By Lindsey Brumm, R.D., L.D.
Many of us have a weight that we strive for or dream about reaching one day. This may be a weight that our doctor recommended or a weight that we remember being comfortable at years ago. For some, this “ideal” weight may seem out of reach at times. But, are there any benefits of losing a smaller amount of weight? Even 10 pounds?
Many studies have explored the effects of losing as little as 5-10% of body weight. For example, if an individual who weighs 200 pounds lost 10-20 pounds (5-10%), what effect would this have on their health? As it turns out, quite a bit!
Many aspects of heart health are directly connected to our weight. Losing 10 pounds can result in an increase in HDL Cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and a decrease in triglycerides. It can also help lower blood pressure, both diastolic and systolic, 5 mmHg on average. This decreases the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke.
Diabetes is also a major health concern in the United States that can be treated and even prevented with diet and exercise. The American Diabetes Association states that 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Diabetes can lead to many long term complications such as, kidney damage, nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, retinopathy (eye damage), skin conditions, and depression. According to Johns Hopkins Weight Loss Center, if you are pre-diabetic, losing 5-10% of your body weight will decrease risk for developing Diabetes by 58%!
For those that struggle with joint pain or arthritis, every pound lost relieves 4 pounds of pressure off of your knees according to the Arthritis Foundation. This means losing just ten pounds would take 40 pounds of pressure off of your knees!
Eating healthy, getting more activity, and losing even a small amount of weight can also impact your day to day life by getting better sleep, having more energy, and improving your mood.
As you can see, every extra effort you are putting into your health, whether it be parking further away to get extra steps in, trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, or cutting back on the sweets, all of these things are creating long term benefits for your health and improving your quality of life! So keep it up!
“Little by little, a little becomes A LOT.” –Tanzanian Proverb
- The Obesity Action Coalition.
- John Hopkins Medicine: Digestive Weight Loss Center. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/digestive_weight_loss_center/conditions/diabetes.html
- American Diabetes Association.
- Mayo Clinic.
- Arthritis Foundation.