How Will Weight Loss Affect My Health?

Just a little more exercise and less food can make you fitter

Being overweight or obese has serious health risks. It can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, some kinds of cancer and more. Though it is ideal to reach the best weight for your height and body type, losing even a little bit of weight can significantly improve your health. Healthy weight loss should include a blend of diet and exercise.

Healthy weight loss

The key to healthy weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume. You can do this by following a healthy eating plan and increasing your activity level. Though there are many programs aimed at helping you lose weight, researchers at the National Institutes of Health claim that the only proven long-term and safe method is to reduce your caloric intake and increase your energy expenditure. As the saying goes, eat less and exercise more.

How much weight loss is healthy per week?

Though you’ve probably seen the TV or magazine ads featuring weight loss products that promise rapid weight loss of 10 or more pounds per week, that kind of drastic weight loss is unhealthy and the results often don’t last. The amount of weight loss that is considered healthy is different for each individual. However, slow and steady weight loss of one to two pounds per week is recommended and considered healthy by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, one pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories. So, to lose one pound a week, you should consume approximately 3,500 fewer calories per week, or 500 calories per day. To lose two pounds per week, you would need to consume 1,000 fewer calories per day.

If that sounds unattainable, keep in mind that your activity level also significantly impacts weight loss. The deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories can come from a combination of increased physical activity and reduced caloric intake on a daily basis.

Health, wellness, weight loss and you

Weight loss should only be a part of your overall health and wellness goals. Eating better and increasing your daily activity level also improve your long-term health and wellness, in addition to helping you lose weight.

The National Institutes of Health recommend avoiding foods that are high in sugar and fat, as well as reducing your alcohol intake, to encourage and maintain your weight loss. To improve your overall health and wellness, the same researchers say you should avoid stress, frustration and boredom, and avoid a sedentary lifestyle by increasing your activity level. Even simple things like walking instead of driving or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can benefit your health, increase your weight loss and improve your overall wellness and well-being.

Weight loss and your health

If you’re even slightly overweight, you can improve your health by losing weight. Researchers at the Lilly Research Laboratories and Eli Lilly and Company found that even a small amount of weight loss appears to be beneficial for your health. This is even truer in obese patients. These same researchers found that modest weight loss (10 percent) in obese patients appeared to improve glycemic control, reduce blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recommend slow weight loss of one or two pounds per week, until you reach your desired body weight, to improve your overall health. They also encourage gradual changes in your eating habits to lead to a healthier and permanent lifestyle change.

If you need help with your weight loss goals, a registered dietician can provide an individualized health and weight loss plan. Support groups like Weight Watchers are also beneficial learning tools and sources of encouragement.

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jgaskins34's picture
User offline. Last seen 1 year 42 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 10/31/2014

Being outside your healthy weight doesn't mean you require weight loss to become healthy or healthier than you are. The article does a good job of saying two different methods that can lead to being healthier, adjusting your diet and exercise. Adjusting your diet can be dangerous though if done in the wrong way. If you don't carefully take out certain things then you could be losing nutrients that you need that will make your attempted dieting more counterproductive than anything and cutting down on those 500-1,000 calories won't make a difference. The Department of Psychology at UCLA found that diets are not the answer in a 2007 study about effective obesity treatments concluded that "the studies do not provide consistent evidence that dieting results in significant health improvements, regardless of weight change." The physical changes you see won't be very large (losing one maybe two pounds a week) and even at that they also said, "These studies show that one third to two thirds of dieters regain more weight than they lost on their diets" so if you're dieting to lose weight than it is pointless as your results will undo themselves in the long run. Exercising is another good way of increasing your health but it because it may lead to weight loss is not what will benefit your health. The fact that you're getting exercise and being active is what leads to better overall health for yourself. Adjusting your diet and exercising are both great ways to benefit your health, however their relation to weight loss is not what makes them benefit your health.

Anonymous's picture

Although I agree on the fact that one should gradually change their eating habits to improve a healthier lifestyle, I don’t agree with the researchers saying that losing 1-2 pounds a week is the best way to improve overall health. It is much easier to gain weight than to lose weight especially since 1-2 pounds can be the water you’re drinking. To balance what you gain and the weight you want to lose can be very dangerous to one’s health. You can lose weight in several unhealthy ways such as doing meth but that doesn’t mean that because “losing a couple pounds will improve your overall health” that you should do it.

Anonymous's picture

have you actually checked your data about the morbidity and mortality rates of overweight or obese people. if you look into it you will find striking evidence that suggests that overweight and obese people live just as long and just as healthy of lives as the thinner class. We should all strive to live healthy lives ,that's it, no matter what our body size. i do agree that weight loss can benefit anyone but respecting your body first is the ultimate key to happiness.

Anonymous's picture

he is exactly right. diet is not really the answer as if you go and check the data there is a ton of evidence showing that obese and overweight people live just as long and healthy lives as there thinner counterparts. it is all about striving to live a healthy live not only in what we choose to eat but our every day lives. respecting and knowing ones body is the ultimate key to a happy healthy life.

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