If you’ve been trying to lose weight, you may have been aiming for a particular number on the scale. But what does that number mean in terms of your health? How much of a difference will it make?
It turns out that even a modest weight loss can have significant health benefits. Here are five things that a 5% weight loss can do for your health:
Mood and Sleep
One of the first things you may notice when you lose weight is a change in your mood. You may feel more energetic and alert and find it easier to concentrate. You may also sleep better and have less fatigue during the day.
Part of this may be due to changes in hormones and brain chemistry that occur with weight loss, but it may also be because carrying around less weight is physically and mentally easier and less tiring.
It will also likely improve your self-image and self-esteem. As you begin to feel better about yourself, you can become relieved of a lot of health-harming stress.
Knees and Joints
Every pound of weight on your body bears down on your knees with the force of 2-4 pounds. So, if you lose 10 pounds (5% of a 200lb person), that’s like taking 30 pounds of pressure off your knees.
Compounded over thousands of steps daily, this can lead to significant pain relief and reduced wear-and-tear on your joints. This is reflected in the data demonstrating that weight loss can greatly benefit people who are currently living with or at risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Type 2 Diabetes
Being overweight or obese is one of the biggest risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, and losing weight are recognized as the greatest weapon we have against the disease.
For every 2 pounds of weight loss, there is an approximate 15% risk reduction in developing type 2 diabetes. At around 10 pounds of weight loss, it’s estimated you will more than halve your risk.
At even higher levels, you can reduce your risk by closer to 90% or potentially more. And for people recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a 10% loss in body weight can double the likelihood of remission—essentially reversing or curing the condition.
Excess weight gain is linked to an increased risk of developing many types of cancer, including breast, colon, colorectal, endometrial, pancreatic, and kidney cancer.
Intentional weight loss of 5% or more provides significant protection against cancer, especially when it is lost through a healthy diet that includes antioxidant-rich vegetables.
This is likely related to how obesity impacts sex hormones, insulin signaling, and inflammation. By reducing these risk factors, intentional weight loss can have a powerful impact on cancer risk.
One of the worst ways obesity can impact your health is by increasing your risk of heart disease. It tends to raise your blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides while simultaneously lowering your HDL (good) cholesterol.
Through healthy dieting and increased physical activity, even small amounts of weight loss can greatly benefit your cardiovascular health, substantially lowering your risk for coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and stroke.