"So I'm on a diet... Big deal. You know what a "diet" is, don't you? It's "die" with a "T," that's what it is!"A character is sneaking out to the kitchen for a midnight snack. He is careful not to wake up his wife or else he'll get caught. The minute he opens the refrigerator, he suddenly hears footsteps, so he turns around just in time to see his wife standing behind him with a stern expression on her face. The wife then promptly puts her husband on a diet for trying to raid the refrigerator at night. This is a type of episode that shows up in almost every form of media. When a character is caught trying to eat more than he usually does, he will promptly be put on a diet, or the character decides to go on a diet himself. Growling Gut trope may be applied for comedic effect and may also overlap with Vegetarian For A Day. Becoming a Dead Horse Trope as the obese become Less Acceptable Targets.
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Anime and Manga
- There is one in Kamen no Maid Guy.
- Azumanga Daioh's Yomi is seemingly always on a diet. Her Day in the Limelight episodes often feature her trying several unsuccessful diets.
- Usagi tried to go on a diet but failed in an early Sailor Moon episode that involved the villains taking energy from girls who were obsessed with getting thin.
- There is also a Yes! Pretty Cure 5 episode where Coco goes on a diet because he got fat (although you never really see the difference in his human form) from eating too many cream puffs.
- Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt has one in which, thanks to a Ghost, Stocking finds herself gaining weight (something that never happened before, considering all the fat she consumes goes to her breasts) and starting a DIETO.
- One episode of Gintama features most of the major female characters having become obese within the same time period and enrolling into a fat camp. They all go back to normal at the end of the episode after eating laxative-laced chips.
- Episode 8 of Tamako Market focuses on Dera taking a diet, as he has been overly obese to carry out his duties.
- As every episode in Axis Powers Hetalia is only five minutes long, that one is more of a diet skit. America gets worried about his weight after a casual comment by England. After he spends the skit asking different nations for diet advice, a note says that what America doesn't realise is that the reason for his rising weight isn't actually fat, it's muscle.
- Chapter 64 of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun has Sakura and Mikoshiba trying to lose weight out of fear that they've become fatter. They first attempt to simultaneously exercise their arms whilst doing their manga work, then they have Mayu help them with their work-out routine. It's all for nought when they go to Nozaki's house and see that he's baked a cake for them.
- Chapter 18 of Read or Die has Michelle gaining weight from eating too much while reading so her sisters force her into an exercise program.
- Yukari Nashimoto of Tsurezure Children watches her weight very often in her focus chapters, but the stand out one is Chapter 152. Because she eats too many snacks, she decides to decrease the amount of food she eats during the day. By decrease, we mean starve, and it gets so noticeable that her crush comes over just to give her something to eat.
- Astérix and the Chieftain's Shield starts out with Vitalstatistix being put on a strict diet and sent to a health spa. We see the results near the end, where he's gone from 'round' to 'stick'. However, on his way home he samples food from the best inns, returning to his original girth.
- The Dursley portion of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire involves Dudley being put on a dietnote . Unfortunately, the Dursleys decided that to accomodate Dudley, everyone else needed to participate, including Harry (the last person who actually needed such a thing).
- Jelly Belly fits the bill for its first half, subverting the trope once Ned gets serious and realizes cutting out junk food isn't as torturous as he thinks it is.
- In the first story of If This is Love, I'll Take Spaghetti, the protagonist struggles with trying to stay on a diet so that she can become thin enough to attract her crush. It turns out that her crush likes her perfectly fine even with the extra weight, but she realizes that she still wants to lose weight for her own sake and he agrees to help "distract" her from thinking about food all the time.
Live Action TV
- One Played for Drama series of episodes, where Dan is put on a diet following his heart attack. Dan's cheating on the diet eventually leads to the largest fight he and Roseanne ever had on the show.
- In season two it's played for humor as usual, with Roseanne insisting they both go on a diet after she has trouble fitting into her pants. Dan seems to do fairly well, but Roseanne ends up nearly cracking after watching three food commercials.
- A major plot arc in Frasier, as Daphne started gaining weight after she got together with Niles. She was put on a diet and eventually sent to some sort of fat camp. This storyline was a clever trick used by the writers to mask the fact that Jane Leeves was actually pregnant.
Niles: She's just lost 9 pounds, 12 ounces.
- In one episode of The Partridge Family Danny is teased for being fat, goes on a diet, and loses like 10 pounds, all without being noticibly slimmer. According to Danny Bonaduce's biography, it was not a pleasant episode to film.
- In an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, Marie, a Supreme Chef, discovers that she has high cholesterol. She decides to go on a diet and eat healthier—which, by extension, means that everyone else has to as well. Unfortunately, it was the Thanksgiving Special...
