When people lose weight and improve their health, a whole host of wonderful things happen.
Research shows that losing just 5-10% of initial body weight can greatly improve metabolic, physical, and mental health. For someone who weighs 200 pounds, a 10-20 pound loss moves them to higher ground.
Better health begins as the first pound is shed and amplifies with each subsequent pound.
Many strive to lose more, thinking it’s only worth it if they lose it all in one big, inspiring push. Then they wind up feeling overwhelmed…and that they’ve failed by not reaching their big goals.
Yet, losing just a few pounds positively improves your current and future health.
The 6 pounds you lose on your way to your big goal of 60 has a greater impact than you imagine.
As a medical weight loss specialist, it is a joy to see how much better people feel—and are—when they lose weight. Whether you have 5-10 pounds to lose or more, health always improves with weight loss. And the risk of developing new conditions declines.
And if the weight loss is maintained, the benefits continue—indefinitely.
It doesn’t have to stop there. As you begin to experience life with strength and vitality, your early victories will motivate you to stay on course, making further weight loss and health gains possible.
The pattern of weight gain ends—which is a victory of its own—and health begins.
When Don came to see me last January, he felt desperate.
At 60, he was feeling the effects of carrying seventy extra pounds. His list of medical conditions was long:
- Out of control diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Fatty liver disease
- Osteoarthritis in his left knee that had deteriorated to “bone on bone”
Walking was so painful that all he could do was hobble from his car to his house or office and back. Visits to the endocrinologist were unpleasant.
Every day felt worse than the day before.
“I need to lose fifty pounds,” he told me at our first meeting. “My surgeon won’t give me a knee replacement until I do. And she won’t agree to surgery unless I have my diabetes under control.”
I explained the health benefits of a 5-10% loss, which for him would be 14-28 pounds, and suggested we focus on the first ten.
He left that day with a plan to get started. When he returned the following week, he’d lost two pounds. A week later he’d lost another two.
Although he’d hoped for more weight loss, he was encouraged that he was moving in the right direction. I was thrilled that he had reversed course.
Six weeks later, Don had lost that first ten pounds. Things hadn’t gone perfectly but had been good enough to reach this milestone.
But what he raved about more than the weight loss was how much better he felt. He no longer held his breath when he bent over to tie his shoes. It was easier to get in and out of his car and he didn’t cringe at the thought of walking to the copy machine.
His countenance was brighter.
Hope was growing.
By June 1st, he’d lost 25 pounds. Labs showed a dramatic improvement in diabetes. It wasn’t fully controlled, but it was close. He was off his blood pressure medication and his cholesterol and liver tests were in range. He’d added two five-minute walks to his day. His spirit was eager to walk longer, but his knee wouldn’t cooperate.
Although this was not the fifty pounds his surgeon requested, I suggested he return to report his progress and tell her how much he wanted that new knee.
Knee replacement surgery was scheduled for August 1st.
Last week Don walked into my office, 35 pounds lighter than last January. He uses his new knee as much as possible, walking 30-45 minutes a day, and doing strength training once a week.
His diabetes is stable, requiring less medication. He no longer needs blood pressure or cholesterol medication. Sleep is more restful and he has more energy than he’s had in years. Hope sparkles in his eyes. This spring he plans to re-landscape his backyard.
As you can see, Don didn’t need to lose 50 or 60 pounds to significantly improve his health.
He felt the benefits after the first two pounds.
Those benefits grew as he lost more weight and stayed focused on the choices that were making him feel better.
Don started with a vision of living life with more ease and less pain. As he felt better, his commitment to his health became unshakable, springboarding him to new horizons.
The Surprisingly Extensive Health Benefits of Weight Loss
When Don lost weight, five of his medical conditions improved or resolved.
And his risk for developing complications from those conditions, or developing new ones, decreased significantly. His results are in line with what medical science knows about the benefits of weight loss.
Medical conditions that improve or resolve with weight loss include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High triglycerides & LDL cholesterol
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Gastric Reflux
Weight loss can lower your risk of developing conditions that shorten life or negatively impact its quality, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Kidney failure
- Liver disease
Do You Hear the Call?
Do you wonder how much better your life could be if you committed to losing that first pound?
Would it be easier to walk from the bus to your office? Would you feel more energy and focus? Would you book that trip to Europe? What would it be like to see your future through the eyes of hope?
What better time than the new year to work towards that first step? Just think of all of the possibilities that could be yours after losing that first pound.