Beyond the Scale:
Insights into Weight Loss Trends and Challenges

Batash Endoscopic Wellness

Overview

The challenge of weight management has become a significant concern in the United States, with a substantial portion of the population facing challenges related to being overweight or obese. In the last few years, the prevalence of obesity has steadily risen with over 40% of adults classified as obese. However, the significance of shedding excess weight extends well beyond aesthetics by influencing mental health and impacting an individual’s overall well-being.

Getting started on your weight loss journey is challenging, especially without the right methods and strategy in place. Popular fad diets, unproven supplements, and quick weight loss wins can help with temporary results, yet they aren’t a long-term solution.

A weight loss journey isn’t one-size-fits-all. That’s why we surveyed over 1,000 Americans who identify as overweight to shed light on common weight loss methods, dietary trends, and the often-overlooked mental health aspect of weight management.

Here’s what we found.

Key Findings

  • 60% of overweight Americans said they want to lose weight to address both mental health and physical health reasons, equally;
  • Over half of overweight Americans report stress is the number one reason they struggle to lose weight successfully;
  • 1 in 4 overweight Americans have considered weight loss surgery;
  • Low-carb and low-fat diets are the most common diets people try in order to lose weight;
  • 35% of overweight Americans avoid healthcare scenarios due to the negative impact on their mental health;
  • Side effects are more of a barrier for people trying Ozempic than the cost.

Perception of Weight Gain Control

In creating effective weight loss strategies, it’s extremely important to understand the factors that contribute to weight gain.

The factors that contribute to weight gain

Nearly 50% of overweight Americans are torn on how they feel about their weight gain, and whether or not it was in their control. Genetics, activity level, environmental factors, and factors of mental health (from sleep to mental health challenges such as depression) really impact the ability to lose weight as well as increasing weight gain.

On the other hand, it’s surprising to see that 1 in 4 Americans who identify as overweight believe that all of the weight gain was in their control which opposes the 1 in 5 who believe all of the weight gain was out of their control.

Weight Management Motivations

Motivations for weight loss vary widely for everyone and are influenced by a combination of personal, social, and health-related factors.

The Desire for Change

Motivation for weight loss is multifaceted, ranging from wanting to get in shape and readiness for a lifestyle change to concerns about the health implications of excess weight.

No one factor seems to be more motivating than others, though. In fact, 60% of respondents said they want to lose weight to address both mental health and physical health reasons, equally. On the other hand, nearly 1 in 4 overweight Americans prioritize weight loss for physical reasons versus mental health reasons.

Digging into these motivations can provide valuable insights for creating and implementing weight loss strategies that are easier to stick to.

Navigating Weight Loss Strategies

There are plenty of different methods people try in their weight loss endeavors. From exploring different diets to trying a variety of workouts and exercises, our findings highlight the success rates and efficiency of different approaches to lose weight that people have tried in their journey.

What methods have you tried in your efforts to lose weight?

For men who want to lose weight, the most common strategy for losing weight is increased exercise. Whereas for women, eating less sugar and drinking more water are the go-tos.

Dietary Explorations

In anyone’s weight loss journey, they may turn to trying a variety of different types of diets to see results.

We take a close look at some of the most popular diets for weight loss and how many people are trying them, giving us a better idea of what’s going on with people’s eating habits during their efforts to lose weight.

Which diets have you tried in your efforts to lose weight?

Men and women may approach their weight loss efforts in different ways. That’s why we also broke down the diets most commonly used by men and women in their weight loss journey.

What diets have you tried in your efforts to lose weight?

Women are more likely than men to try different diets in their weight loss efforts. Low-carb (35%) and low-fat (34%) diets are the most commonly tried when women are aiming to lose weight. However, men opt for low-fat diets (25%) first.

Popular diets for losing weight and their adoption rate can help inform both individuals and their healthcare providers about dietary trends, and what that health impact could look like.

Barriers to Success

Obstacles to successful weight loss can go beyond the physical.

What do you believe is prevanting you from successfully losing weight?

Stress, lack of support, and other psychological and social factors play large roles as weight loss obstacles. However, there are plenty of other barriers which may not be as well known that hinder individuals from losing weight such as a lack of sleep.

Recognizing and addressing these barriers is increasingly important for a wholesome and holistic approach to weight management and weight loss.

Mental Health and Weight

Our mental well-being strongly influences weight loss in many important ways. For one thing, our emotions can affect how we eat—stress or feeling down might lead to comfort eating and make it harder to lose weight. Emotional eating is one of the most commonly cited reasons overweight American adults feel like they can’t lose weight successfully. So much so that 42% of overweight Americans feel emotional eating is one of the biggest barriers to losing weight.

