Immediate Health Benefits of Losing Your First Few Pounds
About three-quarters of American adults are overweight or obese, and that means every one of those men and women is at an increased risk of serious medical problems, like high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and diabetes.
Losing excess pounds can seem like an impossible task. But the fact is, you only need to lose a fraction of those pounds to be able to reap some really big health benefits.
As a top-rated primary care provider, Medical Access offers comprehensive primary care services, including custom weight-loss programs for women and men of all ages. With practices in Germantown, Rockville, Beltsville, Maryland, and Alexandria, Woodbridge, and McLean, Virginia, our team makes it easy and convenient to take those first steps toward a healthier weight. Here are six ways losing just 5-10% of your body weight can help you enjoy better health.
#1: Lower blood pressure
Excess weight can directly increase your blood pressure, putting you at risk for a host of complications, including organ damage, heart attack, and death. Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure (or hypertension), and many don’t know it. That’s because the symptoms of high blood pressure (or hypertension) can be subtle — so subtle, hypertension is often referred to as “the silent killer.”
The good news: Losing weight can have a direct beneficial effect on your blood pressure. In fact, research shows that for every 20 pounds you lose, your blood pressure could drop by as many as 20 points. That’s a substantial difference for people whose weight puts them at increased risk of hypertension and all the medical complications it can cause.
#2: Reduced knee pain
Knee pain is a common medical complaint among both women and men. Since your knees support the weight of the rest of your body, it makes sense that when you weigh more, there’s a greater chance your knees will hurt as a result of all that excess weight they’re supporting.
Research suggests that for every pound you lose, you wind up taking four pounds of pressure off your knees. That means if you lose just 10 pounds, you’ll reduce the load on your knees by as much as 40 pounds.
#3: Decreased risk of diabetes
Being overweight is associated with a “pre-diabetes” condition called insulin resistance, which means your body can’t process calories the way it normally does. Insulin resistance makes it a lot harder to lose weight — which, in turn, increases the risk of insulin resistance. Losing just a few pounds can disrupt the cycle, making it easier to drop those extra pounds while also decreasing your risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
#4: Better sleep
Being overweight increases your risk of developing sleep apnea, a chronic condition that causes breathing interruptions (and sometimes snoring) during sleep. Some people have hundreds of tiny interruptions every night, disrupting deep sleep and putting them at increased risks of heart attack and stroke. Excess pounds can also increase your risk of restless leg syndrome, making it hard to relax and fall asleep.
#5: Increased energy
When you weigh more, your body needs to devote more energy to movement. When you lose those excess pounds, the energy your cells produce through metabolism is suddenly available for other activities, so you feel more energized and enjoy physical activity more.
#6: Improved self-esteem
Of course, one of the most noticeable effects of weight loss is how you look — and how you feel about how you look. But there are important psychological benefits, too. Not only can losing just a few pounds improve your self-image, but it can also help you feel more in control of your life, your health, and your future. Plus, all the physical benefits of weight loss can significantly improve your outlook and your quality of life.
Get started on your weight-loss journey
Gaining weight was the easy part; losing it isn’t nearly as easy. Having a medical professional on your side can help keep you healthy, motivated, and on track. Our team will work with you to develop a weight-loss plan that’s just right for your lifestyle, your habits, and your goals. To get started, call the office, or use our online form and schedule a consultation today.