When they think about losing weight, many people set a target weight — to get back to 65 kg, for example — and they will only be satisfied when they reach that goal, which does not always happen, since to reach the goal set, sometimes it is necessary shed 30kg, 40kg, 50kg—which takes time and isn’t always easy.
But know that, thinking about having a healthier life, a small reduction in body fat is already reason to celebrate. Studies have shown that the health benefits are already evident with a 5% to 10% weight reduction, such as improved mental health, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer, improved sleep quality and increased sleep. self-esteem and sexual desire, as well as increased energy levels.
Here are some of the benefits you get from reducing that 5% to 10% of your weight.
blood glucose improvement
Adipose tissue (body fat) causes an inflammatory process that, in excess, interferes with the function of insulin — which carries sugar from the bloodstream into cells. Research shows a 5% reduction in body weight improves blood glucose — blood sugar, which when consistently elevated increases the risk of disease.
Weight loss improves insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. In addition, research shows that a 5% to 10% weight reduction can halve the marker used to track and monitor diabetes (glycated hemoglobin or A1C).
Another condition seen with weight gain. In this disorder, the pancreas produces greater than normal amounts of insulin. In this condition, high levels of the hormone are needed because the tissues are resistant to its effects. When someone has insulin resistance, high levels of insulin in the blood cause an increase in fat tissue especially in the waist area, abnormal cholesterol level and sometimes a change in certain hormone levels in women. Modest weight loss is already capable of significantly lowering insulin levels and thus helping to reverse these conditions.
Improved cardiovascular health
Excess body weight is associated with 25% to 30% of cases of hypertension – which increases the risk of problems such as heart attack and stroke. When losing 5% to 10% of weight, blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) decreases by an average of 5 mmHg — it is worth remembering that for this there must be a change in lifestyle in conjunction with a diet low in salt, rich in vegetables and vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products. Thus, there is an improvement in cardiovascular health, reducing the pressure in the arteries and, in this way, the heart does not have to work as hard to pump blood through the body.
Improved sleep apnea
People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from this condition — a disorder characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, which results in insufficient oxygenation. This causes fatigue and drowsiness during the day. It is also responsible for making certain diseases less responsive to treatment, such as hypertension. Excess weight can increase fat deposits in the neck, which can clog the airways.
It has been shown that a 5% to 10% weight loss can improve sleep apnea, and sometimes, if the apnea is not too severe, one can wean off the CPAP breathing machine. However, further follow-up is required. Research shows that losing 10% to 15% of your body weight can improve sleep quality and reduce the severity of sleep apnea to moderate levels.
Esteem, energy and sexual desire
A 2014 review examined 36 studies to determine the psychological benefits of weight loss. The researchers found consistent improvements in body image, self-esteem and general well-being among individuals who lost weight. Plus, since weight loss can improve sleep, you may also feel more energized during the day.
Excess weight also forces your body to work harder to move. So losing a few pounds means you use less energy to move around, improving respiratory function, which can also make you feel more energized.
These factors go a long way towards improving sex drive, and while research into the correlation between being overweight and sex drive is still new, studies show that weight gain increases levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in the blood, decreasing free testosterone levels, as a consequence, libido.
In studies that analyzed the effect of excess weight on the cells of the human body, it was found that fat cells and especially abdominal fat cells produce a large number of substances that result in inflammation in the blood vessels. This inflammation can result in plaques and clots and can lead to strokes and heart attacks. When weight loss reaches a level of 10%, the levels of inflammatory substances circulating in the blood decrease significantly and therefore the risk of vascular damage is also reduced.
Reducing the risk of cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is believed to be the cause of about 11% of cancers in women and about 5% of cancers in men. Obesity increases the risk of developing several types of tumors, including: endometrial cancer, breast cancer (in post-menopausal women), cancer of the kidney system, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer.
The exact link between being overweight and cancer is still unknown, but researchers believe inflammation due to visceral fat — which surrounds vital organs — is to blame. Therefore, losing weight can lower your risk of developing these types of cancer.
Some people may need to lose a lot more weight to reap the aforementioned benefits — so an individualized assessment is necessary. But more often than not, losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight can lead to many health benefits, such as improved heart health and decreased risk of diabetes. But how do I achieve these goals?
Weight loss starts with lifestyle changes, diet and exercise (there’s no secret). Always look for a professional to assist you in training and proper nutrition, in addition to assessing your health.
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