Becky Hubbard was 10 when she first remembers hearing negative comments about her weight. And she’s been struggling on and off ever since.

During her teens and twenties, her desire to look thinner led her to try fad diets and take extreme measures to lose weight. More recently, she felt “a lot of pressure” to look a certain way at her wedding. Finally, at 38, her motivations changed.

“My husband and I want to start a family… When we started trying to have kids and weren’t successful, a real shift in my head happened,” she explained. “I want to be healthy for that.”

Her take on weight loss now focuses on making her health her top priority.

“(In the past) it was still really, ‘I want to look good. What’s the shortcut here?’ While now, I’m willing to put in the work, and I’m willing to adopt these healthy lifestyle choices because I want to be healthy and manage the health problems I’ve developed.”


Hubbard isn’t alone in avoiding a look-first mentality regarding weight. From a dwindling appetite for diet books to a recent study showing that health is more important than appearance, experts have reason to hope society’s view of weight loss is beginning to change.

In a survey conducted by the Mayo Clinic Diet Program, the eating and dieting habits of more than 200,000 Americans found that 83% of those surveyed wanted to lose weight for their health, not their appearance.

Dr. Donald Hensrud, the medical director of Mayo Clinic Diet, says that people typically approach weight management with a goal of weight in mind and focus on losing weight no matter how (including unhealthy measures). He called the recent survey results “encouraging.”

“I hope this is a change that people are looking for weight management with health in mind because that’s the most important factor,” he explains. “(It’s) a really big chunk of people. And that can make a big difference in how people approach this and what they can do to improve their health in the long run.”

While there is no exact comparative data, the benefits of a potential shift in how people view weight loss are twofold; physically, it keeps the focus on health and how one is feeling, and mentally it helps to put things at ease.

“When people focus on the process and focus on improving health, a quality of life, it takes the pressure off,” Hensrud says. “You don’t have to worry about seeing the numbers on the scale change.”

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What is causing this potential shift?

The pandemic could play a role in these results, following a global trend of increasing interest in health, wellness, and self-care.

For example, diet books that made it into the USA TODAY list’s Top 400 Archived Sales fell 70% in January 2021, the first of January after the pandemic hit the country in March 2020. 53%.

While retailers like Barnes & Noble saw diet books hit the shelves this year, it didn’t necessarily translate into sales.

“We’ve found that our readers’ focus continues to be on overall mental health and self-care. This focus translates into exceptionally strong fiction and personal growth sales, with significantly less emphasis on traditional diet books,” Shannon Devito, director of category management at Barnes & Noble, previously told USA TODAY. “Readers are more into building a robust reading list than counting their calories in 2022.”

Things can change, but not quite.

While weight loss motivations may shift, our view of our bodies as a never-ending project never seemed to change.

With the “Zoom boom” of plastic surgery, facial and neck treatment applications soared during the pandemic. And trends like butt and lip plumping are getting millions of views on social media.

The solution? A further shift in our priorities. Abigail Saguy, a sociology professor at UCLA, previously told USA TODAY that she hopes people will focus less on what their bodies look like and more on what their bodies can do.

She hopes people will focus less on the visual and more on “how does my body feel?”

Contributing: Mary Cadden and Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY

Suppose you or someone you know struggles with body image or eating issues. In that case, the National Eating Disorders Association’s toll-free and confidential helpline is available by phone or text at 1-800-931-2237 or via a click-to-chat message at nationalatingdisorders. .org/helpline. For 24/7 crises, text “NEDA” to 741-741.

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I have been blogging since August 2011. I have had over 10,000 visitors to my blog! My goal is to help people, and I have the knowledge and the passion to do this. I love to travel, dance, and play volleyball. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I started writing my blogs when I lived in California. I would wake up in the middle of the night and write something while listening to music and looking at the ocean. When I moved to Texas, I found a new place to write. I would sit in my backyard while everyone else was at work, and I could write all day.