NEW YORK — Nine in 10 American adults have tried at least one weight loss strategy in their lifetime. A poll of 2,000 adults reveals that 91 percent have tried at least one strategy for weight loss, with half claiming that they’ve tried 11 different methods of shedding extra weight!
A quarter of Americans even confessed to trying at least 16 different weight loss strategies.
In fact, 32 percent of respondents who have been on a weight loss journey reported successfully losing weight but then gaining it back, while only 28 percent report successfully losing weight and keeping it off.
However, going on a weight loss journey doesn’t appear to be sustainable for many, as respondents described their overall experience with weight loss as “overwhelming” (37%) or “unsuccessful” (31%). Only 15 percent described their weight loss experience as “rewarding.” Almost two-thirds (65%) agree that it is difficult to think about weight loss long-term because of the sacrifices that come with it.
It’s just not worth it
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of evidence-based weight care platform, Found, the survey revealed that most respondents felt that losing weight (34%) required more sacrifice than having kids (33%), cutting back on finances (30%), and even starting a new job (28%).
Reflecting on their own weight loss experiences, respondents felt they had to sacrifice their happiness (31%), mental well-being (29%), and love or relationships (28%) in order to lose weight. More than half (54%) have even given up on losing weight because they felt they were sacrificing too much.
Those surveyed had goals that went beyond the numbers on the scale. Of those who have gone on a weight loss journey, 44 percent said the outcome they were most hoping for was feeling more confident with their bodies. Other popular goals include wanting to feel healthier overall (42%) and wanting to be able to do an activity without stopping, such as walking a mile, climbing stairs, or strolling through the mall (42%).
In fact, almost four in five (79%) want to be healthier, not skinnier. Two in five wanted to have more energy and 34 percent felt victorious when others noticed their efforts.
“This data validates what many of us who have tried to lose weight before have known for a long time: that traditional weight loss journeys require too much sacrifice and leans too heavily on the idea of personal willpower,” says Dr. Acacia Parks, chief behavioral health officer at Found, in a statement. “As someone who has struggled with my weight my whole life and also as an expert in psychology, I know that the feeling of extreme sacrifice doesn’t lead to lasting weight loss or positive mental health and only fuels stigma around needing help. To achieve sustainable weight loss, it is important to provide people with a personalized program that works with their unique biology and lifestyle, not against it.”
Weight loss is no longer taboo
Beyond sacrifice, another key challenge with weight loss according to survey respondents is the stigma associated with the journey. The data reveals that this stigma is decreasing compared to several years ago, with 73 percent of respondents reporting that they are more comfortable discussing weight loss with their family and friends compared to five years ago.
Looking at health overall, 71 percent take medication for physical or mental health conditions, or both. In addition, the concern around discussing these medications openly has decreased, with more than half (59%) of all respondents feeling more comfortable talking about their medications than they were a few years ago.
Although people are more comfortable discussing their weight loss today compared with five years ago, there is still some stigma around discussing the medications they’re taking for their physical and mental health.
Results showed that 41 percent of respondents are very comfortable talking about their physical health medications, such as for diabetes and thyroid, compared with only 29 percent who feel the same with mental health medications, such as for anxiety or depression.
In terms of medications related to weight loss, one in three wished they had access to taking prescription weight loss medications to lose weight.
“It’s time we evolve the mainstream weight loss narratives that are outdated and tell us it’s our fault we aren’t losing weight,” says Dr. Rekha Kumar, chief medical officer at weight care platform, Found. “The science clearly shows that eating and exercise changes don’t address the biological components associated with weight, which is why medications can be extremely valuable in a weight loss journey.”
“Clinical evidence proves that medication in combination with lifestyle changes can result in up to an additional 7-10 percent total weight loss,” Kumar continues. “This survey validates that people are struggling to find effective and long-term weight loss solutions, with 37 percent looking for both a supportive community and access to a program that feels sustainable.”