How much weight do you want to lose? Fifty pounds? One hundred? When looking at the big picture, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. Losing 100 pounds may sound impossible, and the immensity of such a task may make you feel paralyzed and unable to even start.
Like any other major goal, weight loss is easier when you break it down into smaller, achievable steps. That’s why we recommend focusing on losing just 10 percent of your body weight. Depending on how much you weigh now, that could translate to 20 or 25 pounds &mdash a much more realistic and less intimidating goal.
Why 10 percent? Research shows that losing even a small amount of body weight — 10 percent or sometimes even less &mdash results in disproportionately positive health changes. Even a small weight loss can significantly reduce the risk of many illnesses associated with obesity, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
One study found that people who lost just 7 percent of their body weight reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Another study conducted in Finland found similar results after just a 5 percent weight loss. A 10 percent weight reduction has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol by 5 points, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by 40-50 points, and reduce the need for blood pressure medications. Similar improvements have been reported for sleep apnea, often reducing or eliminating the need for CPAP after a 10 percent weight loss.
This is especially true if you’re middle-aged or older and have started experiencing symptoms associated with age-related disease. Starting in middle age, women typically begin to gain weight in the abdominal area. This abdominal fat, or visceral fat, surrounds the internal organs and is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and breast cancer. But visceral fat is the first to go when you start losing weight, so the medical benefits are immediate.
The 10 percent solution holds true for men also, but is especially important for women, who tend to be more susceptible to weight-related disease, and who experience increased risks with the onset of menopause.
Does this mean you can just lost 10 percent and then stop? Not necessarily. But if you’ve had difficulty losing weight in the past, or tend to regain weight after you’ve lost it, the 10 percent approach could be a more realistic solution. Focus on a small, achievable weight loss, and work on keeping it off for a year. Then, set a goal to lose another 10 percent. If you focus on the end goal, you’re likely to experience setbacks and plateaus that can leave you feeling frustrated and lead you to quit. But by setting small goals and focusing on maintenance, you’ll be able to build healthy habits that will increase your chances of success with additional small increments of weight loss.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers can help. Our weight-loss centers provide customized weight-loss plans that incorporate personalized supplements and ongoing support to help you reach your goal and maintain it. Contact us today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation!