We all know that losing some extra weight does wonders for our appearance and boosts the way we feel, but that is not all! Recent studies are uncovering evidence that losing weight improves our lives in many other ways, including some highly unexpected ones. Did you realize that reaching your ideal weight will improve your memory and affect your skin? Keep reading to find out about eight unexpected benefits of losing weight.
Healthy, Vibrant Skin
We often overlook the fact that our eating habits strongly influence the way our skin looks. A healthy diet composed of whole grains, lean meats, and generous servings of fruits and vegetables gives our skin the vitamins and minerals that it needs to flourish. In contrast, a diet full of empty calories, fats and carbohydrates robs our skin of its essential nutrients. Our skin is then unable to maintain itself and soon loses elasticity and its robust color, darkens around the eyes and even causes skin tags.
Quality of Sleep
Extra pounds and sleep problems are closely connected. As the levels of obesity rise, sleep apnea becomes more common. Doctors are beginning to notice that patients with sleep apnea improve significantly with weight loss. Some patients have seen their symptoms decrease by fifty percent. This is an outstanding benefit from weight loss when you consider that sleep apnea is potentially life-threatening. Another interesting fact is that people who sleep well at night are more likely to lose weight. Sufficient rest gives us the alertness and motivation that we need to exercise and make healthy choices.
Less Sneezing and Wheezing
Recent data is showing that being overweight increases the immunoglobulin E circulating in our bodies. Immunoglobulins E, or IgE, are antibodies that our immune system releases when an allergen is present. IgE then triggers specific cells which begin the allergic reaction. Being overweight also puts stress on our adrenal glands and lungs. These three factors: increased IgE, changes in the adrenal gland and difficulty breathing, mean that those who are overweight have more allergies and more severe asthma symptoms.
Less Arthritis Pain
Excess weight is directly linked to allergies and also to inflammation. As fat deposits in our bodies multiply, the levels of proinflammatory cytokines also increase. These cytokines promote inflammation throughout our whole system, which includes arthritic joints. Losing weight decreases the pressure on hip and knee joints and it decreases the inflammation when arthritis is present.
A Brighter Outlook on Life
A few extra grams here and there add up to extra pounds and over time we gradually become overweight. As our waist grows, we don’t realize that our hormones are becoming increasingly imbalanced. This hormone imbalance increases depression, mood swings, and listlessness and in women, PMS is intensified. Just as hormone imbalance accompanies weight gain, weight loss regulates our hormones and improves our mood.
Relief for Our Feet
All day long our feet bear the pressure of our weight. When we are overweight, the joints and bones in our feet experience excessive wear and begin to complain with dull aches and sharp pains. Shedding a few pounds gives our feet relief and decreases our discomfort. This is powerful motivation to start losing weight!
A few years ago, studies were done which proved that obesity decreases episodic memory. Episodic memory is your ability to recall everyday happenings. More recent studies have been done which used a functional MRI to map brain activity in people before and after a six month diet.
After the diet and with an average weight loss of ten pounds, these test subjects exhibited increased activity in various parts of their brains, including the memory sector.
Prevents or Improves Type II Diabetes
Simply being overweight increases the risk of diabetes, while obesity, which means a BMI of 30 or above, gives us an eighty percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Abdominal fat in particular, releases chemicals which decrease our body’s sensitivity to insulin and as a result, adult-onset diabetes begins to develop. Losing weight reverses this chain of events and can prevent, reverse or improve the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
We have considered eight unexpected and wonderful benefits of weight loss. Don’t let these benefits go in one ear and out the other. Instead, let them motivate you to make lifestyle changes and begin losing weight!