In the authoritative online questionnaire, which looked at the weight management habits of more than 2,300 Australians, 69% of respondents identified that they were personally the main barrier to achieving their weight-loss goals.
Designed by Csiro, the government research agency, the survey was set up to investigate a cross-section of dieters, including those who had been successful and unsuccessful; those who were about to start on their weight-loss journey; and those who were currently in the process of managing their weight.
It found self-sabotaging dieters pointed to social activities (52%), high stress (41%), lack of motivation (41%), eating out (37%) and limited weight loss (36%) as barriers to losing weight.
Co-author Manny Noakes said support was critical for those seeking to lose weight.
“For many Australians, losing weight is a challenging experience,” said Professor Noakes.
“In addition to hampering their own efforts, the survey also showed that 40% of dieters stated that no one supported them in their weight-loss attempts.
“Health professionals, friends and family can all play a role in helping dieters eat better and control their weight.”
The survey also found that a lack of drive had hampered previous weight management attempts by half of those who had tried dieting but had since given up. Meanwhile, 56% said “life getting in the way” had proven to be their biggest hurdle.
Respondents said they wanted to lose an average of 11% of their body weight within the first six months, equating to an average of 9.4kg.
However, this optimism belied a nation of pessimists, with one in five respondents expecting to fail in their weight-loss goals within six months.
And 31% said that achieving their weight-loss goals was out of their control.