- Gilligan's Island had an episode where the Skipper revealed that he'd probably rejoin the Navy if he ever got back to civilization, then found out he was overweight and went on a diet.
- On M*A*S*H:
- In the episode with the M*A*S*H Olympics, Hawkeye and BJ help a soldier who's in danger of being kicked out of the Army for being 20 pounds overweight. At the end of the episode, the soldier thanks them as he made his weight - by 3 ounces.
- In a humorous inversion in the same episode, Klinger begins eating everything in sight after he finds out he can be discharged if he's overweight.
- Glee had an episode where Sue made Mercedes go on a diet in order to remain on The Cheerios. Sadly, this so-called "diet" resulted in Mercedes obsessing over her weight and starving herself, prompting Quinn to intervene.
- Played With on Babylon 5: Garibaldi is ordered by Dr. Franklin to go on a restricted diet (or rather... a food plan) because of various problems his body is suffering due to the after effects of being shot In the Back by The Mole in an earlier season. Meanwhile, Captain Sheridan is ordered to eat what he considers "Rabbit Food" because he has gained ten pounds since his previous exam. Commander Ivanova is ordered to eat more because she is suffering nutrition deficiencies because she doesn't eat enough healthy food; in addition, this is messing with her recovery from her broken foot (from the previous episode). Since all three of them are required to eat something that they hate and one of the others loves, this results in a scene where Garibaldi takes Ivanova's pasta, Sheridan takes Garibaldi's steak, and Ivanova takes Sheridan's salad and they try (Unsuccessfully) to eat them before Dr Franklin arrives in the mess.
- An episode of That 70s Show had Red, after his heart attack, trying to sneak around his diet. After he gets busted, he says "This isn't food! This is what food eats!".
- In the 3rd Rock from the Sun episode "Moby Dick", Dick goes on a diet after he starts overeating to deal with the stress of his break-up from Mary. Later we find out Mary is also stress eating.
- In an early episode of Family Matters, Carl went on a strict diet to look good for his high school reunion. His family pulled out all the stops to keep him from cheating, to the point where he snuck baby food out of desperation.
- Played for drama in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Philip was put on a diet and bribed Will into sneaking him junk food, only to end up having a heart attack.
- I Love Lucy had Lucy go on a diet to be able to play Sally Sweet in one of Ricky's show numbers.
- The Munsters had an episode titled "Lo-Cal Munster" where the family is put on the diet. The title suggests "low-calorie Muenster cheese."
- The Ronnie Barker one-shot "One Man's Meat".
- An episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has Cody trying to help the hotel's chef lose weight. He manages to do it by telling him not to think of it as a diet, but a lifestyle choice. Additionally, Zack (who had become a glutton for sweets in the episode) is also put on a cold turkey diet, until his mother realizes it's too extreme and agrees to allow a small amount of sweets to curb his temptation. Meanwhile, one of London's socialite friends tells London she's fat and that Maddie is too skinny, so London spends the episode starving herself and working out, while Maddie gorges on food. London becomes exhausted from a lack of food and Maddie becomes too bloated to wear a dress for a model show (despite not appearing any bigger than normal), and the two accept their bodies when the socialite is revealed to be stuffing her bra full of toilet paper.
- There is one episode of Poirot called Evil Under the Sun, in which Hercule Poirot has to go on a diet at the Sandy Cove Hotel on Miss Lemon's orders after an incident at an Argentinian restaurant has sent him to a hospital where he is declared "medically obese". It turns out at the end that the incident is not obesity or his health problems but food poisoning—nine cases of it in fact (Poirot's was one of them), so the restaurant had to be shut down until it can work out the food poisoning bit.
- Played for drama on Full House as a Very Special Episode, where DJ went on a crash diet so she could look good in a bathing suit. She was cured by a hug at the end of the episode.
- One episode of Still Standing sees Linda date a younger and extremely physically fit man, which prompts Bill and Judy to try to exercise more. Unfortunately, they're both horribly out of shape, but that doesn't stop them from trying to hide their pain from one another.
- "Love Hungry," an episode of Tales from the Darkside, featured an overweight woman who had exhausted every trick in the book trying to lose weight. She applies for a unique new method and is sent a pair of headphones that allow her to hear the screams of food as it's being eaten, which prompts her to run from a restaurant. She then uses the next item in the diet kit, a pair of glasses; these cause her to see food as sentient and able to communicate with her. Her conversations with some fruit and a JELL-O mold are largely Played for Laughs...until the ending, where, despite growing famished, the woman can't bring herself to eat her "friends" and sews her own mouth shut, starving to death.
