Losing weight can be tough, and it seems everyone has an opinion on the ideal way to go about it. The fact is “there is no one size fits all” when it comes to weight loss. Fundamental differences such as sex, age, underlying medical issues, body type, genetics, physical activity, food preferences, and even past experiences with dieting can impact a person’s ability to lose weight and maintain it.
According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about half of American adults surveyed between 2013 and 2016 tried to lose weight at some point in the previous 12 months. And yet, approximately 70% of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. Excess weight is associated with severe health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Most people trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But those who lose weight steadily and gradually (about 1 to 2 pounds weekly) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “program” or “diet.” It is about a continuing lifestyle that entails long-term changes in exercise habits and daily eating.
A modest weight loss of about 5 to 10 percent of one’s total body weight is likely to produce health benefits like blood cholesterol, blood sugars, and blood pressure improvements.
For example, if a person weighs 300 pounds, a 10 percent weight loss equals 30 pounds, which brings their weight down to 270 pounds. Though this weight may still be in the “obese” or “overweight” range, this small weight loss can reduce their risk factors for obesity-related chronic diseases.
For people to set themselves up for success on a weight loss goal, they need to consider all of the different ways that losing weight may improve their physical health, psychological health, and social life.
It is not until one loses hundreds of pounds that one will enjoy weight loss’s physical health benefits. Anyone that is currently obese or overweight might need to lose just a small amount of weight for their overall health improvement. According to some studies, only a 5% to 10% decrease in a person’s weight can change their health. Losing weight can mean:
- Decreased risk of diabetes
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Decreased risk of certain cancers
- Decreased risk of sleep apnea
- Decreased risk of heart disease
- Improved mobility
- Improved blood sugar levels
- Decreased risk of stroke
- Reduced back pain
Apart from the health benefits, people may also experience an improved lifestyle if they lose weight. People who have successfully lost weight report:
- Better sleep
- More active social life
- Improved self-esteem
- Decreased stress
- Improved energy
- Improved mood
If someone decides that there are important reasons for them to lose weight, then there’s no better time than now to start their weight loss journey. Their first step should be to set a reasonable and achievable goal.
Then make small changes to their eating and daily routine habits. They also need to ask for weight loss help from their health care provider and family and friends to make the process simpler.