Setting a weight loss goal is easy. Achieving it is a different story altogether. Your body will fight back, you will struggle, and you will consider giving up.
But before setting any goal, it is crucial to understand what it means to lose that extra pound of weight. The wide range of benefits may motivate you when you feel like giving up.
When you hit a rough patch, think of how the weight loss journey can help you achieve — improved social life and physical and psychological health.
For example, research shows that losing just about 5 percent of your weight can significantly improve your mental and physical health. Losing up to 10 percent will go a long way in reducing the risk of certain diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Losing weight is also associated with improved sleep, self-confidence, boosted sex drive, and increased energy levels.
This means that you don’t necessarily need to lose a lot of weight to enjoy some health benefits. If you had tried before and given up along the way, perhaps the following advantages can help you get back on course.
Why Weight Loss is Important
These benefits are achieved when you lose between 5 and 10 percent of your weight. This post also includes how to lose weight safely.
a) Weight Loss Regulates Blood Sugar and Diabetes
Weight reduction is linked to improved insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. Also, the extra body fat causes an increase in adipose tissue, which h causes inflammation, interfering with the function of insulin (the hormone responsible for blood sugar regulation.
By adopting a diet that helps you lose weight or through intense workouts, you will significantly reduce the adipose tissue.
Your body is then permitted to manage blood sugar more efficiently. Research agrees that losing just about 5 percent of your body weight improves blood sugars in adults. These results are visible once you lose only 5 percent of your body weight.
b) You Reduce the Risk of Getting Heart Disease
Weight loss contributes to a reduced risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. It reduces the pressure of the arteries ensuring that the heart doesn’t overwork while pumping blood throughout the body.
The improved heart health results from lower blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. This kind of cholesterol is considered “bad” and can make you vulnerable to heart disease.
How you shed off the pounds doesn’t matter. Whether through a diet, workout, or medical process, you will still enjoy these benefits, as evidenced by a 2020 study.
Researchers examined the effects of weight loss surgery on obese patients who either had weight loss surgery or lost weight through lifestyle changes. The risk of heart disease for the surgical group decreased after a 5% to 10% loss of body weight, while the nonsurgical group saw a decrease after losing about 20% of body weight.
c) Weight Loss Decreases the Risk of Stroke
Apart from exposing you to the likelihood of getting cardiovascular diseases, too much weight can cause stroke due to an increase in blood pressure. The elevated pressure forces your blood vessels to strain while pumping blood. As a result, they become stiffer, and blood clots may occur.
Losing weight will help relieve the pressure on your blood vessels, improving their efficiency and allowing for optimal and appropriate functioning.
d) Weight Loss Improves Sleep
Sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight. Sleep apnea is characterized by disrupted breathing during sleep. Excess weight often leads to increased fat deposits around the neck area, obstructing the airways.
Of course, losing weight will not eliminate sleep apnea entirely; however, losing between 10 and 15 percent of your body weight can make breathing much more effortless. Your sleep quality will improve, and the severity of sleep apnea will be significantly minimized.
e) Losing Weight Improves Mobility
An overweight person typically experiences increased pressure on knees and joints, making movement somewhat difficult. Losing weight can make things much more manageable.
A 2012 study on obese adults with type 2 diabetes showed that as little as a 1 percent drop in weight improved mobility among the participants. Limitations such as difficulty walking or climbing the stairs dropped by over 7 percent.
f) Losing Weight Helps You Achieve Higher Self-Esteem
While this may seem a little far-fetched, some studies have established a link between weight loss and improved self-esteem. These studies show that losing weight can improve mood and self-confidence.
In 2014, a review of 36 studies used to determine the psychological benefits of weight loss found consistent improvements in body image, self-worth, and general well-being among subjects who lost weight.
g) Weight Loss Decreases Joint Pain
Packing on a lot of weight can lead to joint pain resulting from stress, inflammation, or damage. Losing weight can help ease this pain.
