Sometimes when you’re at the beginning of your fitness journey the idea of all the “work” you have to do to get to where you want to be can be a little daunting. This can be especially true if you have a substantial amount of weight to lose. I always tell members who are just starting out not to let their end goal intimidate them. Because the truth is, even just the littlest bit of weight loss has been shown to make a big difference in your health.
Losing just 5% of your body weight — that’s just 10 pounds if you’re 200 pounds — results in lots of benefits on your body.
- If you’re walking around with even just 10 pounds of extra weight that puts an additional 40 pounds of pressure on your knees and other lower body joints. Losing that really eases the pressure on your joints and reduces the likelihood that you’ll develop arthritis later in life.
- People who are at risk for type 2 diabetes can do themselves a huge favor by losing weight. Shaving just 8-12 pounds of a 160 pound frame substantially lowers your risk of getting diabetes. And, if you already have it, losing a little bit of weight can help you take less medication to control it.
- Overweight people have higher levels of triglycerides which put you at a much greater risk of heart attack or stroke. Losing weight will help you get closer to a healthy level.
- If you have high blood pressure dropping 5% of your body weight can drop your blood pressure by 5 points.
- One of the things that happens when you gain weight, especially around your middle, is that your body becomes insulin resistant. This means you cannot regulate your blood sugar levels and puts a strain on your pancreas. A little weight and loss of belly fat can reverse this effect.
- When you gain weight your body can create excess tissue at the back of your throat. This tissue can move down while you’re sleeping and obstruct your airways resulting in what’s called sleep apnea. Essentially you stop breathing multiple times during the night which stresses your heart. Dropping 5% of your body weight can mean the difference between having to use a bulky breathing device and a night of restful and restorative sleep.
- Even if you don’t have sleep apnea, slimming down can help you sleep better. One study showed people who lost 5% of their weight go an extra 21 minutes of deep sleep a night.
So, while you should definitely stay focused on your end goal and do what you need to do to get there, know that all the steps you take have a big impact too. Relish in the progress you make along the way, celebrate your successes and before you know it you’ll be exactly where you want to be.