No, I’m not referring to the edible, delicious variety of cookies you have with warm milk, but rather to the cookies used to identify users who visit websites. These tiny little files stored on users’ computers primarily exist as a means through which webmasters can improve the user’s experience when you visit and return the sites you visit, such as remembering some of your preferences, etc. This isn’t a programming lesson in cookies either, but rather a look at how these little files (up to 4 kilobytes) can reveal a lot about how we generally view weight issues and the ambitions we have around our weight goals.
In this particular instance it goes beyond cookies however, in that the numbers referenced come from a company which has made it their business to organise the world’s information, Google. So what does Google say about our weight loss ambitions?
We’re a Weight-Conscious Society
An overall analysis of the number of search-engine queries related to health and fitness suggests that we are a society which is quite fixated on weight. As is to be expected, losing weight fast leads the way as a matter of concern to most people who are conscious about their weight, but what it rather interesting is that there are quite a lot of searches surrounding weight gain as well.
Although dwarfed by searches related to losing weight, HOW TO GAIN WEIGHT is a search phrase queried at an average of 6,600 times per month, translating to 79,200 searches per year, which does very little to balance out the scale, but is a significant observation nonetheless. On the other side of the coin, as is to be expected perhaps, HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FAST comes in as the most popular search phrase in the UK around health and fitness matters, clocking 40,500 average monthly searches. This amounts to 486,000 per year.
BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT is a search phrase that fetches a monthly average of 14,800 (177,600 per year), which is perhaps a better approach to losing weight than harbouring a desire to do it quickly, as quick fixes have proven time and again that they just don’t work – well not in a safe way, anyways.
Optimal Weight Range
While these numbers prove to be rather interesting, what further emerges – as a result of there being people in the UK who want to lose weight and those who want to gain weight – is that there appears to exist some sort of narrow band of what is considered to be optimal weight. If some people would like to find out how to gain a bit of weight, it obviously indicates that those people believe one can be too skinny or underweight, which is true because there is a level of skinniness which ventures well into the unhealthy range.
It’s quite a long road to have to travel from typing in generic search phrases to making use of weight loss shakes and other supplements, in conjunction with a long-term, healthy weight loss related exercise regime to get it right though. Either way, cookies and Google searches tell us that our view on weight loss and our associated ambitions have changed slightly from being fixated on being as skinny as possible to just perhaps maintaining a healthy weight.