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10 great reasons to lose 10 pounds

Weight loss can be tough. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably made several attempts to lose the excess weight over the years.

Updated: December 6, 2020
Silver Number Balloons 10
By MBL Featured Blogger: Karen Eisenbraun
Originally Posted: August 19, 2020

Maybe you’ve even lost it, only to gain it all back — and then some.

Whether your goal is to lose 100 pounds or 40, it can feel overwhelming when you consider the big picture. 

The good news is, research shows that the first 10 pounds you lose may matter the most. Many people experience significant health benefits when they lose just 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. So if your starting weight is 220 and your goal weight is 140, try setting an initial goal of losing just 10 – 20 pounds. That’s a lot less daunting than the thought of losing 80 pounds! Plus, setting smaller goals along the way will help you stay motivated when things get tough. 

“If you’re overweight or obese, even losing just a little is better than none. But the rewards appear to be greater for those who manage to lose more.” – Greg Knell, MS, PhD, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health

Benefits of losing just 10 pounds 

If you’re carrying a lot of extra weight, 10 pounds may not sound like enough to make a difference. However, research shows that a 10-pound weight loss can improve symptoms related to metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. 

For many people, a 5-10 percent weight loss is enough to: 

Losing 5-10 percent of your body weight can also lead to significant psychological benefits. Focusing on small increments of weight loss often helps people feel a greater sense of accomplishment and motivates them to continue toward their larger goal. 

“If you’re overweight or obese, even losing just a little is better than none. But the rewards appear to be greater for those who manage to lose more.”

Greg Knell, MS, PhD, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health

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Take a look at these 10 benefits of losing 10 pounds: 

1. Less joint pain

Carrying extra weight puts more pressure on your joints. Being overweight increases the risk of pain in the knees, hips, and ankles. Over time, this excess pressure can wear down cartilage in the joints, leading to osteoarthritis, which causes more pain and loss of mobility. Losing just 10 pounds can ease the pressure on your joints and decrease your risk of arthritis. 

2. Lower blood pressure

When you’re overweight, your heart has to pump harder to deliver blood throughout the body. This can cause high blood pressure and damage the arteries. For many people, losing just 10 pounds can significantly lower blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease as well as kidney failure. 

3. Lower risk of type 2 diabetes

Excess weight can interfere with the body’s response to insulin, leading to insulin resistance and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Along with obesity, lack of physical activity, and high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease. Losing just 10 pounds can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 60 percent. 

4. Fewer respiratory problems 

Carrying extra weight also increases pressure on your chest, which can make it harder to breathe. It also increases the risk of respiratory problems such as asthma and sleep apnea. People who are overweight are 38 percent more likely to have asthma, and people who are obese are 92 percent more likely. Losing just 10 pounds can help you breathe more easily by naturally relieving the pressure on your lungs. 

5. Improved cardiovascular health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and is most common in people who are overweight or obese. Poor diet, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are also all risk factors for heart disease. Losing just 10 pounds can help ease the pressure on your heart and blood vessels, helping reduce your risk of heart disease. 

6. Improved mental health

Obesity is associated with lower levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in our ability to think, plan, and feel pleasure. Low levels of dopamine are linked to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Losing 10 pounds can help stabilize levels of dopamine and other brain chemicals, leading to greater happiness, more confidence, and a more positive outlook on life. 

7. Better sleep

Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea are common among people who are overweight. Every point increase in BMI results in a 14 percent greater risk of sleep apnea, and a 10 percent weight gain increases the risk of sleep apnea by six times. Sleep apnea is a serious disorder in which your breathing stops while you sleep, leading to decreased oxygen levels in the blood. Sleep apnea can lead to serious complications, including heart disease and early death. Losing just 10 pounds can help open your airways so you can breathe and sleep better. 

8. Reduced inflammation

Chronic internal inflammation is linked to many serious health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Being overweight is associated with increased inflammation. A 10 percent weight loss can reduce levels of inflammatory substances in the body and thereby reduce inflammatory damage in cells, tissues, and organs. 

9. Lower cholesterol levels 

Being overweight is associated with higher levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). Higher LDL levels lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Losing 10 pounds can reduce your LDL levels and increase your HDL cholesterol levels, both of which help lower your risk of heart disease. 

10. Improved sex life and fertility

Being overweight is associated with sexual dysfunction in both men and women. As much as 80 percent of men who are overweight experience erectile dysfunction. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression can also negatively affect sexual function. Overweight women are also at a higher risk of infertility, pregnancy complications, and miscarriage. Losing 10 pounds can help you improve your sex life as well as your fertility if you’re trying to conceive. 

