By now we should all be aware of the health risks we face when carrying a few extra pounds around… and that the more extra weight we carry, the more dangerous those risks become.
If you’re overweight it’s not just a case of having to stop to catch your breath at the top of the staircase up to your bedroom – the act of walking up those stairs can put so much of a strain on your knees, you could be facing a chronic and painful case of osteoarthritis in later years.
One single extra pound of surplus body weight can put an extra four pounds of pressure on your knees. So losing ten of those pounds prevents an immense amount of potential damage from which it’s difficult, if not impossible, to recover.
And losing a few of those extra pounds actually gives you a better sense of balance, making it easier to walk up that flight of stairs to your bedroom in the first place.
Then again, there’s a belief that for every pound you lose it takes you two seconds less to run a mile if, of course, you want to run that mile in the first place.
So let’s take a look at three types of health benefits you’ll enjoy as you shed those extra pounds on your way to becoming a happier, healthier you: physical, mental, and emotional benefits… and, since you’re going upstairs anyway, sexual health benefits.
To lose weight effectively you’ll obviously need to be more careful about what you eat. If you can cut down on junk food that’s great. But if you can cut that junk food out altogether, your complexion is going to get so much better thanks to the nutrients in your new, improved diet… and if you’re exercising properly, much of the toxins clogging up the pores all over your skin are going to get sweated right out of there.
But that’s not to say you’re going to leave puddles of sweat behind you between the gym and the changing room throughout your weightloss program: as you shed those surplus pounds, you’ll find yourself sweating less and less, since fat raises the body’s core temperature and insulates it. Basically it’s the same kind of effect as wearing a heavy coat in a hot room all the time, and all that sweating is the body’s way of lowering that high core temperature.
So another way of confirming that you really are losing weight, aside from those daily nervous steps onto your scales, is that the need to put on an extra layer of clothing because you’re feeling a little colder than normal, means you’re losing the insulation you used to have.
And it’s not just your complexion that’s going to improve: if you suffer from hair that’s not as attractive as it used to be, those nutrients in your new real-food diet are going to help bring it back to its former glory once more.
Your energy levels are going to shoot up as well: the less extra weight you have to carry round with you, the less energy your body needs to use up just to keep you alive.
So that surplus energy can get invested into other things – like running up that flight of steps to your bedroom without getting winded, for instance.
But what causes that feeling of staircase breathlessness in the first place? One reason could be the amount of fat that’s developed in the chest cavity, preventing the lungs from expanding to their fullest capacity.
And if those lungs can’t expand as much as they should during everyday, low-energy activities, then the body’s not going to get the additional oxygen boost it needs when it needs extra energy, like during a workout, or some other kind of energetic activity.
However, as that chest cavity fat starts to disappear, the body can take in more oxygen, workouts become easier, and your body produces enough endorphins – those feel-good neurotransmitters – to reduce feelings of pain and increase feelings of pleasure. It’s your body’s way of rewarding you for all the effort you’re putting in, and encouraging you to keep up the good work.
It might not be obvious at first, but being overweight can make asthma and allergy symptoms worse. So if somebody starts suffering when the pollen count gets higher, it’s because that extra weight is putting a strain on their adrenal glands and their respiratory system as a whole.
Inflammation (which isn’t always such a bad thing, and in some cases can even be beneficial) can be linked to cancer when it’s brought on by obesity. However, inflammation levels can be significantly lowered when reducing body weight by just five per cent.
A weight loss of ten percent can lower the risk of gallbladder disease and developing gallstones, as well as the chances of congestive heart failure, by reducing stress on the heart.
Another health benefit of weight loss is improvement in the symptoms of ongoing medical conditions, which can lead to lowering dosage levels of the medications needed for those conditions. For example, it’s possible for those suffering from type 2 diabetes to manage it without all those regular daily injections.
And those medical conditions would include winter colds – as you eat better, sleep better, and start exercising in earnest, your immune system is going to get stronger and work harder that it did before you started your weightloss program.
