For many us, pondering what is required to achieve our “Goal Weight” is unsurmountable. As intimidating as they may sound, even small lifestyle changes can add up to make or break one’s ability to shed the weight. Need some motivation to start 2017 on the right foot? Look at the health-boosting potential of shedding the first 10 pounds.
- Healthier Joints:
It is estimated that every pound of excess weight exerts approximately 3-4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. A person who carries 10 extra pounds has 30-40 pounds of extra pressure on his knees. If a person carries 25 extra pounds, they have 75-100 pounds of extra pressure on their knees. Think about all the extra steps you take in a day; carrying extra weight leads to premature damage to our weight-bearing joints. It is suggested that an individual who loses 10 pounds would be exerting a total of 48,000 less pounds of pressure for every mile walked! A 10 pound weight loss over 10 years may result in as much as a 50% decrease in your odds of developing osteoarthritis.
- Lower Cholesterol Level:
Overweight individuals are more likely to develop higher levels of LDL, the “bad” type of cholesterol. LDL has the ability to deposit plaque in your arteries which narrows them and leads to high risk of stroke and heart attack. 10 pounds of weight loss can lower LDL cholesterol by more than 10%. Cardiovascular exercise and good omega-3 fatty acids are valuable as they can increase HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol which can lower cardiovascular risk.
- Lower Blood Pressure:
Blood pressure is the pressure on your artery walls. Elevated blood pressure can thicken the walls of your heart and vessels, leading to higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Excess body weight accounts for about 25-30 percent of cases of elevated blood pressure. Losing 10 pounds can decrease your blood pressure, protecting your heart, kidneys and brain.
- Reduced Risk for Heart Attacks:
As mentioned above, weight loss lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol. Just 10 pounds of weight loss can result in a greater than 50% risk reduction for heart attacks.
- Reduced Risk for Dementia:
The fat around your internal organs is called visceral fat. About 50% of Americans have too much of this dangerous fat which releases inflammatory chemicals into the body. Elevated levels of these inflammatory mediators can cause memory loss and increase your chances of developing dementia.
- Reduced Risk for Sleep Apnea:
Carrying extra weight can lead to extra tissue which thickens your windpipe wall, narrowing your airway. As a result, the size of your tongue and tonsils become a threat to the narrowed airway, often most noticeable when sleeping. This can cause sleep apnea. Losing just 10 pounds can widen your windpipe, helping you sleep through the night and reduce your risk for developing sleep apnea. A good night’s rest increases your levels of leptin (the hormone that signals when you’ve had enough to eat), and can help you to lose even more weight.
- Reduced Risk for Cancer:
Extra fat is correlated with an increased risk of cancer. Highly active fat cells release large amounts of hormones like estrogen, insulin, and insulin-like growth factors that can trigger and feed many types of cancer. Weight loss is correlated with lower risk for many cancers, particularly breast and uterine.
- Reduced risk for Diabetes:
As we gain weight, our cells become less sensitive to our insulin, the hormone that is responsible for moving sugar into your cells. Being overweight significantly increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, where your body’s cells become resistant to insulin. Losing weight and increasing cardiovascular exercise can improve your sensitivity to insulin. A weight loss of 10 pounds can reduce your chance of getting diabetes by 60%.