Survey says healthy eating postponed for the end of the year

A quarter of Americans are still carrying the weight they gained at the end of last year, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 general population Americans revealed that 60% of respondents gained weight toward the end of 2021, a time of year when many people celebrate with exchanging gifts, seeing family and eating more food than usual.

But despite 24% continuing to carry the weight they gained last year, they are still planning to be unhealthy this year — in fact, four in 10 respondents (42%) are using the end of the year as an excuse to postpone eating healthily.

Conducted by OnePoll, Herbalife Nutrition’s fifth annual “Writing Off the End of the Year” survey found 60% of those planning to postpone their healthy habits, have already started, admitting mid-November is their cut-off.

And the average respondent expects to gain five and a half pounds before 2023 — on top of any weight they’re still carrying around from last year’s holiday season.

This year’s survey also included a global component: in addition to the 2,000 Americans, 2,750 international respondents from five different countries were polled.

Americans aren’t the only ones making unhealthy choices toward the end of the year, and the survey revealed that 53% of all respondents admitted to breaking a diet at the end of the year — with 37% of those breaking it specifically due to the temptation of holiday food.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that 49% of those surveyed have found themselves waiting until the new year to try and lose weight.

Some respondents take this to a more extreme level than others: 41% have eaten more than one dessert at a meal, 35% admit eating more than one of the same meals in a day (for example, two dinners) and 35% have eaten more than three meals in a day.

Other respondents have eaten an extra-large midnight snack (26%), eaten so much that they’ve needed to undo a button or loosen their belt (24%) — or deliberately worn stretchy clothes to accommodate overeating (19%).

Despite how much respondents plan to eat as they approach the end of the year, respondents admit they’ll still be discarding about three pounds of uneaten food per week during this season.

“Many people overeat during holiday family and friend gatherings, but by consuming some protein rich snacks before the party, you won’t feel as hungry and therefore reduce the chances of overeating,” said Dr. Kent Bradley, Chief Health and Nutrition Officer at Herbalife Nutrition. “As our enjoyment of food is often in the first bite, it's best to enjoy the taste with just a small bite and avoid the discomfort of overeating this holiday. Also, if you are cooking the meal, keen meal planning with this idea of smaller taste size portions can help reduce food waste.”

While many respondents are planning to end 2022 on an unhealthy streak — they’re planning to start 2023 with a clean slate.

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed plan to adopt a “New Year, New Me” attitude in 2023.

And for almost half (46%), that new attitude involves making a New Year’s resolution, many of which are focused on improving their health.

The most common resolution was revealed to be saving more money (57%), followed by wanting to eat healthier (55%) and exercise more (54%).

Focusing more on self-care (49%) and improving their work-life balance (47%) rounded out the top five resolutions.

“The New Year is an excellent time to get back on track with a renewed commitment to year-round health, and although it’s common to gain weight at the end of the year, the most successful New Year's health resolutions combine nutritious balanced diets and exercise, along with specific and attainable goals,” added Bradley.


-Eaten more than one dessert at a meal — 41%

-Eaten more than one of the same meal in a day — 35%

-Eaten more than three meals in a day — 35%

-Eaten an extra-large midnight snack — 26%

-Eaten so much I've had to undo a button on my pants or loosen a belt — 24%

-Deliberately worn stretchy clothes to accommodate overeating — 19%

-Hid my favorite holiday foods/treats to save for later — 18%

-Eaten until I feel sick/unwell/full to bursting — 17%


-Save more money — 57%

-Eat healthier — 55%

-Exercise more — 54%

-Focus on self-care — 49%

-Improve my work/life balance — 42%

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 4,750 general population respondents (in six countries, including 2,000 Americans) was commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition between Oct. 11 and Oct. 25, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).