The Benefits of Losing Weight

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Are you thinking about starting a weight loss program? Before you set a weight goal, it’s important to understand the benefits of losing weight. Understanding the wide range of weight loss benefits may help to keep you motivated during the challenging moments of your diet and exercise program. And every weight loss journey hits the skids at some point.

So to set yourself up for success, consider all of the different ways that losing weight may improve your social life, your medical and psychological health.

Make a list of the weight loss benefits that mean the most in your life and keep it in your weight loss journal. Then visit the list on the days when you feel like quitting.

Health Benefits of Losing Weight

You don’t have to lose hundreds of pounds to enjoy the medical benefits of weight loss.  If you are currently overweight or obese, you may be able to lose just a small amount of weight to improve your overall health.  In fact, some studies show that just a 5 to 10 percent decrease in your weight can change your health. These are some of the benefits you may see:

  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Decreased risk of certain cancers
  • Improved mobility
  • Decreased joint pain
  • Improved blood sugar levels
  • Decreased risk of stroke
  • Reduced back pain
  • Decreased risk or improvement in symptoms of osteoarthritis
  • Decreased risk or improvement in symptoms of sleep apnea

    Your doctor can provide more personalized information about the health benefits you can expect to see when you lose weight. For example, you may be able to decrease or eliminate certain medications or reduce your risk of disease.  Your doctor may also be able to provide a recommendation or referral to a registered dietitian or physical therapist to help you build a healthy weight loss program.

    Lifestyle Benefits of Losing Weight

    In addition to the medical benefits of weight loss, you may also experience an improved lifestyle if you slim down. Many successful losers report improvement in these areas:

    • More active social life
    • Greater confidence
    • Better sleep
    • Improved energy
    • Improved sex life
    • Decreased stress
    • Improved body image
    • Improved vitality
    • Improved mood

    Social Benefits of Losing Weight

    The medical and lifestyle benefits of losing weight may be enough to motivate you to stick to a diet and exercise program. But some dieters also lose weight to improve the quality of a relationship. For example, you might want to lose weight to save your marriage. Or you may be tempted to lose weight for your boyfriend or girlfriend. Perhaps you feel social pressure to slim down.

    This is an area where the benefits of losing weight get tricky. While some people have better relationships after weight loss, losing weight to make someone else happy is not always a smart idea. There may be other relationship problems that weight loss won't solve.

    And when you diet to make someone else happy, you might lose weight in the beginning, but the weight often comes back.

    How to Enjoy the Benefits of Weight Loss

    If you decide that there are significant reasons for you to lose weight, then there's no time like the present to start your weight loss journey. Your first step should be to set a reasonable goal. Then make small changes to your daily routine and eating habits.  Ask for weight loss help from your health care provider and from friends and family to make the process easier.

      Sources:

      CDC. Healthy Weight - it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle! Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed: June 6, 2015. 

      N. Lasikiewicz, K. Myrissa, A. Hoyland, C.L. Lawton. " Psychological benefits of weight loss following behavioural and/or dietary weight loss interventions. A systematic research review." Appetite January 2014.

      Nadia B. Pietrzykowska, MD, FACP. Benefits of 5-10 Percent Weight-loss. Obesity Action Coalition. Accessed: June 6, 2015. 

      NHS Choices. What are the benefits of losing weight? NHS England. Accessed: June 6, 2015.

      PubMed Health. Exercise, weight loss and osteoarthritis. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Accessed: June 6, 2015. 

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