It's no secret losing weight has its fair share of benefits. But before you get overwhelmed, then discouraged at the idea of cutting 50 or more pounds over the next six months, get a little more reasonable. For one, there's no need to go at it so fast. And two, who said you needed to cut that much anyway?
Rather than worrying about the big picture, think about taking smaller steps – losing 5-10% of your body fat. You may be wondering, "Why?" or you may have already done the math only to realize that's not very much weight. The fact is, it's the little things that count the most. Cutting just 5-10% body fat has many benefits for your body, so keep reading to find out more!
Regulate blood sugar and diabetes
In simplest terms, losing weight improves insulin sensitivity for people with Type 2 diabetes. Increased adipose tissue, caused by the buildup of excess body fat, leads to inflammation throughout the body, ruining insulin's function. As a result, the body has problems regulating blood sugar levels.
The good news is the American Diabetes Association found that a 5% reduction in body weight improves blood sugar levels for adults. The loss of excess fatty tissue reduces inflammation, allowing insulin to function more appropriately.
If you frequently wake up gasping for air, you probably have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder where people experience disrupted breathing while sleeping. The more overweight you are, the more likely you have fat deposits around your neck, often obstructing your airways.
Losing as little as 10% body weight can improve your sleep experience significantly since it reduces the amount of fat you have built up around your neck. People who have obesity and struggle with sleep apnea have seen improvements in the severity of their sleep apnea and sleep quality in general after small amounts of weight loss.
Improve heart health
Weight loss can reduce pressure on your arteries which means your heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood and circulate it throughout your body. As a result, there's a decrease in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels – a.k.a. the "bad" kind – which is known to put people at risk of heart disease.
Taking steps to reduce your current body weight by only 5-10%, especially if you have obesity or morbid obesity, will do wonders to lower your chances of developing heart disease, which more than 500,000 die from every year.
Move More without the Pain
What's a staple of excess body weight? Joint pain! It wreaks havoc on your mind and body day in and day out. If you've long thought about trying to lose weight, you've probably also struggled with the idea of getting more active and not because you don't want to but because it hurts and puts you out for days at a time.
The New England Journal of Medicine found that as little as a 1% drop in overall body weight is associated with more than 7% improved mobility. While that's good, it doesn't do much for joint pain. However, research has shown that a 10-20% drop in body weight results in improved joint function and less pain.
Beginning your weight loss journey can be exciting and fun, but it can also be overwhelming and discouraging, especially when you start by biting off more than you can chew. Rather than jumping into the deep of the pool, take it one day at a time, slowly integrating a healthy lifestyle and nutritional habits. With time, you'll see the benefits mentioned above and more!