What Can 5% Do for You?
You don’t have to slim down to your high school size to get real health benefits. Losing just a few pounds makes a big difference. Five percent of your body weight — 10 pounds for a 200-pound person — can improve all kinds of health problems, and make you feel better, too. Talk to your doctor about whether it might help you.
Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If you’re more likely to get the condition, weight loss is one of two ways to prevent or delay it. The other is moderate exercise — 30 minutes on 5 days a week. If you weigh 160 pounds, you could lose just 8-12 of them to get the benefit. If you already have diabetes, losing that weight can help you take less medication, keep control of your blood sugar, and lower the odds that the condition will cause other health problems.
Bring Down Triglycerides
They’re particles in your body that transport fat for storage and energy. High levels (more than 200 mg/dl) mean you’re more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. You can get closer to healthy levels (around 150 mg/dl) if you slim down a little.
Ease High Blood Pressure
Extra body weight makes your blood push harder against your artery walls. That makes your heart work harder, too. You can lower the pressure by about 5 points if you trim 5% from that number on the scale. Cut your salt and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy, and you may lower it even more.
Reverse Insulin Resistance
Fat, especially in your belly area, gives off chemicals that make your body stop reacting to the effects of insulin, a hormone that keeps the level of sugar in your blood normal. Even though your pancreas works harder to make more insulin, your blood sugar can get too high. A little bit of weight loss can help reverse this effect.
Stop Sleep Apnea
People who are overweight gain extra tissue in the back of their throat. When your body relaxes when you sleep, that tissue can drop down and block your airway. It makes you stop breathing over and over all night, which causes all kinds of health problems, especially for your heart. Slimming down a little can improve sleep apnea — sometimes enough that you can stop using the bulky breathing devices that treat it.
Have More Sex
When you’re overweight, you typically have less sex. It might be because you just don’t feel good about your body. But it also may be that you have less desire and that even when you’re in the mood, your body doesn’t respond as well. Shed a few pounds and you’ll not only feel better about yourself, you may be in the mood more often, too.
Lose the Weight: Exercise
You should be getting 30 minutes of moderate activity — a bike ride or brisk walk — on at least 5 days a week simply to stay in good health. To lose weight and keep it off, you may need more than that. Also include moves to strengthen your muscles, like pushups or light weight training. Check with your doctor about the healthiest ways for you to work out, especially if you haven’t done it in a while.