Having a positive mindset helps us stick to healthy habits and stay motivated. On the flip side, if we’re dealing with mental health issues, it might be tough to stay on track with our weight loss goals.

The Unseen Impact

There is an intricate and complex relationship between weight and mental health. Body image issues, reduced self-esteem, depression, anxiety, social implications, and stigma paint a comprehensive picture of the often unseen consequences of weight-related struggles.

How does being overweight affect your mental health?

Depression, anxiety, and poor self-esteem or body image are the most common mental health impacts people feel when it comes to how being overweight affects their mental health status. But that’s not all, especially because being overweight affects so many different facets of self image and an individual’s confidence.

50% of overweight Americans feel the inclination to withdraw from social interactions. Even further than that, more than half of Americans who identify as overweight feel they face limitations in their day-to-day activities.

It becomes startlingly clear that being overweight can really impact an individuals’ mental health.

Benefits of Obtaining
a Healthy Weight

Beyond the Scale

When anyone gets started on their weight loss journey, they anticipate benefits beyond the numbers on a scale. Increased energy, improved self-confidence, better physical mobility, and better mood regulation as well as mental well-being are among the benefits that motivate individuals to persevere towards their goals.

What do you think would be the biggest benefits for you attaining a healthy weight?

Most can agree: better health is the most important reason to attain a healthy weight. But as the results show, improved self-confidence and self-esteem are also incredibly important to people who want to find themselves at a healthy weight. 

Weight Loss Surgery Considerations

Weighing the Options

For those contemplating weight loss surgery, concerns about possible complications, costs, and recovery time are important considerations.

53% of overweight Americans find that cost is the biggest barrier in their consideration of weight loss surgery. Among other barriers, physical considerations like possible complications (45%), the level of pain (35%), and the length of recovery time (33%) are the other three most common concerns when it comes to this type of weight loss intervention, respectively.

Even though weight loss surgery can be beneficial, there are many misconceptions people have about the procedure. 66% of overweight Americans believe that weight loss surgery is always dangerous, for example. But conversely, some myths around weight loss surgery are widely understood to be false. One such myth is that weight loss surgery doesn’t require any lifestyle changes. 83% of respondents believe this to be false (which is correct).

Weight loss surgery may not be the right answer for all patients or individuals on their weight loss journey, but myth-busting and pushing through for information about the intervention is important. We hope the insights around weight loss surgery and weight loss drugs can offer some clarity on the realities of these interventions.

Prescription Weight Loss Drugs

We aim to provide a glimpse into awareness levels, factors considered by individuals, and their real-world experiences. It’s crucial to have this information to guide both users and their healthcare professionals while navigating pharmaceutical options for weight management.

What best describes your experience with prescription weight loss drugs like Ozempic?

Prescription weight loss drugs aren’t necessarily widely adopted. 27% of Americans haven’t heard of drugs like Ozempic, while another 43% of overweight Americans have heard of the drug, but haven’t tried it yet.

Why not?

What factors did you consider when contemplating a weight loss drug like Ozempic

Side effects (55%), cost (49%), and health risks (48%) are the main factors individuals say they consider when the question of prescription weight loss drugs, such as Ozempic, come into play. The long-term success rate (32%) of Ozempic is another factor respondents took into consideration, although the majority of users (53%) of this particular medication are on the medication for less than two years.

How long have you been taking a weight loss drug like Ozempic

The most common time length that someone is prescribed Ozempic is less than six months, according to the 1 in 4 Americans who responded they took the drug for this period of time.

With side effects being one of the most imperative concerns of most Americans considering weight loss drugs like Ozempic, we wanted to dive into the common side effects of the medication.

According to those who have tried Ozempic, most side effects are either not noticeable or very mild. 44% of those who have tried Ozempic report having no nausea or vomiting, or heart palpitations, which are some of the most commonly reported side effects. When it comes to acute side effects, heart palpitations are reported by 30% of users to be the most severe.

Conclusion

Setting realistic weight loss goals is vital for long-term success as drastic and rapid weight loss can be detrimental to your health and difficult to maintain. The gold standard of weight loss of between 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Our findings go beyond the typical discourse on weight loss, offering a nuanced understanding of the trends, challenges, and motivations that shape individuals’ journeys. We hope to continue urging our patients for a holistic approach to weight management that addresses the mental, emotional, and physical aspects of well-being.

For sustained weight loss and maintainable efforts, it’s important to pursue healthier lifestyles, informed choices, and a collective commitment to well-being beyond the scale.

Methodology

Batash Endoscopic Wellness surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults who identify as overweight about their experiences with weight loss, weight gain, and the challenges associated with being overweight. This survey was completed online in August 2023 and responses were random, voluntary, and completely anonymous.

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