The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a whole host of things that have made our lives more complicated over the last year.

And while we all battle to stay healthy, there's another battle brewing thanks to an unintended consequence from our change in lifestyle since early 2020.

A new survey from biotech company Gelesis shows that 71 million Americans have gained weight throughout the pandemic, which not only carries a physical toll, but an emotional one as well. In that same survey, nearly two-thirds of those polled to admit that their weight impacts how they feel about their identity, particularly among women and parents.

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However, as a new year approaches, the survey also found that, months into the pandemic, Americans are more determined than ever to lose weight and maintain healthy habits.

The survey highlights the challenges of the weight loss process itself, and the heightened insecurities and barriers for people who are on the quest to shed pounds. The survey found 63% of Americans surveyed agree that healthy lifestyle habits are harder to keep in the midst of COVID-19, over half (52%) of Americans surveyed have been feeling down about the way they look during the pandemic, and nearly 3 in 5 Americans are on a mission to lose weight.

Some other insights from the survey:

  • 40 million Americans who are currently trying to lose weight would give up social media for the year if it meant being able to lose 10 or more pounds
  • Nearly a quarter (22%) of Americans trying to lose weight would give up sex for the rest of the year to lose 10 pounds
  • Just don’t take away their Netflix. In a year with limited entertainment or social options, only 17% said they would be willing to give up their favorite TV or streaming service
  • Nearly three in five Americans (58%) say they need more support to lose weight, and 42% don’t feel their health care provider helps enough with their weight loss goals
  • 148 million Americans would be open to trying a naturally derived weight loss aid to support them in their journey
  • 116 million Americans who have ever tried losing weight agree the weight loss journey itself is almost as miserable as being overweight; noting the cost of healthy foods, lack of time, eating in moderation, and being deterred by slow results as barriers to their goals

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