If you’re struggling to reach a healthy weight, remember that it’s not always about seeing a dramatic change on your scale right away — gradually losing just 5-10 percent of your weight may have a significant impact on your overall health if you are overweight or obese.1 By losing weight, your blood sugar levels, blood cholesterol and blood pressure, are just a few of the areas that could improve, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).2
Although this might seem like a small amount of weight to lose, the results can be significant. Here are ten ways your health may benefit from losing 5-10 percent of your body weight.
*Remember to always consult your doctor before starting a weight loss program.
1. Naturally reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes & improve your blood sugar levels
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) sponsored a diabetes prevention program that encouraged a randomized selection of over 3,000 participants to lose 7 percent of their weight by “eating less fat and fewer calories and exercising 150 minutes per week.”3 After a three-year period, they lowered their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, compared to those who were only given general diet and exercise advice.5
What’s more, research has indicated losing as little as 2-5 percent of your body weight could help you control your blood sugar levels.4 A study of overweight and obese individuals with Type 2 diabetes showed significant improvements to their blood sugar levels when they lost between 2 and 5 percent of their body weight.4 And if you are pre-diabetic, losing 5-10 percent of your weight may lower your risk of
2. Improve heart health
In the same study of overweight and obese individuals with Type 2 diabetes, this 5-10 percent weight loss also improved participants’ cardiovascular disease risk factors, including lowered blood pressure and, although not as strongly correlated, a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels (the “bad” cholesterol that can build up in your arteries and cause blockages).4
3. Increase your “good” cholesterol
If you are overweight, losing 5-10 percent of your current weight may raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol. HDL helps to remove artery-clogging cholesterol from its unhealthy counterpart, LDL.6 Higher levels of this beneficial cholesterol are also associated with a lower risk of heart disease.7
Exercising, eating a diet rich in vegetables and choosing healthier fats may also help you boost your HDL levels.8 Reach for olive oil, fish and nuts over more processed selections such as butter or canola oil, and of course, make sure to keep your portion sizes in check — as even healthy fats are high in calories.11
4. Lower your risk of sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea causes breathing to start and stop during sleep. If you have sleep apnea, while you’re asleep, your throat muscles relax and block your airway, which disrupts your ability to breathe normally.9 Men are twice as likely as women to develop sleep apnea.10 Measuring your neck circumference is a potential indicator:
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 17 inches or more may signal sleep apnea for men; for women, it’s 16 or more inches.10 Losing 10 percent of your body weight may help improve these symptoms and losing more may even eliminate the condition completely.11
5. Get better sleep
Losing at least 5 percent of your body weight may help you sleep better at night. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania reported obese individuals who’d lost a minimum of 5 percent of their body weight over a six-month period gained 21.6 minutes of sleep each night, on average, and enjoyed better sleep.12
6. Boost your mood
In the same University of Pennsylvania study, participants who lost 5 percent or more of their body weight also experienced improvements in mood, compared to others who had lost less weight.12 After 24 months, the study’s participants lifted spirits remained statistically significant.
7. Ease joint pain
Did you know that losing just 1 pound removes 4 pounds of pressure from your knees?13 By losing excess weight, you can alleviate additional stress on your bones and joints.14
If you happen to have osteoarthritis, a joint disorder, it’s common to experience pain while sitting, standing and moving. A combination of joint stress and inflammation can increase your risk of osteoarthritis, but weight loss has been found to lessen these symptoms.15
Studies indicate that obese adults who lose 5 percent of their body weight may experience a slight reduction in joint pain, but those who lose 10 percent may experience substantially more relief.16 Check out these 4 tips for managing arthritis.
8. Improve liver health
As the number of people affected by obesity and diabetes has skyrocketed, the number of individuals with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has also increased.17 About 30 percent of the U.S. population, or 100 million people, are affected by this disease.18 NAFLD occurs when fat cells accumulate in the liver which then leads to inflammation and tissue damage.19 Often, individuals with fatty liver disease have few symptoms. The disease can sometimes lead to cirrhosis, an irreversible condition involving scar tissue that affects normal liver functions.16 According to the Mayo Clinic, weight loss of 3-5 percent may help decrease fat from the liver, and a further loss of 10 percent may improve scarring and inflammation.20 Losing weight by making healthy food choices and including physical activity in your routine are the primary ways medical professionals recommend treating this condition.21
9. Potentially reduce your risk of certain types of cancer
While the relationship between weight and cancer risk is complicated and still being studied, some research has indicated that weight loss may reduce the risk of breast cancer.22 A recent study found that postmenopausal women who lost 5 percent of their body weight, over the course of three years, decreased their risk of developing breast cancer by 12 percent.23 In addition to losing weight, the American Cancer Society suggests women should stay active (at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week), try to sit less and limit their alcohol consumption.24
10. Reduce inflammation in your body
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to help fight off harmful stimuli, including bacteria, chemicals and foreign objects (like a splinter).25 There’s acute inflammation (like when you stub your toe), and then there’s the chronic type, which lasts for months or years.26 Too much body fat, especially around your abdomen, releases inflammation-causing molecules into the body, but may be reduced with a 5-10 percent loss of body weight. 27-28 Eating a balanced diet and sleeping more are two additional ways you may be able to lessen inflammation.
Begin your weight loss journey
Losing weight can be an incredible move toward improving your health and well-being. Whether you’re just starting to learn about the benefits of weight loss or you’ve been working toward a healthy weight for some time, paying attention to what and when you eat, enjoying mindful portions and participating in one-on-one weight loss consultations are just a few of the tools that can help support your goals. Celebrate the steps you’ve taken and remember, even seemingly small victories can have great benefits.
Learn more about healthy weight loss by contacting Jenny Craig. Book a free appointment with one of our personal weight loss consultants today!
This article is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources, including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, CA. They’ve focused on writing within the health and wellness space for the last several years, but have dabbled in the tech and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Stephanie employs a “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoys the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find Stephanie photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: Green apple slices with sunflower butter.