Benefits Of Losing Just A Little Bit Of Weight

1. Strengthening Your Ticker

High blood cholesterol levels cause the fat-like substance to stick to the insides of your arteries, increasing heart attack risk. Luckily, a modest weight drop can get you out of the danger zone. Overweight and obese women who lost weight over two years decreased their total cholesterol scores, “regardless of the amount of weight lost,” according to a 2013 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Drop as little as 10 percent of your body weight and you might also benefit from lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, insulin and triglycerides (another type of fat in your blood that ups heart disease risk).

Drop as little as 10 percent of your body weight and you might also benefit from lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, insulin and triglycerides.

2. Living Better

You don’t have to reach your goal weight to be happy. In fact, in a 2009 study on 900 weight loss patients, those who shed five to 10 percent of their body weight scored higher on measures of physical function and self-esteem. The researchers point out that just knowing that losing a bit is helping in these areas can keep you motivated to lose more, even when times get tough. There’s other evidence suggesting you’ll also benefit from more energy and vitality. Translation: You just feel great.

3. Improving Your Mood

According to a preliminary study from the University of Pennsylvania, when obese adults shed five percent of their body weight, they reported better sleep and improved moods within six months. The more sunshine-y ‘tude might not come from the weight loss itself (other studies indicate that the restriction of dieting can be a drag on your psyche), but the fact that they logged 21.6 more minutes of sleep per night versus just 1.2 minutes in a control group. Adequate sleep keeps frustration and irritability at bay, and better sleep also helps regulate your appetite, possibly helping you lose more weight. We call that a win-win.

4. Warding Off Inflammation

Inflammation is a big buzzword these days, and for good reason. While acute, short-term inflammation is a good thing (it’s your body’s way of responding to things like injuries), having low-grade chronic inflammation (the kind that sticks around long-term) can increase your risk for disease, like heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome. It’s not a lost battle, though. One study published in Nutrition Research put obese people (most were in their 20s and none had diabetes) on a diet and exercise program for 12 weeks. On average, they lost six pounds, but that was enough to decrease inflammation and enhance immune function, likely because it drives down the release of proinflammatory proteins stored in fat, the study authors concluded.

5. Keeping Joints Squeaky Clean

You might not think much about it now, but trust us, you want healthy joints as you age. (You do want to feel comfortable walking up the stairs for decades to come, right?) Excess weight can put more wear and tear on knee cartilage, leading to a painful condition called osteoarthritis. If you’re overweight, research shows that losing 11 pounds can decrease your likelihood of OA by more than 50 percent. Here’s to signing up for 5Ks well into your older years.

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