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If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that things are better when we’re together – and that’s definitely true when it comes to weight loss.

In fact, a recent survey of 2,000 adults* revealed we’re less socially connected to others since the Covid-19 pandemic and that this has had a huge impact on the nation’s weight management.

Fast facts:

  • 38% of those surveyed said they feel less socially connected now than they did before the pandemic
  • Nearly half (44%) said they meet fewer people in real life than before March 2020.
  • 31% found it more difficult to manage their weight since the pandemic, with 12% of those saying it was much more difficult
  • More than one in three (36%) reported they had gained weight over the past two years

The study also found that, of those who gained weight, 72% have tried to lose weight in the past two years, with almost half (49%) embarking on a weight loss campaign more than once. Around a third (32%) said they were most likely to try to slim alone, with 13% saying they’d use a weight loss or fitness app.

Slimming World is the original social network

At Slimming World, we’ve been harnessing the slimming power of social connection for 53 years. Our own research found that feeling connected in a group of kind and understanding people – who care about your success and positively support you to succeed – makes all the difference when you’re trying to lose weight.

Our poll of Slimming World members** also found that:

  • Three in four said they felt more confident and self-assured as a result of joining a Slimming World group
  • 73% made new friends
  • 68% felt more connected
  • 93% felt more committed to their weight loss

Slimming World members were also three times more likely than non-members to say they experienced no judgement or humiliation when losing weight; nearly five times more likely than non-members to feel they had received kindness and understanding, and more than four times more likely than non-members to say giving and receiving support had been part of their experience.***

There’s no substitute for the benefits of real-life connection

Dr Jacquie Lavin, special advisor on the science of weight management at Slimming World, says: 

“The sense of belonging our members experience within our groups helps to lift them out of the loneliness and isolation they tell us they feel, to shed any burden of guilt and shame they carry as a result of the way they believe they’re often treated in society, and to make them feel more valued.

We believe this feeling of being part of something and knowing that others genuinely care about your success is as important as our healthy eating plan when it comes to successful weight loss, as it’s what helps to keep members coming back to group to get the support they need on those weeks when their commitment might falter.

As their self-esteem and self-belief grows, which we find happens in our groups within just a few weeks, they feel safe enough to open up and do the deeper thinking needed to break ingrained habits and make changes. What’s more, they also have more confidence in their ability to adopt the new healthy, life-changing habits that the group supports them to build, and that makes losing weight easier and more successful in the long run.”

Joe’s story

Slimming World member Joe Thompson 5st weight loss before and after

At 19½st, Joe Thompson felt held back by anxiety and was desperate to lose weight – but found it difficult to slim on his own. Then he joined Slimming World and discovered a community of supportive slimmers who spurred him on to lose more than 5st. He says:

“I was so fearful of joining, but I needn’t have been. The Consultant, Lorna, was so reassuring and as I listened to the other members talking in group, I realised I wasn’t alone. There’s something about being in a space together like that, where we all feel safe enough to talk about our habits and temptations, which is a great connecting factor.

I feel such a part of my community now, which is an incredible feeling. My Slimming World group is amazing, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a more supportive group of people. I was having a tough time a few weeks ago and one of the members drove to my house to deliver some home-made Slimming World muffins! I’m constantly blown away by the kindness of the group.”

You can read Joe’s full story here.

If you’d like support to help you reach your dream weight – and maintain it for life – search for your nearest group and discover the power of social connection that only happens at Slimming World.

*Data relates to a nationally representative sample of 2,003 people in the UK surveyed between 25th and 28th July 2022. The research was conducted by Censuswide and commissioned by Slimming World.

**A random sample of 1,113 Slimming World members were polled via Slimming World’s member website during the same period

***Data compares results from 1,113 Slimming World members and 1,662 people in the nationally representative sample who were not members of Slimming World

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