Excess weight can also damage eyesight, in that it’s been associated with lower levels of antioxidants in eye tissue.
So losing weight is going to do you a power of good, physically speaking.
It seems that losing weight does have a benefit when it comes to a person’s mental processes.
According to a study published in the journal Neurology, heavier people were found to do worse than average in test of memory, attention, and learning.
In another study, women who’d recently lost weight were seen to perform better on memory tests than they had before their weight loss, as their brain scans showed more activity when forming memories.
From that, it was suggested that those excess pounds reduced the brain’s capacity for working efficiently.
And if people include physical exercise in their weightloss program, that exercise is going to increase blood flow to their brain, which, in its turn would boost the uptake of oxygen and nutrients required for good brain function.
As for the emotional health benefits of losing weight, we’ve got to look at the many, many types of emotion that cause people to gain weight in the first place.
For example, we’re conditioned to think that food is an integral part of celebrations – after all, what Thanksgiving or Christmas could you consider complete if it didn’t feature a fully-laden dining table? What would a birthday be without a ceremonial cake?
And then candy companies spend millions of dollars telling us it’s OK to treat ourselves with their product, for any kind of reason, whether it’s consolation, comfort, or reward. Often there’s the implied message that if you don’t reach for that product, there must be something weird about you.
One commenter said that cravings kicked in “when I found myself in a situation I couldn’t control or didn’t know how to deal with”, and there’s no way they’re the only person on the planet whose food cravings kicked in for that reason.
So there’s a lot of different emotions going on in the background when people start using food as a crutch.
And of course, far too often the food people use as a crutch is designed for instant gratification, is already seriously processed, and needs nothing more than to be pulled from its wrapper before being eaten.
After all, how many people have you heard of who, when upset, reached for the nearest available carrot stick, or started chopping onions for a spaghetti bolognese that they’re going to simmer on the stove for the next couple of hours?
Simply put, when someone gets out of their comfort zone for whatever reason, they grab instant relief in the form of an instant snack… and that helps them retreat back into their comfort zone once more.
However, no matter what that reason may be, it’s essential to deal with whichever of the many different kinds of emotions that lead a person to need food as a crutch, or for consolation or for any other kind of comfort they feel they need.
And once those emotions are identified and dealt with, not only will they never be a problem again, but also those extra pounds are going to start disappearing – with or without a weightloss program in place.
“And so”, as Samuel Pepys, the famous 17th century English diarist, used to write… “to bed”.
Much of the time that would sum up what he’d do after a pleasant evening out, but he was also known for including some of his more energetic sexual activities in those diary entries.
So along the lines of those “energetic activities” it’s worth knowing that testosterone levels drop as the surplus weight piles on. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology stated that testosterone levels in men with more than just a few extra pounds to spare were comparable to levels in men of normal weight, but who were ten years older.
And since testosterone levels can start to drop increasingly (and frighteningly) fast in men as they grow older, ten years could well make a big, big difference in those before-and-after levels.
While we’re talking bigly (think hand size here) for every 35 surplus pounds lost, it’s said men regain an inch where they’d most like it back. It’s all to do with the fat padding around the genitals disappearing, as that extra weight is shed. And if super-sizing in that department isn’t one of the best incentives there could be to hold off on the super-sizing in fast food restaurants, then frankly we don’t know what is.
The Duke University Medical Center surveyed over a thousand people of various shapes, sizes, and weights, and found that obese respondents were 25 times more likely to admit to dissatisfaction in the bedroom than those who weren’t quite so overweight.
OK, so that might not be such a surprise, but the study also revealed that losing just ten percent of a person’s body weight would make your sex life so much better, both in terms of quality and frequency. You can read about our Top 8 Workout Exercises here.
Plus there’s the added advantage of not having to keep stopping to catch your breath – whether you’re on the staircase up to your bedroom…
… or behind your bedroom door.