A study conducted in 2018 on obese adults with arthritis found that a drop in participants’ weight by between 10 and 20 percent caused much less pain and improved joint function compared to losing only 5 percent of weight. A 5 percent cut in weight yielded no significant results.
Researchers largely attributed the difference to how quickly joints wear down under pressure from excess weight. A damaged or the wearing down of the smooth ends of the bones or cartilage causes pain and stillness.
h) You Get Boosted Energy Levels
It is not uncommon to find overweight individuals having difficulty moving around. This happens because the body is working too hard to enhance movement.
Since losing weight can help you sleep better, you will also feel more energized when your body utilizes less energy to help you move around.
This also improves your respiratory function, which causes you to feel more energized.
i) Weight Loss Boosts Your Sex Drive
Research on how excess weight and sex drive are related is still underway. Nevertheless, weight gain has been established as a factor that increases the sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in a person’s blood. This effect lowers free testosterone levels and, in turn, decreases your libido.
j) Weight Loss Reduces the Risk of Cancer
The American Cancer Society notes that the cause of 11 percent and 5 percent of cancers experienced by women and men, respectively, are caused by excess body weight.
Obesity increases the chances of developing different types of cancer, including endometrial, breast, kidney, liver, and pancreatic cancer.
Despite these notions, the association between excess weight and cancer remains unknown, but experts believe it is due to the inflammation resulting from the fat surrounding organs (visceral fat). Therefore, losing weight could lower the risk of developing these cancers.
That said, it is ultimately essential to lose weight and remain healthy than packing a lot of pounds and being uncomfortable. The weight loss journey may not be easy, but it is doable. The best part is that you can easily do it if you are positive, committed, and working toward a goal.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Healthy Weight Loss Tips
Please note that your weight loss journey will differ from a testimony you read online or what your friend did to lose weight. But the following tips can help you begin:
- Have a goal in mind – this is the first thing you should do, and while at it, ensure that your goals are reasonable. Don’t be too ambitious and say you want to lose 30 percent of your weight. Instead, work on losing it gradually – that is, 5 percent, 10 percent, etc. as you work toward your ultimate goal.
- Consider your caloric needs – After setting your goals, you can utilize a weight loss calculator to determine the number of calories you need in a day. Your caloric requirement will depend on your current weight, height, sex, age, how much you are looking to lose, and your level of activity. A calculator will help you correctly determine the number of calories you will consume each day to lose a specific amount of weight.
- Consume fewer calories – Aside from determining your daily caloric intake using a calculator, it is essential to ensure that you put your body in a calorie deficit. This happens when you consume fewer calories than the body needs. As a result, your body burns fat for energy.
- Exercise regularly – Cutting down on carbs, eating fewer calories, or following a specific diet by themselves won’t help you lose sustainable weight. It would help if you always carried out some workouts that complement each weight-loss strategy. This will go a long way in accelerating progress and helping you achieve your goals faster.
- Keep track of your progress – Monitor your progress throughout the weight loss journey. You can do this by keeping a weight loss journal. It could be a diary or a piece of paper that helps you document the journey. On it, you can log in the food intake, caloric needs, sleep times, exercise, and everything else. Also, note down how it has positively or negatively affected you. Such a journal will help inspire your journey to becoming a healthy person.
- Get support – It is always good to know that there is someone out there that you can count on. As you strive to lose weight, find support from family or friends. You can also seek solace from support groups online. This way, you will stay connected to the people that know what you are going through and are willing to see you through successfully.
The Bottom Line
Weight loss goals are different for everyone. There are those who would like to lose as little as 5 percent, and then those who want to lose up to 20 percent. The journey, as it were, is not easy, but the benefits are apparent.
Even a weight loss struggle of as little as five percent yields significant benefits. You get improved heart health and a reduced risk of getting diabetes. However, as sweet as this sounds, it is important to consult with your doctor before getting into any weight loss program. They will advise you on the goals that will work, especially if you have an underlying medical condition.