Aussies are determined to lose weight this spring, with more than three quarters (76%) of those who gained weight during COVID lockdowns still holding onto the extra kilos – and an average of almost 6kg over their pre-pandemic weight.
The research from WeightWatchers, one of Australia’s largest weight loss companies, reports that springtime is the motivation for many to get back on track and reach their health goals, with losing weight ranking as the top health goal (26%), followed by eating healthier (17%) and staying motivated and happy (14%).
Interestingly, despite over 1 in 3 (35%) feeling more motivated to lose weight this past winter out of lockdown, nearly two-thirds (63%) found their weight fluctuates in winter, and almost 1 in 2 (47%) reported gaining weight in winter.
The top factor negatively impacting willpower to maintain a healthy lifestyle this winter was craving comfort foods (45%). This was followed by the roadblocks of avoiding exercise because of the cold (39%) and finding it hard to get out of bed for morning exercise (33%). When investigating dietary habits, eating more carb rich foods (81%), and the quantity of food consumption proved significantly higher in winter - having second helpings (66%) and upsizing portions (64%).
Moreover, the arrival of hybrid work models has thrown people’s plans into chaos, affecting people’s eating habits, exercise patterns and mental health. One-third (31%) find it harder to maintain a healthy routine, with nearly half (44%) reporting difficulty getting back on track and into the same exercise regime.
Contrastingly, compared to winter behaviours, only 14% eat more carb-heavy foods in spring, and just 17% go for second helpings. The attribution of spring to the rise of healthier habits is influenced by positive past experiences, with over 1 in 4 saying they tend to lose up to 5kg (25%) or 10kg (27%) in spring.
Looking into the spring season, reducing intake of comfort foods, sticking to an exercise routine, and monitoring weight are the top things 50% of Australians will prioritise to meet their health goals. In addition, 1 in 5 plan to use a health or wellness app (20%) and opt for healthy meal service (17%).
“It’s fantastic that many of us feel optimistic about kick-starting our health journey in spring and make a positive change to feel good,” said Nicole Stride, dietitian at WeightWatchers. “In preparing for the warmer months, however, it’s important people don’t feel pressure to fast-track weight loss and use crash diets, which can negatively impact one’s health long-term.”
“With the support of an award-winning app, real coaches, and social community, WeightWatchers’ programs are designed to provide guidance and support for personalised weight loss journeys and help relieve routine disruption and stress around seasonal changes. The trick is starting for progress, not perfection. It’s about building simple habits to lose weight for good and make healthy changes manageable.”