The Fat Lie We Tell Ourselves

Gallup Weight Poll

Some interesting stats on Americans’ weight and attitudes were published by Gallup yesterday. As everyone know, over the last 20 years our collective waistline has grown and we have gained an average of 15 pounds of weight per person. But what has also gone up, is our perception of what an ideal weight would be. See the chart above. The difference, around 13 lbs, seems to stay constant over the years.

According to Gallup, which polled people a few weeks ago, about 65% report that they are above their ideal weight. This is about the same percentages of Americans that are considered overweight or obese.

Here is where things get funny (actually sad): 60% of respondents said they are fine with their current weight!

That’s right, and only 34% think they are overweight. But despite that, 54% “would like to” lose some weight. Another 25% are “seriously” trying to lose weight.

What are two things we can learn from this survey?

1. We humans are fickle types, with reality distortion fields that help us shape reality to match our needs. This is not necessarily a bad thing, we would go insane if we couldn’t bridge these gaps.

2. As we  all know, it is much easier to gain a pound of weight than to lose it. Thus, it is better to get on a proper diet early on, before massive weight gain or disease occurs. Unfortunately, the results of this survey affirm that for most people, a gradual weight gain is not perceived as a threat to health, thus does not trigger action (“would like to lose weight”).

Are you trying to lose weight? What is your trigger?

  • Aura Mae

    One of the possibilities is that people have decided that their sense of self is not defined by their weight. They might like to be smaller, but they have given up on the failed diets they have tried over the last twenty years.

  • Leslie

    “About 65% [of people polled] report that they are above their ideal weight. This is about the same percentages of Americans that are considered overweight or obese.” Just because a person is “fine” with how much they weigh doesn’t mean they don’t understand the concepts of “ideal” weight or healthy weight and how their current weight compares to that. As much as I LOVE the information on nutrition labels I can find here at Fooducate, I think it is funny (actually sad) how predictable it is that Fooducate is off the mark when publishing articles on weight.

  • Ryan

    I think its funny (actually sad) how articles concerning weight strike a nerve and lead to such bias comments. Great article, thanks for sharing!

  • Susie Bautista

    I’d rather eat good food than be skinny. Doesn’t mean I want to be unhealthy. Healthy food and exercise habits make you feel good.

    • Lola

      I’m with you sister!

  • Caitlin

    SO disappointing that Fooducate is SO off the mark here.

  • Nancy Yang

    So what is the “ideal” weight? Isn’t the whole notion a bit arbitrary? If we use the all-too-popular BMI chart to decide what a person should “ideally” weigh, a young woman who stands at 5’3 could be anywhere between 100-125pounds to be considered within the “healthy” range. So what is it – 100 pounds or 125? As long as that person is healthy and happy at her or his particular size, does it really matter how much they weigh?