Do You Live to Eat or Eat to Live?

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Results Continued

In the closet

Dieting is one route to looking thinner, but having flattering clothes doesn't hurt, either. Sixteen percent of women polled own a dress that makes them look 10 pounds thinner, and 15 percent have minimizer underwear to help disguise bulges. Forty percent are holding on to at least one pair of pants too small for them-presumably in the hope that they'll be able to wear them again a few less pounds from now. But sometimes comfort matters more; 29 percent say they own a forgiving pair of pants to wear on their "fat days."

I can't believe I ate the whole thing

Sometimes junk-food consumption is more than a mere nibble for those polled. More than a third (34 percent) confess to having polished off a jumbo tub of buttered popcorn in one sitting. Another 30 percent say they've downed a whole pint of ice cream. Nineteen percent have scarfed down a bag of chips at one time, and 16 percent have left only crumbs in a box of cookies. But it's harder to pig out on peanut butter; a mere -- but still astounding -- 1 percent say they've managed to eat an entire jar.

Taking it off

Weight loss is a major concern for the women in our poll. Half of them say they need to lose more than 20 pounds. Nearly three quarters of respondents have been on diets at some point, with 22 percent dieting up to six months a year, another 24 percent devoting one or two months a year to weight loss and 13 percent cutting calories two or three weeks a year. Twelve percent never stop trying to slim down.

However, despite the vast variety of diet books touting low-carb or meatless eating, most women prefer the tried-and-true methods. Twenty-seven percent of those polled have gone on calorie-restricted diets, and 19 percent have tried a balanced food-pyramid regimen. Another 14 percent have tried liquid diets, and 13 percent have gone for high-protein menus.

A delicious obsession

When asked how often they think about food, just under half of women (45 percent) say the thought occurs only at mealtimes. But another 44 percent say food is on their minds just about every waking minute, and 8 percent say they're so obsessed with eating that they even dream about it. --Shana Aborn


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