Average American expects to gain 8 pounds this holiday season!

NEW YORK — Three-quarters of Americans are planning to enjoy the end of the year and not worry about their diet — up significantly last year, according to a new survey. Results reveal that 72% of the 2,000 Americans surveyed this year want to make the most of the rest of 2023, regardless of what that means for their diet, compared to 54% in last year’s survey.

That attitude may help explain why respondents in the sixth annual “Writing Off the End of the Year” survey expect to gain eight pounds before the end of the year — compared to five and a half pounds last year. 

In fact, 50% of respondents admit to having eaten so much during the end-of-year season that they’ve had to undo a button on their pants or loosen a belt — and 35% have even eaten until they felt sick or full to bursting. What’s more, respondents say the holidays lead to them eating more than three meals in a day (47%) or more than one dessert at a meal (42%) — and many have eaten more than one of the same meals in a day (59%).

Pressing ‘Pause’ On Good Health

Commissioned by Herbalife and conducted by OnePoll, results also show two-thirds (66%) of respondents use the end of the year to postpone being healthy — a 24% increase from the previous year.

Infographic about end of the year weight gain.

Seventy-two percent of respondents admit to having broken a diet at the end of the year — for 48% of those, it was due to the temptation of holiday foodWhen it comes to gaining weight, 78% of respondents admit they gained weight last year, and 38% are still carrying some of those extra holiday pounds from 2022.

“The end of the year should be a time to focus on family, friends, and self-care,” says spokesperson Dr. Kent Bradley, Herbalife’s Chief Health and Nutrition Officer, in a statement. “Identify specific, attainable actions you want to take to improve your health and your mindset, and if you can, bring your friends and family along on that health journey.” 

Will you eat healthier in 2024?

Despite leaning into temptation at the end of the year, 68% of respondents are confident they’ll have healthy habits in the new year. And it’ll take an average of about 19 days to get back on track with their healthy habits, or to start new ones. As part of this, 47% are planning to make a New Year’s resolution for 2024. This compares to 32% who planned to make a resolution for 2023.

For 2024, the top resolutions are eating healthier (68%), exercising more (66%), and getting more sleep (56%). These were followed by focusing on self-care (54% and saving money (53%).

Of those planning to eat healthier in the new year, the survey dug into what specific changes they’re looking to make to their diet. Including more fruits and vegetables in their diet and becoming a vegan topped the list. 

Others may be embracing a more flexitarian diet — planning to eat less meat, without making the change fully to vegan or vegetarianism, came in third on the list of healthy changes.

“As we approach 2024 and think of the ways to better ourselves in the new year, make sure you take the time to plan and prepare for the positive behavior changes you’d like to make and be kind to yourself in the process,” says Bradley. “Remember, the best diet changes involve specific behavior changes because those are the ones you can stick to.” 

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Herbalife between Oct. 5 and Oct. 10, 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).