1. Better life expectancy
Researchers in Canada found that having a BMI over 30 reduces life expectancy by over six years for both men and women. What was also discovered – having BMI over 30 reduces healthy years by 12 for men and 14 for women. The numbers go up to 19 if a person’s BMI goes over 35. Some people have an attitude that well, we’re all going to die, so might as well enjoy our lives (translated – “eat and drink whatever we want”). Unfortunately, the science shows you won’t be enjoying your life if you have to spend 20 years of it living with chronic disease caused by weight.
2. Health improvement
Losing excess weight can improve various ailments such as back pain, joint aches, fatigue and seasonal allergies. The most significant benefit, however, is reducing the risk of serious (and sometimes deadly) chronic diseases such as: • diabetes
• heart disease
• liver and kidney disease
• sleep apnoea
It is true that you can’t prevent all illness and even slim people get sick. Carrying extra weight simply makes it happen more often and more severely. When the body is already struggling to support the additional weight – recovering from a serious illness is a much more challenging task.
3. Improved relationships
Weight gain can put a strain on romantic relationships and family life. Obesity, in particular, affects the whole family, not just the person carrying the weight. The obese family member might not be able to participate in physical activities and travelling, get tired quickly and need time to rest. Obesity often comes with chronic pain and health complications. The romantic relationships are also affected – sometimes the spouse of an overweight person doesn’t feel physically attracted anymore. Excess weight can also affect sex life due to person’s physical condition, low self-esteem and difficulty in finding a suitable position.
Losing weight can improve a lot of these issues and change the quality of life for the whole family. Sometimes though, weight loss and a new lifestyle can also put the relationship to the test. The spouse might feel jealous when you start getting more attention from the opposite sex. They might feel abandoned if you no longer sit on the couch with them eating chips and binge-watching Netflix and head to the gym instead. Or they could be depressed if they know they need to lose weight too, but are not able or not ready to do it. The best way to “weather the storm” is for both partners to be honest and open about their feelings and changes in the dynamics of the relationship.
4. More money
It’s crazy, but it’s true. Research has shown that normal-weight employees earn on average 2.5% more than their overweight co-workers. They are also more likely to get a promotion or be successful at a job interview. A healthy lifestyle can save you money too – no more cigarettes, booze, takeaways and (hopefully) medications and doctors fees.
5. Better sleep
Snoring and sleep apnoea are both direct consequences of excess weight. It leads to disturbed sleep and tiredness. Bad quality of sleep is also associated with weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle. Luckily, even a small amount of weight loss (5%-10%) can improve these symptoms and further enhance the weight loss effort.
6. Improved focus and memory
Scientists can’t explain how, but excess weight affects the brain function. Losing weight has shown to improve memory in women and cognitive skills in men. And it doesn’t even have to be a dramatic loss; even a modest weight loss effort can have noticeable results.
7. Stronger immune system
There is a strong correlation between being overweight and a long list of inflammatory diseases – heart disease, arthritis, cancer. Our fat tissues (especially abdominal fat) are producing pro-inflammatory immune cells which circulate in the bloodstream and keep the body in a low-grade inflammation. The more fat tissues a person has – the worse the inflammation. It is one of the reasons why arthritis, asthma and allergies are more frequent in overweight people. An overabundance of these immune cells creates an imbalance in the immune system and makes the person more susceptible to infections, viruses and flu. The good news is – the process is entirely reversible with weight loss, and especially effective when incorporating physical activity in the weight loss plan.
8. Better social life
People who are overweight and especially – obese, tend to isolate themselves. The fear of being judged, lack of energy, low self-esteem and sometimes depression all play a part in it. Even the decision to lose weight itself can improve social life – when you decide to join weight loss group, regular exercise classes or join forces with a friend to do it together. With weight loss comes new opportunities – travelling, amusement park rides, dancing, riding bikes, playing football. Lean people have an easier time finding beautiful, well-fitting clothes too, so you can go out with friends confident that you look your very best.
9. More energy and fun
Carrying around excess weight requires more effort. Imagine yourself with a heavy backpack all day every day, even at night, wherever you go. Simply “carrying” the weight around makes your body work harder and expend more energy. The energy levels start to come back pretty quickly once your weight starts going down. Your body will also have more oxygen which will make physical activities easier and more enjoyable (goodbye breathlessness). People who lost a significant amount of weight report being more spontaneous and adventurous, trying new things like skydiving, rock climbing and last minute get-aways.
10. Improved quality of life
Overall, losing weight can significantly improve the quality of your life, and even your family’s life. Excess weight has a lot of consequences – physical, mental, emotional, social, even financial. I’m not saying your life will completely turn around once your weight is gone, but you can expect mild improvement in some areas, moderate in others and a better life overall.
What are you waiting for?
Good luck and good health!