by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
Losing just a little weight has significant impact on your overall health …
According to a Gallup survey, the average American feels the need to drop about ten percent or more of his/her body weight to reach what he/she considers ideal. In reality, many benefits result from only losing half as much. This may not take an individual out of the risk for obesity. However, losing 30 pounds of 300 does, indeed, have a healthy effect — even if you still have a ways to go.
You may not achieve an ideal body weight or body mass index, but it’s that first step in the journey of a thousand that often counts most. Research proves a five-percent weight loss has significant impact on how we feel, including our motivation levels. A small amount of weight loss, for anyone who is overweight, has an impact on energy level, health scores, and attitude. You may not notice a difference in pants size, but behind-the-scenes you set physical and mental positivity in motion.
Reduce Risk Factors
High triglycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar; poor cholesterol readings; and excess body fat are predispositions for disease. Reducing unhealthy body weight by five percent helps improve these health readings. Risk is lowered.
Diabetes: A study published in Diabetes Care indicated those who lost at least five percent of their body weight experienced almost the same positive results on blood sugar as anti-diabetes medication achieves. By dropping this five percent, individuals in prediabetes range may lower their risk of developing the condition by 58 percent.
Heart disease: Losing between 5 and 10 percent of unhealthy body weight improves heart health by boosting HDL (good) cholesterol and decreasing triglycerides. Study participants also showed a decrease in blood pressure readings. These outcomes, from the same study in Diabetes Care, reduce risk of cardiac disease and stroke.
Metabolic syndrome: Combined with obesity and high cholesterol, the presence of three or more heart disease risk factors are diagnosed as metabolic syndrome. These include: high blood pressure, blood sugar (while fasting), and triglycerides; low HDL (good cholesterol); and excess abdominal fat. By reducing these risk factors, and starting on a path toward a healthier weight, you can minimize your likelihood of metabolic syndrome — a combination of health issues leaving you susceptible to serious health problems.
Depression: Although it may not be the five-percent weight loss as much as the means by which you achieved it, losing excess weight — any amount– often improves mood. The increased activity and healthy diet followed to lose weight has immediate effects on mental health.
Exercise increases the flow of endorphins (feel-good hormones) while improving self-esteem (taking action toward betterment). Achieving results, like improved stamina and better health readings, is motivating and rewarding. All of this combines for a healthier mindset, more resistant to depression, stress, and anxiety.
Keeping It Real
A weight loss goal of five percent is realistic. Talk with a personal trainer about ways to achieve it. Unlike working to reach your “ideal weight,” a five-percent starter goal is specific and less daunting. (For some, it may be all that is needed to feel and be your best.) Consider the five percent a send-off party for the rest of the weight you wish to lose. Acknowledge it. It’s an accomplishment.
The better you feel, the more committed you’ll be to your healthier lifestyle– and that includes a healthier body weight.
“Americans’ Desire to Shed Pounds Outweighs Effort,” by Alyssa Brown at gallup.com
“Small Weight Loss Equals Big Health Gains,” by Ann Goebel-Fabbri at psychologytoday.com
“7 Reasons to Lose 5 Percent of Your Body Weight,” by Amy Gorin at everydayhealth.com
Scale and tape measure (introductory photo): pixabay.com/en/scale-diet-fat-health-tape-weight-403585/