in the body and explanations about why certain nutrients are required for good health. Also available is nutritional information for many foods, including information about a number of different restaurants. There is also general information about good eating and maintain a healthy approach to food.

Benefits

There are many benefits to losing weight if it is done at a moderate pace through healthy eating and increased exercise. Obesity is a risk factor for many diseases and conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. People who are the most obese are generally at the greatest risk and are likely to have more severe symptoms if these diseases develop. Losing weight can reduce the risk of these and other obesity-related diseases, and in some cases it can help reduce the severity of symptoms if the diseases have already occurred.

The Dietwatch program is designed to provide dieters with support for all the phases and processes of weight loss. Many dieters may find having all this support and information available in one place to be very helpful. The nutritional information may help dieters make more informed eating decisions, especially when eating out. The inclusion of a vegetarian meal planning option makes this diet available for vegetarian dieters who may be underserved by other diets offering meal plans.

One of the main aspects of the Dietwatch program is motivation. This comes in many forms including helpful and motivational tips from nutritionists and other dieters. Many dieters may find that the opportunity to find a dieting buddy that shares their same goals and challenges provides support that is more personal and effective than is usually available in commercial diet programs. Many dieters may also appreciate the opportunity to ask dieticians and other health professionals specific questions instead of relying on general information.

Precautions

Anyone thinking of beginning a new diet should consult a doctor or other medical professional. Individuals have different requirements for calories, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Talking to a doctor can help dieters insure that a new diet is the right diet to meet all their personal needs and that weight loss can be achieved without sacrificing good health. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be especially cautious when beginning a new.

QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR

  • Is this diet the best diet to meet my goals?
  • Would a multivitamin or other dietary supplement be appropriate for me if I were to begin this diet?
  • Do I have any special nutritional needs that this diet might not meet?
  • At what level of intensity is it appropriate for me to begin exercising?
  • Does diet or exercise pose any special risk for me that I should be aware of?
  • Is this diet appropriate for my entire family?
  • Is it safe for me to follow this diet over a long period of time?
  • Are there any sign or symptoms that might indicate a problem while on this diet?

diet because what a mother eats can have a significant impact on a baby.

Risks

There are some risks to any diet. Eating a limited diet can make it difficult for a dieter to get all of the vitamins and minerals required for good health. Generally, when following a good diet that contains many different fruits and vegetables this risk is not too significant, but dieters may want to consult a doctor about taking a multivitamin or dietary supplement to help reduce the risk of deficiency.

When beginning a new exercise routine, it is important that dieters begin with light or moderate exercise and slowly increase the intensity of the activity over weeks or months. Suddenly beginning a strenuous exercise routine can have many risks, especially if the dieter has been inactive for many years. Less serious risks include the risk of straining or spraining a muscle, but more serious risks can even include heart attack if the exercise is very strenuous and is begun suddenly. Risk of injury during exercise can be reduced if proper warm up and cool down procedures are followed, including stretching all appropriate muscle groups. Dieters should consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, especially if it is possible that they have heart disease or other cardiovascular problems that might put them at high risk for serious injury.

Research and general acceptance

The diets and activities recommended by Diet-watch generally meet the standards for moderate weight loss of 1–2 pounds a week. This weight loss can be achieved through moderately reduced calorie meal plans and regular exercise. This is the approach that most experts recommend to successfully achieve permanent weight loss and better health.

The United States Department of Agriculture makes recommendations about the number of servings from each food group required daily for good health. These recommendations are in its MyPyramid food guide, available online at <http://www.MyPyramid.gov> Any diet that follows these basic guidelines for good health is generally considered a safe and healthy diet for most people. Diewatch’s personalized daily food log can help dieters determine how many calories, grams of fat, carbohydrates, and amounts of other nutrients are eaten each day. This can help dieters ensure that they are following guidelines for a healthy diet.

In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that healthy adults get 30 minutes or more of light to moderate exercise each day for good health. Although Dietwatch does not make specific exercise plans for each individual, most of their recommendations meet or exceed this minimum recommendation. Studies have shown that exercise and diet are more effective at producing weight loss when done together than either diet or exercise done alone. Dietwatch encourages dieters not only to combine diet and exercise, but also to alter problem eating behaviors, which many experts believe is important for long-term weight loss.

BOOKS

Shannon, Joyce Brennfleck ed. Diet and Nutrition Source-book. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2006.

Willis, Alicia P. ed. Diet Therapy Research Trends. New York: Nova Science, 2007.

ORGANIZATIONS

American Dietetic Association. 120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, Illinois 60606-6995. Telephone: (800) 877-1600. Website: <http://www.eatright.org>

OTHER

“DietWatch.” 1997. <Error! Hyperlink reference not valid>

accessed April 10, 2007. DietWatch.com. “Skinny on Diets” 2007. <http://www.skinnyondiets.com/DietWatch.html?find=dietwatch> accessed April 10, 2007.

Tish Davidson, A.M.


ADVERTISEMENT



McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams