SheByShe Survey Identifies Stress as Top Trigger for Women’s Indulgences

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35% of Women Turn to a Favorite Indulgence When Stressed; 71% Indulge at Least Once a Week

“ Many women don’t need a trigger at all. They just want to take a moment to enjoy a special treat during the day,” said Janet Helm,registered dietitian and Nutrition Unplugged blogger.

SheByShe™, a new women’s opinion site dedicated to giving women a voice, today announced the results of its “Guilty Pleasures” survey designed to explore how and why women turn to favorite indulgences. The survey found that stress is a top trigger causing women to turn to a favorite indulgence and that the majority of women indulge at least once a week. The study also found that women prefer guilty pleasures that are affordable, accessible, and convenient, such as junk food.

Overall 35% of women said their favorite indulgence “helps them relax when stressed.” Another 35% said they indulge for “no particular reason at all.” Twenty-eight percent said indulging “helps cheer them up when depressed,” and 25% said their indulgence “helps them escape.”

The survey found that the majority of women, 71%, indulge in their guilty pleasures at least once a week, with 33% enjoying their indulgence daily.

“This study reconfirms that women are juggling hectic schedules that lead to the common need to relieve stress and escape. Many women don’t need a trigger at all. They just want to take a moment to enjoy a special treat during the day,” said Janet Helm, registered dietitian and Nutrition Unplugged blogger.

Nearly one-third of all women prefer some form of junk food as their guilty pleasure, scoring ahead of chocolate, massage, sex and everything else. Overall, according to the survey, 63% of the top guilty pleasures have something to do with food. Junk food, chocolate, food/eating were all ranked ahead of the fourth most cited guilty pleasure, sex. Only 6% of women cited sex as their top guilty pleasure.

“It’s no secret that people eat for reasons beyond hunger, but feeling guilty or ‘bad’ after eating what you think is ‘bad’ simply makes matters worse,” continued Helm. “Food should be a source of pleasure, not guilt. Women should feel like they have permission to take time out of the day to enjoy a treat. When you totally ban favorite foods, such as chocolate, they gain more power over you. So you’re more likely to over eat when you do give in.”

One survey respondent said, “There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure,” echoing Helm’s position.

“When women learn to disassociate food from guilt, it moves them in the right direction. Food should be enjoyed, not feared. But still, it’s important to find ways to deal with stress and other emotions that don’t lead to overeating,” continued Helm.

Top 10 “Guilty Pleasures” Enjoyed by Women

According to the survey, the Top 10 Guilty Pleasures Enjoyed by Women are as follows:
1.    Junk Food
2.    Chocolate
3.    Food/Eating
4.    Sex
5.    Spa Treatment
6.    Alcoholic Beverage
7.    Reading
8.    Shopping
9.    Sleeping
10.    Watching TV

SheByShe is Providing Women a Voice

The complete SheByShe “Guilty Pleasures” report can be found at The survey was conducted in January 2014 and represents U.S. women, ages 25-64, with a 95% confidence level, ± 6.55%, 224 total respondents.

About SheByShe

SheByShe is a women’s opinion site dedicated to sharing what women think about important issues. SheByShe is committed to being objective and transparent. SheByShe is not affiliated with any political party, religion or other group. Surveys are fielded to cover current social, lifestyle, economic, and political issues. Results are posted on and are shared with key influencers and publicized through major media and information dissemination sources. Participating women feel satisfied that they are speaking up and sharing their point-of-view. For more information or to contact SheByShe please go to


SheByShe is a trademark of SheByShe. All other product names and trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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