More than half of dieters are trying to lose weight ‘in secret’

A study found that fears of being  judged has led many people to lose weight ‘in secret’  ( SWNS)
A study found that fears of being judged has led many people to lose weight ‘in secret’ ( SWNS)

The study found almost a third (31 per cent) of those trying to lose weight alone and in secret worry about being judged for being overweight, while 35 per cent say they’re doing this so if they fail, no-one will know.

While 32 per cent are embarrassed about needing to lose weight.

Despite this, of all those who are dieting or trying to lose weight, 37 per cent value the camaraderie of losing weight with a group and the motivation which comes with it.

And 34 per cent feel more accountable for their weight loss progress when they are doing it alongside others.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, special advisor on the science of weight management at Slimming World, which commissioned the research, said: "Worries about our weight and the decision to start a weight loss journey can feel deeply personal, so it’s natural to think that going it alone might be best.

“As the survey demonstrates, there are many motivations for wanting to lose weight.

"Making the decision to lose weight and improve your health is a positive step and not something people should ever feel embarrassed about.

“Trying to lose weight can be difficult, and there are lots of benefits to doing it as part of a group that can make it easier and more enjoyable.

“These findings show that anyone who’s concerned about their weight should embrace the encouragement and support of losing weight with others, even if that means stepping out of their comfort zones.”

The study also found those polled have attempted to lose weight an average of four times in the past three years.

Of those who have chosen to lose weight alone, 38 per cent did so to feel more in control.

Those solo slimmers aged 18 to 24 are most likely to diet in secret (81 per cent).

While men (44 per cent) are more likely than women (34 per cent) to eat or drink unhealthily in front of others, such as accepting sweets, cakes and biscuits in the office, when slimming to keep up appearances.

However, it also emerged 12 per cent have given up on a weight loss plan due to feeling lonely.

More than a quarter of solo dieters found it difficult to motivate themselves (28 per cent) or said it was easy to go off track as ‘no-one would know’ (27 per cent).

Of those who had previously tried to lose weight in secret, 38 per cent would tell everyone about their weight loss attempt in the future, with another 32 per cent happy to share with anyone who asked.

The research, carried out via OnePoll, found witnessing the dieting success of other slimmers was a key benefit of trying to lose weight as part of a group for a third of respondents.

And 34 per cent believe a benefit of losing weight with others is the element of healthy competition and the chance to show off the efforts they are willing to put in to reach their goals.

Slimming World’s Dr Jacquie Lavin added: “Losing weight isn’t always easy and going it alone is especially hard. We know it’s the shared motivation, plus feeling valued, cared for and understood, which act as a powerful and positive incentive to lose weight, and to keep going if you’re struggling.

“As the survey showed, that shared motivation can be powerful. Our members say seeing the success of other people trying to lose weight is a key benefit of trying to lose weight as part of a group."