WOMEN WEIGHT-LOSS MOTIVATION
More women than men want to lose weight, and this weight-loss desire is the driving force behind the higher levels of body dissatisfaction and eating problems in women. But why do so many women want to lose weight? French and Jeffery reported that weight status is strongly linked to dieting attempts. Overweight women are more likely to have a history of dieting, to have participated in a formal weight loss program, and to be currently dieting to lose weight. With the societal shift to a preference for a thin physique, normal and underweight women who have no health reasons to lose weight are now dieting at a startling rate. This highlights the role of societal pressure in motivating weight-loss efforts.
Chasing the thin ideal. This notion is supported in that women who turn to extreme dieting techniques generally have lower self-esteem. There are also interpersonal reasons why women may chase the thin ideal. Dieting may therefore represent attempts to avoid such negative social consequences. At an interpersonal level, physical attractiveness is an important attribute for females attracting a potential partner, and thinner women are judged by both men and women as being more desirable in a romantic relationship. Thus, women may diet in order to increase their chances of attracting or retaining a mate. Further, married women do not engage as frequently or intensely in dieting as do single women. Keel, Baxter, Heatherton, and Joiner found amongst a cohort of women followed from late adolescence to midlife that married women displayed a greater decrease in disordered eating than unmarried women and Vogeltanz-Holm et all found that remaining single was a predictor of more intense dieting at the five-year follow-up for women in their thirties.