Lose Weight, Gain Tons of Benefits

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Taking off just 10% of your body weight can have a big impact on your health.

With all the recent hype around Operation Transformation I wanted to delve into how a little goes a long way when it comes to weight loss.

Research has shown that losing 10% of your body weight — or less – can have big payoffs for your health.

Such a small loss may not seem like much if you’re just trying to look good in your jeans! But in terms of your health, it can be a big victory.

Health Benefits

With more than 50% of Irish men and 35% of Irish women classified as overweight, many of us would benefit from trimming down. Being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk for the development of a multitude of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more.

Lowering body weight can reverse or prevent diabetes; lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels; and improve sleep apnea and other sleep problems — along with helping you feel better about yourself.

Are You an ‘Apple?’

Losing a little weight can be especially beneficial for people who store their excess weight in their tummy area, rather than in their hips. This ‘apple’ pattern of weight distribution means you’re at greater risk for heart disease — but it also means you should have an easier time losing the weight, and thus reversing the risk, experts say.

Fat stored in the waist and in the liver is more metabolically active, which makes it more of a trigger for heart disease, but also easier to lose.

Start Feeling Better

Think of how much harder it would be to climb stairs or simply to walk if you were carrying around a backpack filled with 5- or 10-pound bricks. Now imagine how much lighter you would feel without the backpack. That’s the feeling you get from losing as little as 5 pounds or 10 pounds.

Losing weight, the healthy way means not only will you look and feel better, but you will have more energy. And what does it take to lose weight the healthy way?

The experts always recommend increased physical activity and a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean meats, fish, nuts, and beans.

Small Changes Add Up

So how do you go about getting there? The key is making small changes you can sustain. Think progress, not perfection. Forget strict diets and the old-fashioned trap of “all or nothing”.

The ‘B’ students are most often the success stories — the people who strive to make changes and lead a healthier lifestyle 80% of the time, and the other 20%, allow room for a little splurging on treats!

Some of the small changes most highly recommended include tracking your food intake, choosing an apple or fruit over sweets and treats, avoiding sugary drinks…even going for a small chocolate bar instead of a big one! Work at your own pace, be consistent and keep up the small changes.

Dietary experts say that losing 10% of body weight over a six-month period is the “gold standard” for improved health. At the end of the six months they suggest taking stock of your progress, evaluating the degree of difficulty, and setting a new six-month healthy weight goal.

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