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Sex, COVID and Jlo: 10 Surprising Findings From Our Weight Loss Survey

Ana Reisdorf
Survey: 72% Not Satisfied With Current Weight, but Optimistic About Reaching Their Goals
I’ve said multiple times this year that 2020 was not a great year for weight management. With a year full of political drama and a global pandemic, stress has been unreasonably high. And food is an amazing (temporary) stress reducer. Even I have been guilty of turning to food for self-soothing during these uncertain times.

For many people, lockdowns have made maintaining healthy habits challenging. Gyms have closed in many areas and home workouts are just not the same. 

Since many have experienced some challenges around managing our weight this year, we thought we would do a survey about your attitudes and goals when it comes to weight loss. 

What we found was incredibly interesting, although many people have a strong desire to lose weight, even during these difficult times they remain hopeful that they will be successful. Check out what we found. 

93% Have Tried To Lose Weight at Some Point in the Past

We had 1,021 people take our 2020 weight loss survey. Participants were pretty evenly divided between men (470) and women (551). Most participants were between 30 to 60 years old; none were under 18 years old.

The majority were middle income, making somewhere between $25,000 and $100,000 a year. There were a few outliers on either end of the income spectrum. Participants came from various areas of the United States, the majority (21.63%) were in the South Atlantic. 

This was a self-selected survey, participants volunteered to answer the questions. This may skew the results a bit. People who are interested in the topic of weight loss or who are actively engaged in weight loss are more likely to answer a survey about weight loss. 

Nonetheless, the survey reveals some interesting trends and attitudes people have about losing weight. 

Have You Ever Tried To Lose Weight?

Of our participants, 93% have tried to lose weight at some point in the past. More women than men have attempted weight loss at some point.

It is not surprising that so many people have tried to lose weight. We live in a very weight and appearance focused culture. 

Additionally, we, as a nation, are not doing great at maintaining our weight within a healthy range. According to the CDC, almost 72% of US adults are overweight or obese. Collectively this means that many people have likely thought about trying to lose weight at some point. 

Why have you never felt the need to lose weight?

Of those who have never felt the need to lose weight, over 80% are either simply happy with their current weight or focused on other things. Some respondents said they were underweight and actually wanted to gain weight. 

Men and younger people were less likely to have felt the need to lose weight compared to women and those over 30. This makes sense because women are frequently pressured to try to fit a specific physical mold. Also, as we age, many people naturally gain weight, making it more appealing to try to lose it.

Removing the focus from maintaining a specific body weight may actually help you maintain a healthy weight during your life. Research has found that yo-yo dieting or being overly focused on body weight actually results in more weight gain over time

Which of the following have you used to help with your fitness goals?

The most popular methods people used to help with their fitness goals were: 

  • Their own program
  • A diet plan
  • A fitness app

Younger people were more likely to have used technology to help them lose weight compared to those over 45 years old. Those with higher incomes were most likely to have used a personal trainer at some point to help with weight loss.

Other methods that participants mentioned included weight loss surgery, Weight Watchers, or seeing a doctor, nutritionist, or registered dietitian for help. Getting professional help is a great way to lose weight in a sustainable and healthy way.

What is/was your main reason for wanting to lose weight?

Surprisingly, the majority of respondents said they wanted to lose weight for improved health, particularly those in the older age categories. Younger people were more focused on how weight would improve their appearance.

Compared to men, women were more interested in weight loss to fit into specific clothing or to improve their appearance. 

What is the main barrier that has stopped you from reaching your weight loss goals?

As far as barriers, most people cited lack of willpower, lack of motivation, or simply being too busy to reach their weight loss goals. Men were more likely to say they were simply too busy to lose weight, whereas women had a more internal reason and cited a lack of willpower. 

Other frustrations around difficulty reaching weight loss goals were not wanting to eliminate favorite foods, mental health concerns, and of course issues related to COVID-19. Others felt that no matter what they did, their weight simply didn’t change.

As these participants have discovered, sustainable and effective weight loss is not just about what you eat. Hormones, mental health, your environment, and habits all play a role in being successful at losing weight. This is likely why many participants cite a variety of reasons why they have not reached their goals—They understand that weight loss is about more than diet.

Do you think it would improve your sex life if you lost more weight?

Most people believe that losing weight would improve their sex lives. Men were more likely to say this would be the case, compared to women.

How have Covid-19 lockdowns affected your weight loss goals?

Forty-nine percent of respondents said the COVID-19 lockdowns impacted their weight loss goals. Interestingly, 17% say the lockdowns helped them reach their weight loss goals. 

Younger people were most likely to say that the lockdowns helped their goals, compared to those in older age brackets. 

People were impacted differently by lockdowns. Some had more free time to exercise and eat healthy because they were no longer commuting to work and had fewer day-to-day demands. Others may have had children who were suddenly at home, which impacted daily schedules and available free time.

Are you satisfied with your current weight?

Almost 72% of respondents say they are not satisfied with their current weight. Those of the middle income brackets and older age were least likely to be satisfied with their weight. Men were also more likely to be satisfied with their current weight compared to women.

Do you think you’ll ever be satisfied with your weight?

Interestingly, 61% of people were hopeful that at some point they would be satisfied with their weight. Younger people and men were much more hopeful about this category. 

This is very motivating. It is great that most people believe that weight loss is possible for them. If your goal is health, implementing healthy habits without weight loss can help you be healthier. 

If you could have the body of one celebrity, who would it be?

When asked about celebrity bodies, here’s how it broke down. 

For men, popular choices were:

  • Brad Pitt
  • Chris Hemsworth
  • Dwayne Johnson
  • Chris Evans
  • Zac Efron

For women: 

  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Beyonce
  • Pink
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • Kylie Jenner

Several respondents answered “none,” stating that they choose not to compare themselves to celebrities and prefer to just focus on themselves. This is a healthy attitude because most people will never achieve the goal of looking like a celebrity. Focusing on what you can do to keep yourself in shape and feeling your best is how you achieve real health. 

Stick With It

It’s no surprise that people are interested in weight loss. If this is your goal, remember there is no magic pill. Consistent lifestyle changes—like eating healthy, exercise, sleep, and stress management—are what will help you reach your goals in 2020 and beyond. 

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Ana Reisdorf
Ana Reisdorf contributes to Top10.com as aa Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with 13 years of experience in nutrition and dietetics. She has published three cookbooks, including her most recent release, "The 21-day Arthritis Diet Plan", and has written for many major health and nutrition brands like Viome, Abbott, Naturemade, and Walgreens.

The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.