It seems everyone is after permanent weight loss.
But, does anyone really have the solution, particularly a solution that is long lasting?
I think one reason weight loss is such an elusive topic, is that often we’re not 100 percent clear why weight loss is important on a personal level, other than some vauge notion of wanting to look good on holiday.
But, is that really enough to kick those habits to the curb which have been holding you back for years?
For some people their initial motivation to lose weight comes when they get a difficult diagnosis from their doctor.
For others, it has more to do with wanting to improve their appearance.
These motivations are all valid in their own right.
Perhaps you are sick and tired of being overweight, but simply can’t seem to muster up the motivation to begin yet another diet?
Well, let me share with you some of the biggest and most common practical and emotional benefits of losing fat that I hear on a regular basis.
It may be that reading over these, you’ll be able to hone in on what it is you’re after, and it’ll motivate you to take actions…
Practical Benefits Of Weight Loss
Here are 8 of the main health benefits of losing weight:
1. Reduced Aches and Pains
Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help to relieve some, if not all, of the aches and pains associated with carrying too much extra weight.
This extra baggage causes more strain on the joints, bones and muscles, which means they need to work harder than normal just to move around.
But, when you lose weight, your body can begin to work more efficiently, and also reduce some of the damage to those areas of the body under strain.
2. Better Heart Health
If you carry too much weight, that means your heart has to work, even when you are resting.
So, even if you were to lose a small amount of weight, it can significantly increase the amount of blood reaching your vital organs, and also allow your heart to work more effectively overall.
Maintaining a healthy weight puts less strain on your heart, and therefore reduces your risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and also angina.
3. Reduced Diabetes Risk
People who are overweight are also at a greater risk to developing type II diabetes.
But, if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, losing weight will definitely help you to control your diabetes better.
In some instances, by losing weight you may be able to control your diabetes with diet alone, rather than needing to take medication. Obviously this is extremely desirable.
Studies actually suggest a substantial number of diabetes cases could be prevented through modest weight loss (i.e. 20 percent decrease in total mortality, and >30 percent decrease in diabetes-related deaths).
This is something to bear in mind as more and more people (you, and those close to you) are being diagnosed with diabetes.
4. Avoiding Cancer
Unfortunately, certain types of cancer are more likely when you are overweight.
For example, women are more likely to develop uterine, gallbladder, ovary, breast, colon and cervical cancer. For men, it’s prostate, colon and rectal cancer.
Again, getting down to a healthy weight can significantly reduce your risk of being diagnosed with cancer.
5. Reduced Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, this can also be reduced by losing a little weight.
If you are overweight, losing just 10 percent of your current body weight could lead to a decrease of 10 mmHg systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
And, just like diabetes, this could mean you avoid the need for medication to keep your blood pressure within an acceptable range.
6. Better Sleep Habits
Obstructive sleep apnea is often a consequence of being overweight, yet research shows those who lose as little as 10 percent of their weight can significantly improve their nighttime sleep patterns, and also experience less daytime sleepiness.
Poor sleeping habits are also liked with causing obesity, so this is a vicious cycle, which is extremely important to break.
7. Improved Well Being
Research suggests those who follow a healthy diet and take regular exercise, have higher self esteem, fewer instances of depression, and are better able to cope with stress.
So, following a healthy diet, can not only strengthen your immune system, but it can also strengthen your emotional wellness and cognitive abilities, too.
This is why, when people change to a diet rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they really notice how it impacts on how they feel, and even their ability to fight off common colds and flus.
8. Makes Life Simpler
That may seem like an overstatement, but it’s really not. It’s pure logistics actually!
Being able to shop at the same stores as everyone else. Not having to purchase two airline tickets when you travel. Or, feel conscious about taking up a whole seat on the bus.
These are issues that cause constant problems for many who are overweight.
And, even if your weight hasn’t got to that level yet, most will admit they would simply like to have the option of purchasing clothing from any store, and in any style, rather than having their weight dictate what they can and cannot wear.
Emotional Benefits Of Weight Loss
There’s no denying there are many health benefits of weight loss, but losing weight also has emotional benefits, which are, in many cases, even more significant as a motivator to lose weight and keep it off.
In fact, yesterday on Facebook I asked, “What would you say the emotional benefits of being a healthy weight are?”
Confidence came out as the number one benefit.
Feeling generally happier was also up there.
Other suggested benefits were empowerment, or knowing you’ve accomplished something you set your mind to, as well as improved self-esteem.
Today again on Facebook I asked whether the emotional benefits of weight loss outweigh the health benefits.
I love how Sandra put it when she said, anytime she has started a weight loss program in the past it was an emotional event that motivated her to start.
What happens, however, is that once your body starts to change and you feel better physically, your emotional state improves as well. I think the two feed off each other. So to answer your question, I do not think emotional benefits outweigh the health benefits. I think they are pretty much even!
I’d say that’s pretty bang on!
Here are 3 of the main emotional benefits of weight loss:
1. Improved Confidence
My mini Facebook poll proves that the confidence you get when you lose weight is one of the most important factors for people.
This isn’t surprising in a day and age when many seem to think it’s okay, or even funny, to ridicule a person just because of their size.
But, it’s not just passersby who are guilty of criticizing overweight people. If you are overweight, you can probably look back to times when you said or thought things about yourself that were extremely critical. These thoughts do nothing for your confidence levels.
For many, losing weight helps them to get over feelings of being totally self-conscious in a large group, when they can stop worrying that they’ll be the fattest person in the room, for example.
In short, getting to your target weight can give you the confidence to stop putting yourself down, once and for all.
2. Greater Sense Of Happiness
It’s not that thin people are happy, and fat people aren’t. Certainly not!
However, sometimes when you feel unhealthy, there is something in your life that is somewhat unbalanced, and this can lead to sadness and even depression.
So, by taking time to focus on yourself — as dieting requires you to — your sense of happiness will improve, with weight loss being an added benefit.
Working out and dieting usually go hand-in-hand. And, exercise is known to be a powerful tool for improving mood, too.
So, if you are exercising, it’s likely you will experience a mood boost, because exercise releases feel-good endorphins in the body, which can alter your mood and make you feel happier.
3. Ability To Cope Without A Food Crutch
We all know that food is not an acceptable way to deal with problems. However, that’s easy to say, but much more difficult to executive in the real world.
The great thing is, though, that when you follow a balanced weight loss program, it can help you learn how to express your emotions in other ways, rather than turning to food as a crutch.
With help and support, that emotional crutch of turning to food as a coping mechanism will fade, and you can begin to learn new ways of expressing yourself without food.
Let me be clear, I’m not saying all the feelings you struggle with because you were overweight will vanish overnight, if you lose weight.
But, weight loss is a journey, and often as you learn to put your health first, you begin to experience changes in your mindset, too, which ultimately lead to a more happy, content, and emotionally balanced you.
Often times it’s about not only losing weight, but emotional baggage, too.
The time has come to lay that baggage down and leave behind all the struggling and striving. You can be set free as you journey forward into a balanced healthy and rewarding future. – Sue Augustine
What are the benefits of weight loss in your eyes? Do you think the emotional benefits outweigh the health benefits of maintaining a healthier weight?
Note: If you enjoyed this article, sharing it (on Facebook, Twitter etc) is a great way to say ‘thank you’