If you are overweight, losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can positively affect your health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, you need to do so in a healthy way, since starvation diets and diet pills can have unwanted side effects and even damage your health. Aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week through a combination of diet and exercise for the most health benefits.
The most common reason for going on a diet is to lose weight. Eat fewer calories than you use during the day and you’ll lose weight. Add in exercise and you may also be able to improve your body composition, since the exercise will help you maintain your muscle so you lose mostly fat.
Lower Blood Pressure
Weight loss may help you lower your blood pressure levels, according to a study published in “Diabetes Care” in July 2011. Although improvements were greater in people who lost more weight, even those losing just 2 to 5 percent of their weight were more likely experience improvements in systolic blood pressure.
Your body uses triglycerides to store any extra calories you consume, but having high levels can increase your risk for heart problems. The July 2011 “Diabetes Care” study found that losing at least 5 percent of body weight may help lower your triglyceride levels.
Improved Cholesterol Ratio
Losing a small amount of weight may help you improve your cholesterol numbers by increasing your high-density lipoprotein, or good cholesterol, according to the July 2011 study in “Diabetes Care.” However, losing less than 10 percent of body weight didn’t significantly impact low-density lipoprotein, the bad cholesterol, in this study.
Decreased Heart Disease Risk
Since having high blood pressure, high triglycerides and high cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease, improving these numbers lowers your risk for this condition, which is one of the most common causes of death for people in the United States. If you tend to carry your weight around your waist, losing some of this weight is particularly beneficial, since having a large waist circumference is associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
Improved Survival Rates for People With Heart Disease
If you already suffer from heart disease, losing weight may make future heart attacks or strokes less likely and help you live longer, even if you are still overweight after your weight loss, according to a study published in the “European Journal of Preventive Cardiology” in June 2008.
Lower Blood Glucose Levels
Losing at least a little weight can make it easier for diabetics to control their disease, since decreasing your weight can help lower your blood glucose levels, according to the 2011 “Diabetes Care” study.
Decreased Diabetes Risk
Better blood glucose control, as a result of weight loss, can decrease your risk for Type 2 diabetes. In a study published in September 2006 in “Diabetes Care,” each 2.2 pounds participants lost led to a 16 percent decrease in their risk for Type 2 diabetes.
Not only will you look better, but you may also feel better if you lose weight. Studies performed using participants of the National Weight Control Registry have found that weight loss may also lead to improvements in mood.
Higher Energy Levels
The National Weight Control Registry studies also noted that people who have lost weight tend to have more energy. This extra energy may make it easier for you to do the exercise that can help you maintain your weight loss and get in better shape.