The Weight Loss Industry Cycle

You may be familiar with the weight loss cycle. In a nutshell, it looks like this:


Business of weight loss industry cycle


Why do we keep paying huge amounts of money when most weight loss “solutions” either don’t work, or aren’t sustainable?


The Reality of the Weight Loss Industry – Some Statistics

The global weight loss market reached a staggering $143 billion USD in 2022, highlighting the significant demand for solutions to combat obesity and achieve a healthier lifestyle.

By 2023, the weight loss industry reached approximately $154 billion, and is forecast to reach over $298 billion by 2030.

However, behind this booming industry lies a stark reality – a cycle of failure, shame, blame, and financial investment that often leads to disappointment rather than success.

Statistics reveal a harsh truth: approximately 80% of individuals attempting to lose weight fail within the first year of their journey. (And some research articles have this figure at 90–95%!)

Despite the abundance of products, programs, and promises flooding the market, the majority of people find themselves unable to sustain their weight loss efforts.


Why Do Weight Loss Programs Fail?

One of the contributing factors to this high rate of failure is the pervasive use of shame and blame marketing tactics within the industry. Advertisements often prey on your insecurities, promoting unrealistic body standards and suggesting that failure to achieve these standards is a personal flaw.

This approach not only perpetuates harmful stereotypes but also undermines your confidence and motivation, ultimately setting you up for failure.


Reinvesting After Failure Perpetuates the Cycle

In the face of initial failure, you might be encouraged to “try again” by investing further in weight loss products and programs.

In reality though, the cycle repeats itself as a significant portion of these investments – a staggering $123 billion USD – fail to yield the desired results.

Despite pouring money into various solutions, countless people find themselves back at square one, feeling defeated and disillusioned.


The Problem With Commercial Weight Loss Approaches

This vicious cycle highlights the complexities and challenges of the weight loss industry.

While there is undoubtedly a demand for effective solutions, the current approach often falls short of addressing the underlying issues contributing to weight gain and unsuccessful weight loss attempts.


How To Break The Weight Loss Industry Cycle?

So, what can be done to break free from this cycle of failure and financial investment?

From a health coaching perspective, my strongest recommendation is to invest in yourself rather than contributing to the growth of an industry that may not have your best interests at heart.

With personalized support and accountability from a professional health coach, you can start to see your patterns, habits and the underlying causes that are stopping you from achieving your weight-loss goals.


Looking more broadly, these are the systemic changes that are needed:


  1. There needs to be a shift away from shame and blame marketing tactics towards a more empathetic and supportive approach. Rather than exacerbating your insecurities, the industry should focus on promoting realistic goals, sustainable lifestyle changes, and positive self-image.
  2. There needs to be greater transparency and accountability within the industry. Consumers should have access to evidence-based information about the effectiveness of weight loss products and programs, allowing them to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.
  3. There is a need for greater emphasis on holistic approaches to weight loss that address not only physical but also psychological and emotional factors. This includes promoting body positivity, addressing underlying issues such as emotional eating and stress management, and providing comprehensive support systems for individuals on their weight loss journey.
  4. There needs to be recognition of the impact of socioeconomic standing on health and weight gain. Healthy food can be hard to obtain and even harder to afford for people on limited incomes. So the weight loss industry has close ties with the junk food industry…but that’s another blog post!


Lofty Ideas – So What Can I Do?

The above recommendations for breaking free from the weight loss cycle can’t begin to happen until we as consumers start demanding transparency and accountability.

If you’re considering investing in a weight loss program, plan or product, reach out and ask questions:

  • Is there proof that this approach works, and is sustainable?
  • Do you address the underlying issues that may be contributing to weight gain? Or do you just recommend controlling food intake?
  • Is there a holistic approach that considers movement, rest, social connection and mental health?

You may not find many programs that satisfy these questions! But if we all begin to ask them, eventually the weight loss industry will have to respond.

Finally, consider the differences in outcomes for people who have 1:1 support versus those investing in a one-size-fits-all program. From my perspective, there is no comparison, and the research is starting to prove that as well. People who seek coaching tend to lose more weight than those who don’t.


Personalized Weight Loss Health Coaching

If you would like to learn more about how a 1:1 program might be a fit for you, reach out today for a free health-planning session with me, to discuss your weight-loss goals and the approach that will work for you.