Whether your weight loss goal is 20 pounds or 100 pounds, studies have shown that even a small reduction in weight, such as 5-10%, is likely to yield improvements in your health.
Below, Kim Meeuwsen, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist with the Mary Free Bed Weight Management Program, offers 5 health benefits to losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Cardiac health. The higher your weight, the harder your heart must work. Losing weight can relieve stress on the heart, which improves your blood pressure. In addition, a healthy diet and regular exercise can increase “good” cholesterol (HDL) levels. This cholesterol combats the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) from settling plaque on artery walls, which can narrow or block the passageways. The combination of decreased blood pressure and better cholesterol levels can greatly reduce the risk for heart and blood vessel diseases, such as heart failure, heart attack or stroke.
Stabilized blood glucose. An estimated 80-90% of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes also are diagnosed with obesity. With decreased weight and regular exercise, cells are more responsive to insulin and more effective at moving sugar from the bloodstream into the cells. This stabilizes and improves high blood glucose.
Less joint pain. Each extra pound of weight on your body adds about 3 pounds of pressure to your knees. Losing 15-20 pounds can relieve 45-60 pounds of pressure from your knees!
Breathe easier. When you have extra tissue, your body uses more oxygen and your lungs have to work harder for you to move. With increased abdominal fat pressing on the chest wall and up into the diaphragm, the lungs have less room to expand. Reducing weight and abdominal fat can lessen this pressure and help you to breathe easier.
Mental health. Chances are, carrying around some extra weight has got you feeling down. Losing just 10% of your weight can boost energy levels and confidence. In addition, regular exercise produces chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These help to decrease stress, improve sleep habits and ward off feelings of anxiety or depression. Once you’ve reached that 10% mark, you may even find that extra motivation needed to achieve your original goal!
Losing weight and getting healthy can seem like an overwhelming challenge to tackle, especially if you aren’t sure where to begin. Mary Free Bed’s medically-supervised, non-surgical weight management program is here to help, providing you the education and expertise to help you get back on track.