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What Are the Benefits of Losing Weight?

Author: Cara Walsh

October 26, 2017

What Are the Benefits of Losing Weight?

Author: Cara Walsh

October 26, 2017

Over the last few decades, as the waist lines of Americans began to grow, there has been a greater and more urgent focus on the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.

As weight loss became more mainstream, figuring out how to live a more active and healthy lifestyle has become the hot topic that everyone is talking about. From the classic aerobics videos in the 1980s to the infomercials peddling the latest weight loss craze in the 90s to now eating healthier and taking on new sports such as stand up paddle boarding or cross fit, weight loss is a priority for many people. Getting healthy and losing weight is not only the hip thing to do; it also has countless health benefits that are ageless.

Healthy Weight Loss

First, let’s talk about how you go about losing weight. One way to maximize weight loss is to transition your diet from an ‘eat anything, anywhere, anytime’ plan to an ‘examine the product and make smart decisions’ plan. In order to lose weight, it is essential to cut back on food items that have excess sugars, fats, carbohydrates, and sodium. (Keep in mind, the key word here is excess. Your body needs at least some of all of those macronutrients in order to function properly). Once the excess is cut out, you’ll need to replace them with more nutritious and wholesome foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Now that you know what to eat and what to avoid, you need to consider how much of it you are eating. Some people believe, falsely, that skipping a meal, such as breakfast, will save calories and help to lose weight. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Skipping a meal puts your body in starvation mode (i.e. it is wondering if and when it will be fed next). This causes the body to enter into ‘survival mode’ where it stores more fat than usual, just in case you don’t eat again soon. It is proven that those who skip breakfast, in particular, are about 4.5 times more likely to be overweight.

As you can see, this method defeats any goal of weight loss, and will actually cause you to gain more weight in the long run. Research shows that in order to lose weight, an average person should eat every few hours and divide their day’s meals into five or six small meals, instead of the three large ones that many people are used to. This causes the body to be able to keep blood sugar levels steady, therefore warding off any ‘crashes’ or urges to binge eat.

Of course, a proper eating plan goes hand-in-hand with at least 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise 3 to 5 times per week. This can be achieved by walking outside, doing a work out video at home, or heading to the gym for a weight lifting session or fitness class. It is important to see your doctor before starting any weight loss plan to make sure that you are healthy enough to participate.

Health Benefits of Losing Weight

The combination of healthy eating and regular activity leads to many health benefits:

  • Improved heart health: Weight loss is associated with lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and decreased risk of stroke and heart attack.
  • Decreased risk of diabetes: Being overweight can increase your risk for insulin resistance and diabetes. Untreated, diabetes is responsible for some serious complications, including blindness, kidney damage and amputation. Weight loss can improve insulin sensitivity, and in some cases, actually reverse diabetes.
  • Decreased risk of cancer: Though researchers aren’t sure of the exact link between obesity and cancer, the research does show that a moderate weight loss of only around 10% can decrease your risk for certain types of cancer.
  • Better sleep: It’s no secret that many Americans are chronically sleep deprived. Between work and family obligations, many people just aren’t getting enough good quality sleep. Being overweight can negatively affect sleep patterns as well and make it more difficult to get a good night sleep. Losing just a little bit of weight can help you sleep better and longer, and even get rid of snoring and sleep apnea.
  • Improved sex drive: Catching up on your sleep and having more energy not only makes you feel better, but it can also improve your sex drive. Regular exercise can also increase testosterone levels and direct more blood flow to the pelvis, which can give a boost to your libido.
  • Increased energy: Once you start dropping weight, you’ll probably notice that your energy levels are going up. With less weight to carry around, you’ll notice that you have more energy to take walks, play with your kids and get through your day.
  • You’ll save more money: Losing weight can help you spend less money on healthcare expenses and potentially even less on regular food expenses. The money you save by drinking less at the bar and eating more at home can really add up! Even more, a 2004 study found that the average paycheck is lower for someone who is overweight than for someone of normal weight.

If you’re ready to get started on your weight loss journey, get in touch with your local Medifast Weight Loss Center for more information about our program.
Here’s to a healthier and happier you!

About the Author:

Cara Walsh
Counselor at The Carmel Mountain Ranch Medifast Weight Control Center

Cara Walsh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Weight Control Counselor. Cara received her bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science from San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian through the Utah State University. Cara is currently completing her Masters in Dietetic Administration through Utah State University. Cara has always had a passion for healthy eating and cooking. She loves to focus on how food can heal and provide nutrition-while tasting delicious. Cara thrives on helping others reach their full potential nutritionally. In her spare time she enjoys reading, going to Pilates and running the boardwalk on the Pacific Ocean with her son and husband.

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