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In our survey of more than 2,000 adults*, we found that more than half of slimmers have dieted in secret due to fears about being judged or failing, or because they felt embarrassed about needing to lose weight.

Solo slimmers aged 18-24 are most likely to diet in secret (81%), while men who are secretly dieting are more likely than women to eat or drink unhealthily in front of others – for example accepting cakes and biscuits in the office – to keep up appearances. 

People secretly trying to lose weight use approaches like ditching takeaways, researching weight loss methods online, cutting out carbs and joining a gym.  

The findings reveal that going it alone isn’t an easy or sure-fire route to weight loss, though, and in a separate survey of 2,459 Slimming World members**, 87% said that they’d been more successful since joining.

87% of those who'd tried to lose weight in secret before joining Slimming World said they'd been more successful as a member

Why does secret slimming fail? 

Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s special advisor on the science of weight management, says: “Worries about our weight can feel deeply personal, so it’s natural to think that going it alone might be best. 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.

At Slimming World, we know (and our members tell us) that 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. This is often missing from weight loss attempts that we embark on alone, and it’s what makes joining a Slimming World group so effective.”

What sets Slimming World apart? 

  • The power of peer support: Our members realise that they’re not alone in the challenges they face. That’s combined with our personalised approach, which helps every member discover more about themselves as a slimmer, identify their own pitfalls and danger zones, and create plans to overcome them. 
  • The accountability of attending a regular group: 90% of members said the private weekly weigh-in was key in helping them to lose weight. 

Slimming World member Sophie Ratcliffe, who’s lost 11st since joining her local group in Hayle, Cornwall, says: “In the past, I’d tried to lose weight, but with no real structure in place. I wouldn’t tell anyone and would just count calories or cut out carbs. I thought it would be easier that way, rather than making a big fuss about trying to slim and then not being successful. Ironically, though, because of that, it never worked.” 

Slimming World member Sophie Ratcliffe before and after transformation

“Everyone was really friendly and welcoming at Slimming World. I thought I’d be weighed in front of the whole group, told what to eat and given a weight I should be. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I found Food Optimising fitted around my life and the things I enjoyed eating, so I never felt hungry. And being in a group of people who were all like me made me realise I wasn’t alone. I started to feel like if they could do it, so could I. And, this time – with the support of my group – I did!”

You can read Sophie’s full slimming success story here

*2,000 UK adults currently dieting/trying to lose weight were polled by OnePoll between 2nd and 8th December 2022

**2,459 Slimming World members were surveyed between 2-8 December 2022

Read more about the research here

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