Three-quarters of Americans believe the idea of a “summer body” encourages people to diet in an unhealthy way, according to new research.
Despite 72% of respondents agreeing with that sentiment, the survey of 2,000 Americans revealed many are still aiming to lose weight ahead of the summer.
And 77% of respondents are willing to go to “extreme lengths” to successfully shed the pounds.
Results revealed 48% of respondents have been on a diet in the past five years with the goal of losing weight — and 78% of dieters typically attempt to lose weight before summer starts.
Feeling healthier was respondents’ top aim (46%), followed by increasing their fitness (45%) and eating healthily (42%).
Millennials were more likely to prioritize feeling healthier (53%), compared to 36% of Gen Xers and 29% of baby boomers surveyed.
Not only that, but millennial respondents were also more interested in increasing their fitness than other generations (54% of millennials, vs. 33% of Gen X and 23% of baby boomers).
“A comprehensive and sustainable approach to weight loss includes awareness and education around healthy eating and exercise, and most importantly behavior change,” said Dr. Kent Bradley, Chief Health and Nutrition Officer at Herbalife.
Results also showed that only 59% of respondents feel they have a good understanding of how to be healthy.
This varied by generation: Gen X and baby boomer respondents had a better understanding of how to be healthy than their millennial counterparts (63% and 75%, respectively, vs. 55%).
And this lack of understanding may be hurting respondents: of the 77% of dieters willing to go to “extreme lengths,” 68% said they would participate in fad diets.
That’s even as 57% of all respondents admit they’re worried about the safety of fad diets.
When asked what hurdles they’ve run into when trying to be healthy, the top obstacle was a lack of self-control (52%).
That was followed by the cost — healthy eating being expensive (51%) — and not liking the taste of healthy foods (39%).
About a third of respondents also highlighted being healthy as “too time-consuming” (36%) and cited their own procrastination (32%) as hurdles they’ve faced.
Others said negative influences around them (23%) and a lack of motivation (21%) stop them from being healthy.
For respondents who have fallen off their healthy routines, a quarter (26%) have then sought the help of an expert (trainer, health coach, dietitian, etc.) to get them back on track.
Despite the obstacles that can come with healthy eating, 79% said changing their behavior is the best way to make a lasting impact on their health.
“Adhering to a nutrition or fitness plan is often a challenge, which is why setting small goals and enlisting the help of a coach and a supportive community can help motivate a person towards the healthy behavior changes needed for long-term results,” Bradley added.
Produced in association with SWNS Research
(Additional reporting provided by Talker Research)