Losing weight is not just a goal. It is a means to a better life! It’s about a new future and a new you.
Are you one of the 40% of Americans who wants to lose weight? Obesity is perhaps the largest and fastest growing health threat to the nation. According to the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 44 percent of Americans will be obese by 2030. Another 30 percent will be overweight. Is excess weight a serious matter? Is it a personal issue for you? For those who say, “Yes”, I hope the following pages will give you the initial jumpstart toward reaching your healthy, ideal weight.
Reasons to Lose Weight
In weight loss, the “why” may be just as important as the “how.” You may need to consider these benefits you will gain as you lose those extra pounds.
Your skin may thank you! Obesity apparently plays a role in skin blemishes and infections as well as chronic problems such as psoriasis. Studies have shown improvement in psoriasis patients who followed a low-calorie diet for just eight weeks.
You will stay more mentally sharp. According to the European Journal of Neurology, older adults who were obese performed significantly worse on tests of their mental acuity, verbal fluency, memory recall, and immediate logical memory. Apparently, excess weight makes us mentally as well as physically slower!
Your heart is less at risk. Excess weight includes several factors that contribute to additional risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. These include impaired glucose tolerance (Type 2 diabetes), high blood pressure, and high blood lipids (bad cholesterol and triglycerides). It also seems to lead to enlargement of the left ventricle of the heart (often leading to heart failure).
You are less prone to depression. Some will argue about which comes first, the “chicken or the egg.” Does depression cause people to be overweight or is being overweight causing people to be more susceptible to depression? Clearly, they often go together. Each case may be a little different. In many cases though, people who have seemed very well-adjusted and content with life have fallen into chronic, clinical depression after having gained significant weight. Some others have been able to recover from their depression with improved diet and exercise which has also led to weight reduction.
You may breathe and sleep better. According to studies from the International Society of Endocrinology, 5% of obese adults reported improved sleep after six months of weight loss. A study of 390 participants found that those who lost 5% of body weight also were able to get twenty-two extra minutes of real sleep per night. That translates into more refreshed, more alert minds and bodies during the day!
You may have an improved sex life. Since your sleep quality improves with weight loss, you might just also improve in other ways between the sheets. Although Australian studies show improvements due to lower blood sugar in diabetics, other studies have credited improvements in heart and blood vessel functioning after weight loss. Another article, from Health.com, suggests that just having an improved self-image might account for why participants in studies report having better sexual fulfillment after weight loss. Who cares why? If weight loss makes your sex life better, isn’t that what’s important?
You have a lower risk for diabetes and other health-related problems. Even small reductions in weight can show improvement in blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and endocrine health. I suggest you read some of the stories on Health.com for those who have even reversed their diabetes since making changes that produced weight loss. Greater activity plus more mindful eating habits can make a huge difference for diabetics, as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
Your cancer risk may drop. This came as a surprise to me, but both men and women have a greater risk of breast cancer when they are overweight. Women also report a greater incidence of endometrial cancer. Body fat produces estrogen, a good thing for women at some points, but too much of a good thing can bring heartache.
You are less prone to bone and joint problems. Excess weight adds pressure to joints and soft tissues of the body as well as causing inflammation that can cause great pain. USA Today reported that obese and overweight patients who have a 10% weight loss can cut knee pain and increase walking speed.
Physical activity is less difficult and more fun. If exercise and sports activities no longer hurt, you might begin to enjoy these things again. It’s almost like discovering the fountain of youth. Let’s face it, so much of our energy would be consumed just moving 300 pounds around that we wouldn’t have much left over for jumping, spinning and all the other moves that go with an active life. Even common, enjoyable things like dancing become a burden instead of simple pleasure.
Think of all the exciting and interesting parts of life that you avoid because you are overweight. You may avoid them because they too challenging physically. That means you are avoiding something that would help you overcome the weight, but also something that would connect you with people and give more satisfaction to your life. Do not stay in that rut! Today does not need to be a repeat of yesterday!