'I'm Too Big' 78% Of Women Say

Armen Hareyan's picture

More than three-fourths of all women (78%) are larger than they want to be, with more than half (56%) wanting to be a size 8 or smaller (even though the average size is 12). As a result, most women who feel too big avoid activities such as going to the beach and shopping for clothes. So finds a new survey of 2,000 women, conducted by TSC, a division of Yankelovich and sponsored by Slim-Fast, that looked at a health and social issue of "growing" importance, the psychology of size - or how women see themselves physically.

Among the key findings:

-- Of the women who avoid certain activities, 65% avoid going to the beach or pool, 42% shopping for clothes and 40% being nude in front of her partner

-- Only one woman in five considers herself to be her ideal size


-- Women would need to lose an average of 38 pounds to reach what they consider an ideal size

"How you feel about your appearance affects how you live your life, especially your attitude toward yourself," says Dr. Denise Martz, a clinical health psychologist, professor and expert on body image, who helped guide the survey. "The wider the gap between your ideal size and your actual size, in fact, the less likely you are to feel happy, confident, attractive, sexy or in control."

Dr. Martz, who designed the survey, believes the results are potentially empowering: in understanding themselves better, women may be better able to adopt healthier attitudes toward body image and weight loss. Indeed, the best reasons the survey found for women to lose weight have to do with the rewards achievable, such as: being healthy (80 %), feeling better (76 %) and having more energy (74 %). More importantly, almost three in four women (74 %) said that you can wear a large size and still "feel good about yourself." "The most practical advice I can offer you is this: develop realistic weight loss goals," Dr. Martz says. "Only then will you be able to find the weight that's right for you."

The survey also shows that women's attitudes about their appearance are heavily influenced by the media. In fact, 75% of women agree that they will not be able to accept themselves at their true size until they stop being so influenced by the media. Further, 63% admit it is "very difficult" for women to have a positive self image if they wear a large size of clothing. And nearly all women (89%) agree that losing some excess weight is always healthier even if a person doesn't reach their ideal size.

In tandem with these survey results, Slim-Fast has launched a new advertising campaign that represents a new point of view for the brand, called "Find Your Slim." The campaign features women representing "real" body shapes and sizes with messages such as, "We believe in hips, not hip bones ... "

"Even if you lose only ten pounds, even if you go down only one dress size, you're going to look better, feel better and be healthier," said Patricia Groziak, a Registered Dietitian and Senior Manager of Medical Marketing for Slim-Fast. "That's the message that 'Find Your Slim' is intended to send."