Most people have had it happen. They see the scale go up a few pounds after the Holidays. Or they only see a few pounds come off after weeks of trying to lose weight. It can’t really be that bad or good – can it? You may be surprised by our findings!
First, what about gaining a few pounds? By itself, this may not be that harmful. And if you address it immediately, they can come back off or you can keep yourself from gaining more. However, if you have been gaining a few pounds year after year after year, it does add up. Being overweight (weighing 20% over ideal weight) places people at higher risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, gout, arthritis and certain types of cancer. In addition, carrying around extra weight can be harmful to joints and bones. All of this can lead to lower quality of life and depression.
Talk about depressing. Okay, so far this is not such good news. So, what can a few pounds of weight loss do for someone who is overweight? More than you probably think!
Let’s start with the knees. Each pound of weight loss equals a 4 pound reduction in joint stress per step. Over a mile, this would reduce the load by 4800 pounds. And when you have lost 10 pounds this would equal a 48,000 pound reduction over the same mile. Isn’t that the bees’ knees!
Let’s up the ante to 6 pounds. This amount of weight loss has been shown to decrease chronic inflammation in the body. It can also increase your HDL (good) cholesterol by 1 point. Inflammation and low HDL levels have been linked to vascular diseases. Less inflammation and improved HDL levels could mean less disease. This is when less is really more!
What happens when you reach 10 pounds of weight loss? This is closer to what is recommended for better overall health. When 5 – 10% of weight is lost, blood pressure readings can drop by 3 – 5 points, you will sleep better, your risk of developing breast cancer or having a heart attack is cut by 50%, and you can add up to 10 years to your life. Now that is something to bang the drum about!
For more information on our weight loss programs at Dedham Health, visit or website or give us a call at 781-326-2900!
-Cathy Mullooly, Diabetes and Exercise Consultant at Dedham Health