- The Addams Family has "Fester Goes on a Diet", in which Uncle Fester starts dieting in order to make himself thinner and taller to impress his Love Interest.
- The George Lopez Show has Ernie (who has always been a little on the chubby side) gain a lot of weight as a result of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy regarding his inability to get women. It isn't until George tricks Ernie into trying on his morbidly obese mother's pants that Ernie realizes what he must do. He loses 22 pounds by the end of the episode and gets even thinner in subsequent ones.
- Deconstructed in Reba. Barbra Jean has noticeably gained weight by the episode "Hide Your Cake" (as her actress, Melissa Peterman was pregnant at the time). The diet doesn't work and only makes Barbra Jean miserable (she actually gained four pounds will doing it), but she wants to lose weight because she fears Brock doesn't find her attractive anymore. Reba points out that Barbra Jean has always been a "handful of woman" and that she needs to work on her confidence, with Reba and Cheyenne also talking about their own personal insecurities they have with their looks. By season six, Barbra Jean is considerably thinner.
- Garfield has numerous strips where Garfield is put on a diet by Jon, and sometimes by Liz. In the earlier years of the strip, 'Diet Week' was a regular theme, explained by Jim Davis's claim that when he goes on a diet, so does Garfield.
- About 50% of Cathy strips are in some way about Cathy trying - and failing - to lose weight. The rest are usually about her trying to improve her appearance or meet men.
- Happened a few times in relation to light heavyweights, where there is a weight limit.
- In a 2000 episode of Sunday Night Heat, Christian wanted to challenge for the WWF Light Heavyweight title, but was a pound overweight. He spends most of the episode exercising to lose the one pound, but is so exhausted that he loses the match.
- During the build-up to WrestleMania 19 in 2003, Matt Hardy was feuding with WWE Cruiserweight Champion, Rey Misterio. Smackdown GM Stephanie McMahon told Matt that if he could get down to the 220 pound weight limit (Matt weighed 227 at the time), she would make their match at WrestleMania a Cruiserweight title match. Matt then wrestled matches wearing a Sauna Suit under his ring outfit.
- As part of her Hollywood Pudgy storyline, Molly Holly was shown working out in at least one backstage segment in 2002 in an effort to lose weight.
- In an episode of The Muppet Show, Miss Piggy decides to go on a diet after overhearing that Kermit is planning to cancel her ballet number the following week, claiming she's getting too fat for the costume. Most of the sketches for the remainder of the episode have to do with either food or exercise.
- In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Shrek's Diet", Mario makes Shrek go on a diet after the latter suffers a heart attack from eating too much cheesecake. Mario gets Chef Pee Pee to make a salad for Shrek, and even signs Shrek up for a gym membership. At the end of the episode, Shrek loses weight from diet and exercise, but instantly gains it back when he starts eating cheesecake again.
- In The Katering Show episode "The Body Issue", Kate McLennan, Kate McCartney and Beans the cat supposedly attempt the Paleo Diet, the Raw Food Diet and the 5:2 Diet respectively. The Kates are brought to the brink of malnutrition and insanity by their diets, but Beans thrives on the 5:2 Diet, "and her brain cancer is almost gone"!
- Tummi Gummi got put on a diet after sneaking a midnight snack in the Adventures of the Gummi Bears episode "The Oracle".
- At least one episode of The Flintstones had Fred being shamed into dieting. Another had Fred participating in a game show where he would win a cash prize if he lost a signifigant amount of weight in a month. He had to resort to joining a support group for food addicts (which also sent out agents that snatched food away from their members if they try to cheat) to manage, and is irritable and half-dead by the time the contest is over. He does win, but he forgot to inform the group, so they end up swiping his victory meal.
- The Goofy short "Tomorrow We Diet" features the titular Goofy attempting one by the narrator.
- Goof Troop had an episode while Peg dares Pete to go a day without eating; naturally, it eats him up inside.
- One episode of Tiny Toon Adventures had Hampton try to go on a diet, only to be constantly tempted by a chocolate cake.
- Doug had two:
- The Nickelodeon version had "Doug Tips the Scales", involving the title character where Doug returns from summer vacation and notices that he's put on weight from his grandmothers cooking, and desperately tries to get rid of it before a beach party (despite not really looking different).
- The Disney version had "Doug's Chubby Buddy", which was a Very Special Episode involving Patti getting anorexia.
- The Simpsons had several of these for Homer, the most famous one being the first one, "Brush With Greatness", where he got stuck in the Mt. Splashmore water slide and decided to drop about 40 pounds. He doesn't change much visually but does succeed in losing the weight.
- "The Heartbroke Kid has Bart becoming seriously overweight due to getting addicted to junk food from the new school vending machines, to the point that he has a heart attack and has to be dragged off to a Fat Camp. Its not until he realizes the impact his weight is having on his family (who had to open a hostel for rude German backpackers to pay for the camp) that he vows to take losing weight seriously.
- Family Guy:
- An early episode started on Chris going on a diet, which was moderately successful, but that plot took a back seat to Peter getting multiple plastic surgeries. It also had a B-plot of Stewie overeating to mock Chris, which inevitably makes him grossly overweight.
- Peter briefly tried going on a diet so he could meet the weight limit for a roller coaster at Six Flags. However, he soon gives up and resorts to using a corset to make himself look thinner. The results are predictable; the ride can't handle his real weight and ends up crashing, killing several passengers.
- The Critic has an episode where Jay and Marty decides to enroll in a high-class Fat Camp due to both of them having trouble with people mocking them for their weight. Jay only loses about 2 pounds (which he is elated over, calling it his "college weight"), but Marty drops a substantial amount of weight and becomes quite handsome and popular in school. However, he begins to buckle under the pressure of popularity, as well as the stress of playing Peter Pan in the school play. By the end, he's gained his original weight back from a massive ice cream binge, and is about to get beaten up for ruining the play, only to immediately slide back into popularity when the building engineer reveals that Marty damaged the school roof and the school has to close for a month of repairs.
- The Smurfs episode "Gormandizing Greedy" is about putting Greedy on a diet after the Smurfs find out he has a weight problem.
- Martha Speaks has "Too Much Martha" where Martha is put on a diet and "Martha's Dirty Habit" which has a subplot of Daniel Lorraine (the dad of the family that owns Martha) giving up between-meal snacks for no real reason other than the fact that Martha was giving something up (digging) and he wanted to give something up too so she wouldn't feel alone.
- Hey Arnold! had the episode "Weighing Harold", where Harold wants to go on a diet after a few of the characters make fun of him for being fat. He goes on a special cruise ship for kids to lose weight, only to come back even bigger than he was before.
- Bad Dog had an episode where Vern goes on a diet.
- Rocko's Modern Life had the episode "Frog's Best Friend", where Ed Bighead is put on a diet, while Bev gives her newly adopted stray dog Earl better treatment than him.
- Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats had the episode "Lard Times" where Heathcliff puts himself on a diet. Hector, Wordsworth and Mungo force him into a grueling exercise program in an effort to make him so tired that they can take over his neighborhood. In the same episode, Grandpa is ordered by the doctor to also lose a few pounds.
- The Super Mario Bros. Super Show had an episode where Mario and his friends helped an out of shape Greek hero lose weight to fight Koopa.
- Monterey Jack went on a diet on an episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, the twist being that he did so voluntarily as he was eager to get in shape after his weight caused some problems on a mission, while the other Rangers tagged alongside him for support. It was the other Rangers who had the most trouble keeping with the program. He eventually relents after realizing he's been pushing the others too hard.
- Oggy and the Cockroaches has had two episodes: "Oggy's Diet" and "Dee Dee's Diet". In Oggy's episode, it was so he could catch the cockroaches easier, for Dee Dee, it was so he could avoid being caught. Dee Dee actually managed to shed the pounds... only to gain them back in the end.
- An episode of South Park has Eric Cartman being sent to Fat Camp to get his weight under control, and returns a few weeks later substantially slimmed down. It turns out however that this is an impostor that the real Eric sent back to South Park to steal junk food for him to smuggle to the other campers for money. The real Eric hasn't lost a pound, and on top of that is ruining the progress of the other campers with his scam.
- American Dad! has a Played for Drama version where Stan goes on a diet after his family points out that he's put on weight since his prime (as a response to him being a huge jerk to Steve's pudgy girlfriend). Stan ends up developing serious anorexia and is reduced to skin and bones, to the point where he has to be hospitalized.
- CatDog: "Dog Ate It" has Cat putting Dog on a diet in preparation for them entering a dance contest.
- The Biker Mice from Mars episode "Pitfall" had main villain Lawrence Limburger forced to go easy on indulging in slime worms because his superior Lord Camembert has ordered him to go on a diet for the next week.
- In Garfield and Friends, Jon decides to go on a diet after putting on some weight, and ends up falling for a crooked diet program with overpriced, poor quality food served in absurdly small portions.
- "Arthur Weighs in" has an Aesop about obesity, in which Arthur has gained enough weight that he now has to wear husky clothing even though he is the exact same size he has always been. He cuts the junk food from his diet and gets back to his normal weight.