The best way to lose 10 pounds

One of the best ways to lose 10 pounds is to work toward reducing chronic inflammation. In addition to causing your body to hang on to excess weight, inflammation can make you feel puffy and bloated. 

 

If you’ve always eaten a Standard American Diet — high in refined carbohydrates, added sugars, dairy products, and factory-farmed meats — switching to an anti-inflammatory diet may be a big change. You’ll need to reduce your intake of inflammatory foods, which include sugar, soda, fried foods, fast food, trans fats, processed meat, cheese, and vegetable oils. You’ll also need to increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods such as berries, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, bell peppers, fatty fish, tomatoes, nuts, seeds, and green tea. 

 

It’s important to keep in mind that following an anti-inflammatory diet should be viewed as a lifestyle change, not a quick fix or a temporary solution. If you lose the excess weight and return to your previous diet, you will regain the weight you lost. 

 

Avoid fad diets that promise quick results from eating an extremely limited diet or specific foods. These diets can be very unhealthy, and any results achieved will be only temporary. 

Will exercise help you lose 10 pounds?

Exercise can help with weight loss, but diet is more important. You may have heard the expression that weight loss is 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise. You simply can’t outrun a bad diet. If you’re putting a lot of time and energy into exercising, but you’re still eating unhealthy, inflammatory foods, you aren’t likely to see significant results.

 

But that doesn’t mean you should forgo exercise. Regular activity is a natural mood booster and helps reduce your risk of serious health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. It can also help you sleep better, boost your immune system, and improve brain function. 

How long will it take to lose 10 pounds? 

Weight loss works differently for everyone, and is often influenced by factors such as genetics, hormone levels, the use of certain medications, and underlying medical conditions. The amount of time it takes you to lose 10 pounds can vary depending on these and other factors. It’s important to remember that your situation is unique, and everyone loses weight at their own pace. 

 

Try not to get frustrated if you don’t start to lose weight immediately after changing your diet. If you have a lot of internal inflammation or other underlying medical issues, the body may need to undergo a period of healing before it begins to let go of excess weight. It may take several weeks for this to occur. It’s common for weight loss to be slow at first, followed by a period where the weight begins to come off more easily. 

 

Try to think of weight loss as a side effect of improving your health, not the end goal. As you focus on reducing inflammation, lowering your cholesterol, and improving your body’s response to insulin, weight loss often naturally follows. 

Measure inches, not just pounds

It’s also important to remember that the number on the scale tells only part of the story. While your weight may be slow to change, your body composition may change more quickly.

 

Changes in body composition can be difficult to see in the mirror, so document your progress by taking body measurements and photos. These can be a helpful way to evaluate your progress even when your weight seems stuck. 

 

You may be losing inches, even if you aren’t yet losing pounds. Pay attention to how your clothes fit and to other non-scale victories. You may notice that you have more energy, your joints don’t hurt as much, and it’s easier to move around. 

What if you can’t lose 10 pounds? 

If you’ve changed your diet and you’re exercising regularly and the weight still isn’t coming off, there may be something else going on that you should discuss with your doctor. 

 

Many prescription drugs can interfere with weight loss, including antidepressants, birth control pills, and antihistamines. If you’re using any medications that are associated with weight gain, talk to your doctor about switching to an alternative. 

 

Hormonal imbalances can also make weight loss difficult. The body produces many hormones that affect your weight. Imbalances in hormones such as leptin, ghrelin, thyroid hormone, insulin, estrogen, and cortisol can all interfere with your ability to lose weight. If you’re finding weight loss difficult, ask your doctor for a hormone panel to identify any imbalances. Some hormone imbalances can be corrected with diet and exercise. For others, hormone replacement therapy may be able to help restore your hormones to proper levels. 

Weight loss isn’t one-size fits all 

Finally, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to weight loss. Certain genetic factors influence how your body uses the energy you take in through food, and how likely you are to store excess fat. That means that what works for a friend or coworker may not work for you. Your body is unique, and you may respond to certain foods, exercises, and treatments differently than others. 

 

If you’ve been trying to lose the extra weight on your own with no success, schedule a consultation with a weight-loss clinic that specializes in personalized treatment plans. Your doctor can help identify any hormonal imbalances, medications, and other underlying factors that could be making weight loss difficult for you. Visit our provider directly to find a weight-loss specialist near you.

 

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Karen Eisenbraun is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and writer with a background in digital marketing. She has written extensively on the topics of nutrition and holistic health for many leading websites.

Karen received her nutrition certification from the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2012. She follows a ketogenic diet and practices intermittent fasting. Karen advocates a whole foods approach to nutrition and believes in empowering yourself with information that allows you to make smarter decisions about your health.

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