Survey: 9 in 10 adults have tried losing weight in past 5 years – but 44% gained more than 20 pounds

New York – No, you're not crazy, and you're not alone—losing weight remains a struggle for many Americans. A poll of 2,000 Americans who had tried to lose weight at any point in their lives found that 95 percent had attempted to lose weight within the past five years. Yet 44 percent struggled so much over the past five years that they ended up gaining 21 pounds or more.

For the year ahead, 62 percent said they planned to lose an average of 22 pounds to meet their 2023 goal. However, more than half (58%) recognized that their weight loss goals were ambitious. While 72 percent say losing weight is their top priority this year, almost as many (71 percent) say there are many challenges that make it difficult for them to lose weight.

The study, commissioned by Nutrisystem and conducted by OnePoll, reveals the biggest challenges people face when trying to lose weight, including maintaining willpower (28%), lack of motivation (27%), eating healthy foods (27%) and overcoming hunger ( 27%). Other major challenges people faced included sheer difficulty losing weight (26%), the costs associated with losing weight (25%), and even finding time to exercise (25%).

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Many place the blame on distractions in their lives – such as health issues (25%), money issues (23%) and social media (19%). Even where people work can affect their eating habits. Of the 27% of respondents who said they work in a mixed environment (half work from home and half in an office or field), 69% ate more frequently at home than at work.

“Losing weight may seem like a daunting task, but it really isn't,” Nutrisystem nutritionist Courtney McCormick said in a statement. “The best way to achieve your weight loss goals and overcome your challenges is to find an affordable plan that will help you every step of the way by providing real-time support, an intuitive app, and portion-controlled but protein-packed meals – packed to help You stay fuller longer.”

The study also revealed that 73 percent of Americans believe that weight loss “starts out great,” but then slows down and plateaus. Likewise, 72% claimed to “feel like forever” before seeing any weight loss results. Even so, the average person doesn't know they've lost weight until they lose 20 pounds.

The reasons people choose to lose weight are often personal. Many want to improve their appearance (43%), feel more confident in themselves (39%), and address major health concerns (39%). When discussing their weight loss journey, 44% prefer to keep their goals private, while 40% don't mind sharing their weight loss journey with others.

“Losing weight can come with setbacks,” McCormick added. “But the best thing you can do for your future self is to make a commitment to your present self today. Weight loss is a journey, not a sprint. Aim to lose a healthy 1-2 pounds per week and you will achieve lasting success.”

investigation method:

Commissioned by Nutrisystem Between January 18 and January 23, 2023, Nutrisystem commissioned this randomized, two-choice survey of 2,000 Americans age 30 and older who had attempted to lose weight over the past 5 years. The survey was conducted by market research firm OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Association and corporate members of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Public Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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