What Are the Health Benefits of Losing Weight?

Heather Campbell
 min read

Health benefits of losing weight make for interesting (and motivational) reading.

What Are the Health Benefits of Losing Weight?Many people have quite a bit of trouble in practice with losing weight, especially on a permanent basis.

As a general rule, weight loss helps you go through life less depressed. On top of that, it improves your metabolism, hormones, and immune system. Benefits include improved energy levels, less sugar highs and lows, and better cholesterol readings. And the sex is better too!

There are all kinds of factors that can cause obesity that we, unfortunately, have little or no control over.

And there are also several factors that we do influence to lose some weight and go through life healthier. You can discover these below!

Health benefits of losing weight: Introduction

Due to genetics and hereditary predisposition, some people are more sensitive to food as a reward or generally hungrier than others.

There are also certain medications, such as antidepressants and prednisone, that can cause you to gain just a few pounds.

The fact that you have just been pregnant, are in menopause, or produce little testosterone all promote obesity.

Fortunately, there are factors you do have influence over to regulate your weight. Think smarter and better eating, getting enough exercise, sleeping well, and relaxing enough.

These are all factors that can cause you to lose weight or at least not gain more.

Everything gets better after weight loss

Overweight, obesity, stress, and hormones are issues that more and more Americans are dealing with.

Countless people have already tried one diet after another and only gained more weight.

Losing weight in the long term is not easy

So in practice, it turns out to be quite complicated to lose weight permanently in the long run.

It is especially crucial to look for the underlying causes of your excess weight and then address them with a customized program and treatment.

Choose professional guidance to maximize your chances of success.

So it is not easy, but fortunately, there is also good news!

If you are overweight or obese (i.e., have a BMI of 25 or higher), you can achieve numerous health benefits with just a 5% weight loss.

Benefits of 5% weight loss

According to various studies, a weight loss of about 5% already provides the following benefits:

  • Improved fitness and more energy
  • Sugar levels that have fewer peaks and troughs and are better maintained
  • More intense and pleasurable experience of sexuality
  • Less joint pain as a result of exercise
  • Decrease in the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood
  • Being in a better mood (being in a good mood)
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Strengthens immune and defense system with lower risk of serious infections

To lose your excess pounds sustainably, you need to focus on exercising more, eating healthier, and sleeping better. Preferably start under the guidance of a doctor and/or nutritionist to tackle it intelligently and healthily!

In addition, you should also work on stress reduction (this can be done through behavioral therapy, yoga, meditation, and so on).

Sleep deprivation is a big no-no

If you don’t sleep enough and the sleep deficits pile up, sustainable weight loss becomes a lot harder.

With sleep deprivation, the hunger hormone rises, and the satiety hormone falls in your body. This increases your sense of hunger and makes it more likely that you will eat more.

During that extra time you’re awake, you use a little more energy than you do while sleeping. But this, unfortunately, does not outweigh the extra calorie intake that a lack of sleep usually provokes.

Overweight and obesity are on the rise in the United States, and, on average, we have also been sleeping less. So perhaps one is related to the other.

In fact, it has been proven that sleep deprivation can contribute to weight gain and get in the way of weight loss.

Sources:

  • Metabolic effects of sleep disruption, links to obesity and diabetes, A. Nedeltcheva and F. Scheer, 2014
  • Sleep Duration and Obesity in Adults: What Are the Connections, J. Theorell-Haglöw and E. Lindberg, 2016

Eat consciously and chew adequately (without distraction)

It is essential to take enough time to eat. To be able to speak of a healthy diet, how you eat is also very important.

In fact, our bodies have a well-regulated hunger hormone and satiety hormone system.

We often think we stop eating because our stomach is full, but that is only a tiny piece of the puzzle.

This is because it takes some time for your body to produce enough satiety hormones.

So eating slowly is very important because the production of satiety hormones is delayed.

Preferably take small bites of food and chew your food well and long. Eat with concentration and attention, so be sure and don’t eat in front of the computer, tablet, or television.

Good to know: If you eat too quickly, the satiety hormones do not have enough time to do their job, and you soon overeat.

Crash diets sabotage your long-term success

Avoid crash diets because they come back to bite you in the butt in the long run. A crash diet disrupts the balance of your appetite hormones.

Research shows that a strict diet with low calorie intake completely messes up your hunger and satiety system.

You may lose weight quickly and vigorously at first, but chances are you’ll still be extra hungry a year later, even if you have long since stopped the crash diet in question!

In addition to disrupting your hunger hormones, your metabolism will usually go down as well. Hence, after a strict diet, you often gain back weight.

Unfortunately, the well-known yo-yo effect resulting from extreme dieting really does exist (and it is really frustrating). So tackle it sustainably, without heavy extremes that can’t be sustained in the long run anyway!

Related: Why Does Your Metabolism Slow down After a Calorie Restriction Diet?

Gaining weight due to stress is possible

Stress can cause you to gain weight faster or have trouble losing weight.

When stressed, your adrenal glands produce (too) much of the stress hormone cortisol. If this is done over a long period and excessively, you will start to store and stockpile belly fat more easily.

This type of fat is unfavorable because it is more hormonally active than, say, fat on your hips. In other words, this extra belly fat can cause a hormonal imbalance.

In other words, belly fat produces hormones, which can cause a kind of latent inflammation in your body that increases the risk of various health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and a host of other conditions.

A prolonged increase in cortisol levels in your body can also make you more hungry. More specifically, this makes you crave more fat- and sugar-rich foods such as snacks.

This is not true for everyone because some people actually get less appetite for food because of stress. But most people are indeed prone to extra appetite due to a surge of stress, especially if the stress lasts too long.

It can be mental stress (a lot of problems at work and/or in your family situation) and physical stress like sleep problems, chronic pain, or the consequences of too extreme exercise and sports.

In any case, it is essential to purposefully address elevated stress levels if you are not succeeding in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and/or losing weight.

Combine more exercise with healthier eating

It is essential to realize that sometimes you will permanently need hundreds of kilocalories less per day while also needing more exercise.

For people who have lost a lot of weight through a lifestyle change, extra exercise can help maintain their new weight and keep the pounds from coming back on at an alarming rate!

It doesn’t come automatically, and it does take discipline and perseverance! For example, consider 45 to 60 minutes of exercise daily, such as biking, swimming, walking, jogging, rowing, etc.

And if you do this in the cold during the winter months, it has a beneficial effect on your metabolism as the body produces more brown fat from exposure to the cold.

Basically, choose a healthy diet but don’t overdo it.

So be sure and allow yourself to sin once in a while and eat your favorite dish and consciously enjoy it at that time as well.

Eat unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables (preferably wok or steam them instead of boiling them for maximum vitamin retention) because you will automatically eat less of them.

As much as possible, eat during the day and on time and preferably not too late in the evening.

Avoid prolonged sitting at work. Do you have a sedentary job? No problem! Stand up regularly and build in some movement. A sedentary lifestyle is really harmful, so never stay in your chair for more than an hour.

Do you regularly suffer from a lot of stress and headaches? Then make ample time for relaxation (exercise, yoga, meditation, volunteering, meeting friends, and so on).

RelatedHow Does Mindfulness Help with Changing Your Habits and Behavior?

Tips for cooking and eating healthier

Eating differently than you are used to can be pretty tricky at first. At the same time, it’s also just a matter of starting and adopting new habits.

Before you dive into the kitchen, it’s helpful to know the following tips and facts:

  • Put a fruit bowl with fruit and snack vegetables in a place where you walk by often.
  • Involve your partner and/or roommates in your plans to eat healthier (and give them the key to the snack or cookie cupboard).
  • Specific recipes use ingredients that are pretty hard to come by. Don’t give up immediately but also search the internet. More and more food products are available online.
  • Use unsalted butter, fresh herbs, and no super-sized eggs (unless otherwise specified). Old people and those in poor health, young children, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are better off not eating dishes with raw or soft-boiled eggs.
  • Make an appetizer with different raw vegetables (for example, with homemade hummus to dip a raw vegetable in).
  • Eat from smaller plates (that way, you scoop up less) and drink alcohol in moderation (use smaller glasses).
  • Ovens vary in temperature controls, even those of the same brand. You should interpret recipes’ indicated temperatures and baking times as a reliable indication. But some adjustments may be needed for your particular oven. Perhaps you have a modern appliance that is a bit more powerful than the average oven. Or maybe you have an older oven that is a little slower to get going. You experience this in practice, and then you can make adjustments where necessary.
  • If necessary, place your vegetables at eye level in your refrigerator and not at the bottom of the drawer. This way, you are constantly confronted with them and think about eating them more often.
  • Do you follow a specific recipe, and they talk about adding spoons of sugar or salt? Then assume that these are level spoons. Therefore, you should not overdo it (unless otherwise indicated).

Health benefits of losing weight: Conclusion

The health benefits of losing weight are innumerable, and who wouldn’t like to feel better and look better too?

It may be a long slog, but remember that consistency is key and if you make a mistake, just get back to it without blaming yourself.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More