Dieting Trumps Sex, Career, and TV. Really?

Americans are struggling with their weight, we all know that. A recent survey by Kelton Research on behalf of Nutrisystem reveals some interesting numbers and facts. The phone survey took place between April 10 and April 21, 2010 among 1,001 adults age 18 and over.

Feeling fat. Nearly a third of Americans confess to being self-conscious about their bodies.

Feeling Sexy. A majority of Americans (66 percent) who say they need to lose weight to feel sexier than they currently do, think it will take an average of 23 pounds of weight loss for this to happen.

Diet Trumps Sex. More than half (52 percent) of American women would take a summer without sex over gaining 10 pounds; a quarter of American men (25 percent) said they would make the same sacrifice

Diet trumps Career. More Americans would prefer to shed 10 to 20 pounds this summer (25 percent) than get promoted at work (20 percent).

Diet trumps TV. Almost three out of four Americans (73 percent) are willing to give up television, their cell phones or their computers for a  flat tummy this beach season.


Food trumps Diet. Nearly half (46 percent) of the country chose not to diet, even when they knew they needed to lose weight, because they didn’t want to give up their favorite foods

Dieting is too hard. Almost all dieters (93 percent) find at least one aspect of their dieting plan to be challenging; the majority said they aren’t able to control cravings (71 percent) and find portion size an obstacle to their success (64 percent)

If at first you don’t succeed. 35 percent of Americans have dieted an average of six times in their life, using two different diet plans. Nearly 1/3 of  Americans (29 percent) have tried dieting over the past eleven months, and more than half of Americans (51 percent) have dieted within the past two years.

Our take?

There’s a huge gap between people’s sentiment in a phone survey and their actual behavior. Theoretically we will go to huge lengths to achieve a goal, but reality and day to day life are a force much stronger than most of us are willing to admit. Perhaps setting little, modest goals and attaining them one at a time (lose 3 lbs this season) is more prudent than huge goals (50 lb weight loss in 10 months).

Also, The word DIET is problematic. It means both the act of losing weight through a temporary food regimen AND a steady-state food regimen. Going on a diet means, for many people, a temporary inconvenience in order to shed a few pounds. But to lose weight and keep it off, people need to turn that temporary food regimen into a permanent one. And that’s where trouble begins.

Re-educating yourself to build correct habits for lifelong eating is a HUGE challenge. At the very least you need to know what you’ll be putting in your body when you make your food shopping choices. And that, we hope, is Fooducate’s small contribution to your nutrition success.

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  • Cassie

    And y’all hit the nail on the head there. It’s not just a temporary change, it’s an entire lifestyle change. Most Americans can’t grasp that concept or just plain don’t want to.

    I was watching Money Hungry on VH1 last night, and I found it so interesting. There were two guys sitting there talking about how much they hated oatmeal and wished they were eating pepperoni pizza instead. Funny, how they are eating the right things for right now, however, once they get home, they’ll tack those pounds back on.

    People need to really find healthy alternatives that taste good, too!

  • Wet Wolf

    The three biggest fat loss mistakes are:

    1) Too much Protein
    2) Dairy
    3) Refined/processed foods

  • savvysavingbytes

    Heading for ANOTHER still larger dress size, I finally got serious about getting my eating habits back on track. Through correcting my diet and exercise, I lost 10 pounds and in the process gained a bunch of great pluses.

  • Jay

    Wet wolf,

    I get about 25-35% of my calories from protein, eat sprouted grain bread (which you poo-poo), eat/drink plenty of low-fat or non-fat dairy (about 3 servings a day), and have 8-10% body fat. I don’t consider myself genetically blessed either. I must be an exception, huh?

  • Daniel

    Wet Wolf:
    IMO the three biggest fat loss mistakes are:
    1) Overemphasizing the role of exercise
    2) Lack of organization/prior planning
    3) Consumer confusion/ misinformation from the weight loss industry