April 17, 2023

9 Health Benefits of Weight Loss

weight loss benefits

Most people understand that reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is essential. But not everyone knows the specific health benefits of weight loss. 

Why is it vital to understand the benefits of living at a healthy weight? For one thing, that knowledge can encourage you to get started on a weight loss program if you’re overweight or obese. And once you start a program, keeping the benefits of losing weight in mind can help you stay on your plan. 

Losing weight isn’t easy. But the more you focus on the health benefits, the easier it is to maintain your forward momentum!

Why Living at a Healthy Weight Is Essential

The list of reasons to get to and stay at a healthy weight is long. Some of the most notable include:

  1. Losing weight improves heart health. Being overweight makes your heart work harder to move blood through the body. Shedding some weight reduces pressure on your arteries and stress on your heart. It also helps lower your “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol level.
  2. Dropping some pounds can improve type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes who take action to start losing weight typically experience improved insulin sensitivity. That’s because excess body fat causes inflammation that adversely affects how insulin (the hormone that regulates blood sugar) functions. You may notice improvement even with just a 5% weight reduction.
  3. Moving toward your target weight lowers your stroke risk. Losing weight not only reduces the strain on your heart but also reduces the pressure on your blood vessels, making it less likely that a blood clot will develop.
  4. Weight loss lowers the risk of specific cancers. As your weight drops, so does your risk of diseases like pancreatic, kidney, breast (in women past menopause), endometrial, and liver cancer.
  5. Losing weight improves mobility. Weight loss benefits your knees and other joints. Even minimal weight reduction reduces joint pain and makes it easier to move around. That improvement may make you more inclined to exercise, which continues the downward trend in your weight and the upward trend in your fitness.
  6. Weight loss improves sleep and boosts energy. People who are overweight frequently suffer from sleep apnea. It’s a condition where fat deposits in the neck make it harder to breathe, which results in frequent awakenings throughout the night. Losing weight may not eliminate the problem, but it can significantly improve sleep quality. As a result, you will have more energy during the day.
  7. Shedding pounds can increase your sex drive. Hormonal changes from weight loss can increase your libido.
  8. Losing weight can improve your sense of taste. It’s not clear why, but people who lose weight often report that it sharpens their sense of taste. As a result, you may find that you can decrease portion sizes and still get the same enjoyment from a meal.
  9. Making progress can improve your self-esteem. Not all the benefits of weight loss are physical. Changes in how you feel about yourself are also very important and worth noticing and celebrating. 

The “Upward Spiral” of Weight Loss

We’re all familiar with the idea of a downward spiral, where things go from bad to worse. Starting to lose weight creates a powerful upward spiral. 

Losing a few pounds gives you a little more energy, a little less joint point, and a healthy dose of confidence. Those benefits can then lead to increasing your exercise regimen and making additional improvements to your diet. Then, with your heart and circulatory system beginning to function more effectively, you may feel encouraged to take on even bigger challenges. And on it goes until you reach your target weight, where life just feels better! 

So, if you’ve put off starting a weight loss program because the end goal feels unattainable, focus initially on the smallest and simplest lifestyle changes, and score some initial “wins.” You’ll probably be surprised at how quickly your efforts start to snowball.  

It’s been said that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Similarly, you can go far on your weight-loss journey just by starting with a single pound! 

Learn About Nutrition and Weight Loss

Talk with your Baptist Health doctor to learn more about the benefits of losing weight and how to get started. They can provide helpful information and may also refer you to our nutrition and diet experts.

Learn More.