What’s Your Why? The Top Reasons Why Americans Want to Lose Weight

While following a healthy diet and exercise plan will certainly help you lose weight, what drives people to lose the weight is what will help them to keep it off. A Calorie Control Council survey of more than 1,500 U.S. adults ages 18 and over who want to lose weight, conducted online by The Harris Poll, asked people “what are the reasons why you want to lose weight?” Asking yourself why you want to lose weight is a powerful motivator for taking action and maintaining your goals.

Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Being overweight increases the likelihood of developing potentially life-threatening diseases. You are at higher risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Additionally, the risk of certain cancers like breast cancer is exacerbated by a high body mass index (BMI). Other diseases like sleep apnea can occur as well. Avoiding these diseases can be a strong motivator for people to want to lose weight. In the Calorie Control Council/Harris Poll survey, the number one reason for wanting to lose weight, cited by 73 percent of Americans who want to lose weight, is the desire to be healthy. Living a healthy life leads to living a longer and higher quality of life. In turn, it means experiencing all the wonderful things that life has to offer.

Improved Mental Health

Many people who are overweight experience social shame and embarrassment about how they look.  This can lead to insecurities that impact self-esteem and confidence, which could lead to depression and anxiety.  Feeling better about oneself is a compelling incentive to shed pounds and 61 percent of Americans who want to lose weight state this as a reason why.

Possible Decreased Risk of Joint Problems 

Nearly one in five Americans who want to lose weight (19%) cite joint problems as a reason to do so.  Being overweight can put strain on your joints, in particular your knees. Excess weight puts stress on the joints and can lead to wear and tear on them, which promotes the onset of arthritis. Joint pain can be debilitating and worsen weight gain due to limited ability to exercise.

Develop an Energy Boost

When you lose weight you will likely notice that you have more energy. Nearly half of the Americans who want to lose weight (49%) state that they want to do so to boost their energy. When you are carrying around less weight, your body expends less energy to function.

Being introspective about the real reason you want to lose weight can be a means to success.

Survey Method

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Calorie Control Council from November 16-18, 2016 among 2,074 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,540 want to lose weight. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Stan Samples at the Calorie Control Council, [email protected].

Keri Peterson, MD is a medical contributor and columnist for Women’s Health and a frequent guest on NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, Fox News and CNN. Based in New York City, Dr. Peterson has been in private practice since 1999 and holds appointments at Lenox Hill Hospital and Mount Sinai Medical Center. With a BA from Cornell University and a Medical Degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, she completed post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center and is board certified in Internal Medicine. Dr. Peterson is a member of the American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association, and serves as a medical advisor for the Calorie Control Council.

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