Losing weight is often a slow process, and for this reason, many people choose to resort to quick weight loss strategies, not considering the consequences this can have on their health as these methods can usually stop you from providing your body with the essential nutrients that it requires to function effectively. “Stay away from anything that doesn’t promote health,” says JC Doornick, D.C., a health and lifestyle coach who travels the world helping people lose weight. “Anybody taking pills, stimulants, injections, fluids, or eating 500 calories a day is focused 100 percent on weight loss and zero percent on health.”
Losing and maintaining weight is a life-long commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Don’t change everything at once – a few small tweaks to your diet and movement, in the beginning, can make a big difference. In this blog, we have highlighted 7 key benefits of a healthy weight loss journey – without the yo-yo diets, weight loss pills, etc.
Reduced Joint Pain
Weight loss can be a pain. But not losing extra pounds can become even more painful to your joints. A key study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism of overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis (OA) found that losing one pound of weight resulted in four pounds of pressure being removed from the knees. In other words, losing just 10 pounds would relieve 40 pounds of pressure from your knees.
Studies consistently show that overweight people have higher rates of osteoarthritis than people who aren’t overweight. One study found that those who are obese (with a body mass index [BMI] between 30 and 35) are four to five times more likely to get arthritis in their knees.
If you have weight-induced joint pain, losing pounds and taking stress off your joints may ease your symptoms. While your body can’t reverse arthritis or regrow cartilage, losing weight can help arthritic joints feel better and prevent further excess damage.
Decreased Risk of Certain Cancers
It has been shown in a variety of studies that obesity has been shown to be a risk factor for cancer. The American Cancer Society points out just how highly connected obesity and cancer are, ” An estimated 1 out of every 3 cancer deaths in the United States is linked to excess body weight, poor nutrition, and/or physical inactivity. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight might lower the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney.
Physical activity counts, too. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.
Adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits. But for substantial health benefits, strive to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine — and if you can do more, even better.
Decreased Risk of Diabetes
Losing weight reduces the risk of diabetes. People in one large study reduced their risk of developing diabetes by almost 60% after losing approximately 7% of their body weight with changes in exercise and diet.
Inactivity and being overweight go hand-in-hand with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Muscle cells have more insulin receptors than fat cells, so an individual can decrease insulin resistance by exercising. Being more active also lowers blood sugar levels by helping insulin to be more effective. In addition, unhealthy eating is a contributor to obesity. Too much fat in your diet, not enough fiber, and too many simple carbohydrates all contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
Decreased Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number one cause of death for Americans. Also called cardiovascular disease, a heart disease is a group of conditions that affect heart health. Narrowing or blocked blood vessels and certain types of irregular heartbeat are characteristic of heart disease. If you have heart disease, you may be at risk for heart attack or stroke.
You can’t change certain risk factors for heart disease. For example, you can’t change your family history. But you can change your weight. If you reduce your weight by just 10 percent with diet and exercise, you can begin to lower your risk of developing heart disease and other obesity-related health problems
Decreased Risk of Stroke
Being overweight is one of the top ten risk factors for stroke and is associated with almost 1 in 5 strokes. Being categorized as overweight increases your risk of stroke by 22% and if you are obese that risk increases by 64%. This is because carrying too much weight increases your risk
of high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes which all contribute to higher stroke risk. Maintaining a healthy weight will help you reduce your risk of stroke.
According to neurologist Dr. Gregory Carter of the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, men have a one in four risk of developing sleep apnea. The condition causes people to stop breathing for up to 30 seconds at a time while they’re asleep. In extreme cases, this can happen upwards of 60 times per hour.
Good sleep quality is important in general for good physical and mental health, as well as for a healthy cardiovascular system, notes Stewart. Depending on the cause, chronic sleep disruptions increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and irregular heartbeats. Obesity increases the risk of sleep problems.
There’s fresh evidence that eating a healthy diet, one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits highly processed foods, can help reduce symptoms of depression. This study found that symptoms of depression dropped significantly among a group of young adults after they followed a healthy pattern of eating for three weeks. Participants saw their depression “score” fall from the “moderate” range down to the “normal” range, and they reported lower levels of anxiety and stress too.