Your weight doesn’t determine how “healthy” you are, but sometimes losing weight to achieve a healthier-for-you weight can come with some pretty dope health perks. Here are 11 benefits of weight loss. We also have some terrific tips to help you hit your goals.
11 benefits of losing weight
Wondering what good may come from sticking to your weight loss journey? Losing weight may have several health benefits, including:
- boosting energy levels
- lowering cholesterol
- reducing blood pressure
- increasing mobility
- improving breathing
- reducing risk of heart disease or stroke
- preventing type 2 diabetes
- enhancing sleep-quality
- reducing risk of certain cancers
- improving mood
- increasing sex drive
Here’s how losing weight may help improve your health according to science.
Weight loss can improve respiratory function and sleep-quality. Removing excess weight also means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to get through the day. All of these benefits together can help you feel more energized.
Bonus: Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of chronic fatigue syndrome. Woot!
Being overweight is associated with unhealthy cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Research shows that obesity is linked to higher bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL).
A 2016 study found that among adults who were overweight or obese, losing 5 to 10 percent of their body weight reduced LDL cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. Another study found that even a 1 to 3 percent weight reduction can improve HDL levels.
Experiencing obesity and having overweight can increase your risk of high blood pressure. But remember, a number on the scale isn’t the only thing that counts. It also matters where the weight is placed. A 2018 study found that visceral fat — extra fat around your waist — is particularly dangerous.
Pssst. Here are some tips to help you trim your tummy area.
Carrying around extra weight can take a toll on your joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation, losing 10 pounds can take 40 pounds of pressure off your knees. More good news! A 2018 study of 174 participants found that weight loss reduced rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Losing weight can also help your mobility in the long term. A 2017 study analyzed 640 participants with obesity or overweight. Folks who lost weight over the course of 4 years showed less cartilage deterioration than those who didn’t.
Losing weight can help you prevent obesity-related breathing conditions like obesity hypoventilation syndrome. This disorder is caused by extra fat on the chest, neck, or abdomen, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Symptoms include feeling out of breath, fatigue, snoring, and headaches.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke, heart disease, and other cardiovascular diseases account for 1 in 3 deaths in the United States. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of these conditions.
P.S. It’s also super important to slay a healthy diet and stay active. Your heart will thank you for it 😍!
Many different factors are involved in the development of diabetes, but obesity is a leading risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. This condition happens when your body doesn’t respond to insulin correctly. As a result, your blood glucose (aka blood sugar) levels go up and you become even more resistant to insulin.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for your height and body type can help you prevent the disease if you’re overweight or experiencing obesity. According to the American Heart Association, a loss of 5 to 7 percent of body weight can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent if you’re in a high risk category.
Research shows that weight loss can also make a big impact in treating type 2 diabetes. It can improve insulin resistance and lower blood glucose levels which are important ways to manage the disease.
Studies show there’s a link between obesity and poor sleep quality. That can lead to lower energy levels and increased fatigue.
Maintaining a healthy weight can also reduce your risk of disorders that can impact your sleep like:
According to the American Cancer Society, excess body weight can increase your risk of certain types of cancer. This includes:
- and more
Scientists are still trying to pinpoint the exact link between obesity and cancer. But it might be because excess body fat can raise your risk of:
- inflammation in the body
- abnormal blood vessel and cell growth
- elevated levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
- increased adipokines (hormones that can screw with cell growth)
Some studies suggest weight loss can increase confidence and your overall mood. This might be due to the lifestyle changes used as a weight loss tool.
There’s a direct link between diet and depression. So while losing weight prob can’t cure depression, a healthy diet can help you stave off the packaged-food blues. Try to avoid processed foods and added sugars and stick to a balanced diet filled with fresh veggies, fruits, legumes, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
Increasing your activity level can also work wonders. Research shows exercising on the reg can improve anxiety symptoms as well as help ease depression.
Losing weight might lead to a more active sex life. Researchers are still trying to work out the exact correlation between sex drive and body mass index (BMI). But studies show weight gain can increase sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels in your blood. That’s a science-y way of saying extra weight may decrease your libido.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, too low of a body eight, excessive dieting, or overly restricting calories can also inhibit sex drive and libido.
Here are some tips to help you lose weight sustainably.
- Set realistic goals. You’re not going to hit your target overnight, fam. And in fact, you shouldn’t! Extreme weight loss methods aren’t healthy. Take things one pound at a time and try not to get discouraged if you hit a plateau.
- Snack smart. When a snack attack hits, fill up on healthy choices like fresh fruits, veggies, lean protein, or healthy fats. You can also nosh on fiber-rich complex carbs that will keep you feeling full for longer.
- Let’s get physical. Exercise is a great way to burn calories and it can even improve your mood. But its benefits don’t stop there. The new lean muscle you develop actually helps support a healthy metabolism.
- Practice mindful eating. Mindful eating can help you pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. It can also help you develop a better relationship with food and cravings.
- Treat yo’ self. Banishing your fave foods will only make you crave them more. You can totes enjoy an occasional treat, just be aware of your portions, and how it fits into your overall diet.
You 👏 are 👏 BEAUTIFUL 👏 at 👏 any 👏size 👏. But weight can play a big part in your health. Maintaining a healthy-for-you weight can reduce your risk of obesity-related conditions and benefit your overall well-being. Just remember to set realistic goals and avoid fad diets.
Ultimately it’s not a number on the scale that matters but the daily behaviors that create our best life — like getting enough sleep, managing stress, moving our bodies regularly, and eating a balanced diet full of whole foods.
PSA: You should always talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian (RDN) before making any major changes to your diet or lifestyle. They can also give some great tips to help you hit your goals in a safe and healthy way.