More than just lookin' good!
Take a moment and go through this "hypothetical situation" with me.
Don't worry; I'm not going to create some moral situation about life and death.
Instead, I just want you to think about one thing:
"If losing weight didn't help you look better, avoiding disease or live longer, why else would you want to do it?"
If you can't think of anything, don't feel bad. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight to look "fab", avoid or reverse diseases, or live a longer life.
However, there are many benefits for losing weight that are often overlooked.
Although these benefits don't usually come up as reasons to lose weight, I think you'll find that they are incredibly motivating and compelling reasons to lose weight and lead a healthier life!
Benefit #1 - You'll Stop Getting Sick All the Time.
Having excess body fat (especially visceral "stomach" fat) induces the production of "pro-inflammatory" immune cells which circulate in the blood and promote inflammation in our bodies. This often leads to chronic inflammation. (source)
One of the many adverse effects of having chronic inflammation is a weakened immune system.
In fact, studies have shown that the chronic inflammation caused by excessive adipose (fat) tissue leads to an increased risk of developing viruses and disease. (study)
Losing body fat can create a healthier and more responsive immune system. This, in turn, leads to fewer colds, fewer infections, and a healthier daily life.
Benefit #2 - Food Will Taste Better!
One interesting finding i've recently come across is the idea that being obese can lead to dulled taste buds. (source)
The thinking here is that the dulled taste receptors lead obese & overweight people to desire foods that are higher in sugar and fat to get the same amount of satisfaction as someone with normal operating taste buds.
While this hypothesis is not set-in-stone, I can attest to the findings. While the findings of this study may not be linked to being overweight directly, I DO think that eating a diet high in processed, refined sugar and fat can lead to this dulling effect.
Once I started eating a healthier diet that consistent of mostly whole foods, I noticed that the occasional Oreo or Reese's Cup was much sweeter than they used to be.
I believe this is because I wasn't eating a high amount of added sugar once I lost weight and therefore the occasional sugary treat seemed sweeter than what I was accustomed to eating.
One of the common factors that accompany losing weight is eating healthier foods. While at first fruits and vegetables may taste "bland", given time, they will start to taste more and more flavorful.
This is especially true if you limit the number of sugary snacks you are consuming alongside eating a healthier diet!
Benefit #3 - You'll Get a Better Night's Sleep
Another undesirable consequence that comes along with carrying excess weight is an increased risk of Sleep Apnea. In fact, 50% of folks who are obese experience sleep apnea! (study)
So why should you be worried about developing sleep apnea?
Here's the problem: Sleep apnea significantly decreases the quality and recovery benefits of sleep.
Sleep is a major regulator of our metabolism. If we fail to get enough high-quality sleep, our metabolisms can suffer.
What's worse is that a less than optimal metabolism can lead to things like elevated inflammation, accelerated cell aging, oxidation, and hormonal disruption.
Basically, getting poor sleep can create a nasty cycle of elevating harmful processes in our body while simultaneously decreasing the good ones.
By losing weight, you help your body regulate metabolism which in turn will make you feel, think, and live better
Benefit #4 - You won't feel all "creaky" and weak in your joints
An enduring side-effect of being overweight I experience to this day is weak and painful joints.
I can barely sit cross-legged on the floor for more than 30 minutes before my knees start to ache!
It's easy to see why being overweight can lead to joint issues due to excessive pressure on the bones, but another reason is due to inflammation.
Being overweight and obese leads to greater inflammation which in turn leads to more joint issues. (source)
Another complication that obese and overweight folks run into are posture problems. One of the biggies here is something called "Lordosis."
This is when there is an excessive inward curvature of the spine. This results in the stomach and butt sticking out more. (a.k.a. Donald Duck Butt).
Excessive lordosis can lead to severe back pain if left untreated, and I know from personal experience that having lordosis is no fun.
By losing weight and becoming more active, you can work to avoid and even start reversing many of the negative joint and posture problems that come along with being obese and living a sedentary lifestyle.
Losing weight to look good and avoid health complications are two understandable reasons to want to get healthy...
But just image how amazing life can be when you can move freely and have a metabolism that's working in tip-top shape as well?
Find a real, tangible reason to lose weight.
While some people are motivated to lose weight to look and feel more attractive, there are others who just simply aren't interested in that.
However, I think we can all agree that being able to move free of pain and have optimal energy in our day to day lives are both highly motivating outcomes of losing weight.