The Benefits of Losing 10 Percent of Your Body Weight

Many people think that losing weight is an impossible task, fraught with frustration and deprivation. As a result, many simply give up on their weight-loss goals. But losing weight does not have to be difficult or impossible. Rather than approaching weight loss as a daunting monolith, set more realistic goals to improve your likelihood of success. Indeed, losing just 10 percent of your body weight yields an extensive array of health benefits. Consult your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise regimen.

A healthy woman is exercising. (Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Cardiovascular Benefits

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, "losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight over 6 months will lower your risk for heart disease and other conditions." Just losing a small of weight can result in lower levels of cholesterol and fatty triglycerides and decreased blood pressure. As a result, you are at a much lower risk for cardiovascular disease, including heart attack, congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis, stroke and abnormal heart rhythms.

Diabetes Risk

Compared to people of a healthy weight, a person carrying around just 10 to 20 extra pounds is at a significantly greater risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, the Weight Loss For All website explains, "more than 80 percent of people with diabetes are overweight or obese." Lowering your weight just 10 percent not only lowers your blood sugar levels, but also improves the body's ability to regulate sugar and insulin levels.

Lower Cancer Risk

Certain types of cancer, especially those of the gallbladder, prostate, kidneys, breast and colon, are strongly correlated with being overweight or obese. In fact, Weight Loss For All reports that "women who gain more than 20 pounds between age 18 and mid life double their risk of postmenopausal breast cancer compared to women who do not gain weight." Losing just 10 percent of your current weight can significantly decrease your risk of these types of cancer.

Healthier Habits

Throughout your effort to lose 10 percent of your weights, you will likely find that you develop new, healthier habits along the way. Rather than instinctively indulging in a bowl of ice cream every night, you will think twice before consuming the extra calories and fat. You might skip the soda at lunch, which cuts more than 100 calories from your daily intake. Rather than relaxing in front of the television at home, you might find it more enjoyable to go hiking or bicycling with your children.

Mental Benefits

If you want to lose more than just 10 percent of your weight, getting to this first mark will likely give you the energy, motivation and confidence to continue. The Weight Watchers website explains that "success builds on success" and "losing 10 percent is a milestone in the journey." Once you reach your 10-percent weight-loss goal, take the time to celebrate your accomplishment. Reward yourself with something special, such as a new outfit or weekend trip. Do not, however, reward yourself with a binge on fatty foods. Continue setting small weight-loss goals until you reach your ultimate goal weight.

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