Press release: Dec 2016 | WW UK

Mirror mirror on the wall, Brits don't want to look at you at all

Press Release

40 per cent of Brits avoid looking in mirrors because they hate what they see

Over a quarter (28 per cent) shop online to avoid changing room mirrors

New research out today reveals the UK is a nation of reflection-dodgers with 40 per cent of Brits deliberately dodging mirrors because they are unhappy with their appearance.

The research, commissioned by Weight Watchers, found that the average adult will look at themselves in a reflective surface at least three times a day, but 57 per cent of women and 45 per cent of men hate what they see. Furthermore, body-conscious Brits are going to extreme lengths to avoid catching a glimpse of their reflection. 15 per cent say they have removed mirrors from their homes, whilst 28 per cent say they prefer shopping online to avoid the changing room mirror.

The research of over 2,000 men and women was commissioned by Weight Watchers to mark the release of YES, a new film by BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Gary Tarn, which follows four Weight Watchers members who collectively lost more than 27 stone (384lbs) by adopting healthier food habits, being more active, attending weekly meetings and using Weight Watchers suite of digital tools. The film documents the moment they achieved their target weight – including Anabel Bonner, 29, who lost seven stone in order to fit into her dream wedding dress.

The top ten cities or towns that are the biggest mirror avoiders are:

Norwich, 50 per cent avoid mirrors
Cardiff, 48 per cent avoid mirrors
Brighton, 45 per cent avoid mirrors
Glasgow, 44 per cent avoid mirrors
Nottingham, 43 per cent avoid mirrors
Newcastle, 42 per cent avoid mirrors
Birmginham, 42 per cent avoid mirrors
Bristol, 42 per cent avoid mirrors
Leeds, 41 per cent avoid mirrors
Sheffield, 40 per cent avoid mirrors

Julia Westgarth, Programme Development Manager at Weight Watchers comments: “It is worrying that so many people feel unhappy or ashamed of their bodies. To know that people in the UK would go to such extents to avoid mirrors and have such low self esteem is concerning. We hope that YES will inspire people to start on their weight loss journey, whatever their motivation. The idea behind the film is to focus on what can be achieved off the scales as well as on, and the impact success can have on the rest of your life. Anabel, Caroline, Nigel and Dee have all been on their own unique journey and now feel empowered to lead healthier lives.”

Gary Tarn, filmmaker, comments: “Each person I filmed has been able to reach their goal weight, and in some cases completely transform their appearance. But what I was more interested in showing was how success is often measured in ways we might not expect – for example, fitting into that dream wedding dress, or being happy to look at oneself in the mirror – rather than simply by the numbers on a scale, and so the film focuses on those moments. It's a different way of looking at how people have managed their weight, both intimate and honest, and I hope these stories will resonate and inspire others."

Julia continues: “Weight Watchers holistic approach to weight management encourages men and women to focus on their lifestyle as a whole, not just the number on the scales - and our unique SmartPoints and No Count plans teach members how to have a positive relationship between food, mind and body for good. And it’s working. With a 24 hour, 360º support network of meetings and online tools, research shows you could lose up to seven times more weight with Weight Watchers than on your own.”

YES stars:

Anabel Bonner, 29, Brough, Yorkshire

Anabel comfort ate in her youth after her parents divorce, but decided to lose weight when she got engaged, as she wanted to fit into her perfect wedding dress. Starting her journey as a size 22, Anabel joined Weight Watchers and lost seven stone through relearning how to cook and eating healthily. She knew she had hit her target when she was able to walk down the aisle in a size 14 dress.

Anabel’s top weight loss tip: “Set smaller goals along your journey and treat yourself – whether it is a new pair of shoes, a handbag or a smaller size of clothing.”

Caroline Kulemeka, 31, Birmingham

The weight piled on for Caroline when she started working and had no time for cooking. When she reached a size 18 her health became an issue so she joined Weight Watchers and her Coach helped with her eating plans and encouraged her to take up exercise. As she began to lose weight, she decided to take up running. She now finds it easier to control her eating and runs most days. She knew she had achieved her target when she was able to run non-stop for 30 minutes. Caroline has lost eight stone.

Caroline’s top weight loss tip: “Do not be too hard on yourself. Every movement and effort, no matter how small, makes a difference – even if it is just drinking more water than usual in a week. Your body recognises this and gives you back tenfold.”

Nigel Johnson, 31, Oxford

Nigel decided to join Weight Watchers after a holiday at Disney World in Florida where he could not fit into the seat of his favourite ride. He uses the Weight Watchers app to track his meals and activity and has lost over ten stone. Nigel knew he had achieved his target when he was able to look at himself in the mirror again.

Nigel’s top weight loss tip: “If you do not see results on the scales, it is OK. You should never feel let down, because a non-scale victory is as rewarding as a scale victory.”

Dee Edgar, 61, Thames Ditton, Surrey

Dee joined Weight Watchers after she turned 50 and used her weekly meetings as ‘me time’ during a stressful period of her life. She had always been interested in acting and modelling after starring in shows as a young woman. Dee lost over two stone after her mother suggested she needed to. She knew she had achieved her target when she felt confident enough to step in front of the camera again.

Dee’s top weight loss tip: “Use the support of others as strength. Although I am a more solitary person who likes to quietly get on with little fanfare or fuss, I found the camaraderie, support and friendship of my meeting group invaluable, inspirational, and confidence boosting.”

For more Weight Watchers stories and tips go to Twelve members who collectively lost close to 92 stone will be appearing in the March issue of Weight Watchers Magazine on sale February 1st at all Weight Watchers meetings, the online shop and all major retailers.

– Ends –

For more information please contact the Weight Watchers press office on 020 7100 7100 / 079 2080 2361 or

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Access to weekly meetings + all the great benefits of Online


Follow the program 100% Online or on the WW app

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Notes to Editors

About the Research

Weight Watchers questioned 2,000 men and women across the UK with Censuswide between 16 and 55 in December 2016 and January 2017.

About Weight Watchers International, Inc.

Weight Watchers International, Inc. is the world’s leading commercial provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations. Weight Watchers holds more than 32,000 meetings each week where members receive group support and learn about healthy eating patterns, behaviour modification and physical activity. Weight Watchers provides innovative, digital weight management products through its websites, mobile sites and apps. Weight Watchers is the leading provider of paid digital subscription weight management products in the world. Weight Watchers offers a wide range of food products, publications and programmes for those interested in a healthier lifestyle.

Weight Watchers was ranked number 1 in U.S. News 2017 Best Diets Ranking for Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet, Best Weight-Loss Diet, Easiest to Follow and Best Commercial Diet Plan. U.S. News & World Report is the global authority in rankings and consumer advice, offering rankings of 38 diet plans across nine categories. To calculate the rankings, U.S. News consulted an expert panel of top nutritionists, dietary consultants and physcicians speicalising in diabetes, heart health and weight loss.