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 continues to be a struggle for many Americans. A poll of 2,000 Americans who have tried to lose weight at any point in their life finds that 95 percent have tried to lose weight within the last five years. However, 44 percent have struggled so much over the past half decade, that they’ve ended up gaining 21 pounds or more.

For the year ahead, 62 percent say they are planning to lose an average of 22 pounds to reach their goals in 2023. Over half (58%), however, recognize their weight loss goal is ambitious. Although 72 percent say losing weight this year is a major priority for them, nearly as many (71%) believe there are a lot of challenges making it difficult for them to lose weight.

Commissioned by Nutrisystem and conducted by OnePoll, the study reveals the biggest challenges people face while trying to lose weight, including maintaining willpower (28%), lack of motivation (27%), eating healthy foods (27%), and overcoming hunger (27%). Other major challenges people face include the pure difficulty of losing weight (26%), the expense associated with weight loss (25%), and even finding time to work out (25%).

weight loss

Does working at home lead to weight gain?

Many place the blame on distractions in their lives — like health issues (25%), money problems (23%), and social media (19%). Even where people work impacts their eating habits. Out of the 27 percent surveyed who say they work in a hybrid environment (half work-from-home, half in an office or on-location), 69 percent eat more frequently at home than they would at their workplace.

“Losing weight may seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it doesn’t have to be,” says Courtney McCormick, corporate dietitian at Nutrisystem, in a statement. “The best way to conquer your weight loss goals and overcome challenges is to find an affordable program that will help you every step of the way by providing things like real-time support, an intuitive app and meals that are portion-controlled, but protein-packed to help you stay fuller longer.”

The study also reveals that 73 percent of Americans think losing weight is “great at first,” but then it slows down and plateaus. Similarly, 72 percent claim it “feels like forever” before they see any weight loss results. Even then, the average person can only tell they’ve lost weight after dropping 20 pounds.

The reasons why people choose to lose weight are typically personal. Many want to improve their appearance (43%), feel more confident in themselves (39%), and to address major health concerns (39%). When it comes to discussing their weight loss journey, 44 percent tend to keep the goal to themselves, while 40 percent don’t mind sharing their journey with others.

“Losing weight can come with its share of setbacks,” McCormick adds. “But the best thing you can for your future self is make a commitment today to your present self. Weight loss is a journey, not a sprint. Aiming to lose a healthy 1-2 pounds per week will set you up for lasting success.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans aged 30 and above who have tried to lose weight in the last 5 years was commissioned by Nutrisystem between January 18 and January 23, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. tired of this. americans eat like pigs there is no reason for any person over a certain age to eat three meals a day. I have a very old set of china from my paternal grandmother here and it is shocking to see the diameter of a dinner plate relative to ones of more recent manufacture.
    there is an explosion of very doable diets all over the net and all work. Atkins, paleo, auto immune from various doctors (these carry extra benefits of limiting potential allergic reactions)
    it takes a long time to lose and if one reaches a plateau all one has to do is eat for a day or two high caloric meals to jump start the metabolic rate. At some point one can feel the set points shifting and it is not as hard anymore Throw all processed foods out and eat as close to organic as possible. One loses the taste for sugared and over salted foods quite rapidly. If able try a high rated restaurant in your area and notice the difference in foods from what one gets in chains and

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