While losing weight can seem like an overwhelming undertaking, dropping just a few pounds can have a major impact on your overall health. Even with just 5% weight loss. For a 200-pound person, that is just 10 pounds. But losing even just this small amount takes a big strain off your body. In fact, one of the many things that is reduced is a risk for diabetes, a condition marked by high blood sugar. The beneficial effects include decreased total body fat, intra-abdominal fat and liver fat, as well as increased sensitivity in the liver, muscle and fat tissues. The body requires insulin to absorb and use the blood sugar, and better insulin sensitivity means better blood sugar control.
2. You lower blood pressure
Losing as little as five to ten pounds in overweight people may help lower blood pressure. Research supports this link. With extra weight, your body has to work harder to pump blood, which can damage blood vessels and harden the arteries. Being obese also increases the body's demand for oxygen and increases blood volume.
Aside from reducing blood pressure, losing some pounds improves your overall heart health. In fact, results from one study demonstrated that even a 5% weight loss in people with obesity has considerable health benefits. Just a small amount of weight loss can simultaneously improve metabolic function in multiple organ systems and it can decrease other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including plasma triglyceride concentration. Furthermore, obesity is also associated with high LDL (bad) cholesterol and low (good) HDL cholesterol. Each of these are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which may cause heart attacks and strokes.
4. You lower your cancer risk
Your weight has an effect on your hormones, your immune system, and factors that regulate cell growth. These are all tied to a cancer risk. That's why being overweight or obese may up your chances of getting the disease. Studies show that the relationship between cancer and weight is complex. According to research conducted by the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 8% of all cancers in the United States, and about 7% of all cancer deaths.
Experts agree that being overweight or obese can increase your risk for osteoarthritis. Having more weight on a joint is more likely to wear it down and cause damage. For instance, for every pound of excess weight, four additional pounds of pressure is exerted on your knees. So anyone carrying an extra 20 pounds of extra weight has an additional 80 pounds of stress on the knees. Losing the extra weight reduces the amount of pressure on your joints and lowers the risk of developing arthritis.
6. You can lower inflammation
Inflammation helps fight off infection, but when you are overweight or obese, inflammation can get out of control. This increases insulin resistance and increases your chances of heart disease, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. Excess body fat, especially if it is located around the abdomen is strongly linked to inflammation. However, inflammation goes down with a 5 or 10% reduction in body weight.
Sleep apnea is a condition where you stop breathing during sleep. It is linked to being overweight or being obese. It is caused, in part, when extra tissue accumulates around the upper airway. A study showed that 88% of people who lost 33 or more pounds were effectively cured. In fact, losing just 10% of your body weight can drastically reduce sleep apnea symptoms. It may also, even cure the condition.
8. You sleep better in general
A lack of sleep may be making you fat. But with weight-loss, you may get better quality sleep. A study conducted at John Hopkins University of School of Medicine found that participants who had lost an average of 15 pounds showed improvement in sleep quality. In fact, reducing fat around the belly was the best predictor of improved sleep. In addition, you'll stop snoring as much, which is a mark of unhealthy sleep. Snoring is partly caused by the amount of tissue around the neck, so when you lose the weight it reduces the amount of tissue in your neck which can diminish snoring.