Losing weight is a common health goal, but you should understand why you want to lose weight before embarking on your weight loss journey. This can be as simple as having the desire to be healthier, but you may also want to lose weight to reduce the risk of chronic health conditions. No matter what your reason is, it’s important to set yourself up for success. Do you want to know the best part about weight loss? You don’t have to lose hundreds of pounds to start experiencing the benefits. We’ll go over that in this article.
Obesity In The United States:
It’s no secret that obesity is a global health problem. The current state of obesity in the United States is 42.4%, marking the first time it has exceeded 40%. The national adult obesity rate has increased 26% since 2008. Obesity rates vary from state to state, but the states with the highest adult obesity rates include Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Indiana. Demographic trends and socioeconomic factors contribute to higher rates of obesity in these regions. Statistically, Black adults have the highest level of obesity at 49.6%. Latinx adults are not too far behind with an obesity rate of 44.8%, while white adults have a 42.2% obesity rate. Asian-American adults have a 17.4% obesity rate. Those are the numbers, but we need to understand how weight gain happens over time in order to combat the obesity epidemic.
Understanding Weight Gain:
Understanding weight gain as a whole can help us correct these percentages and improve the health and lives of many. Epidemiologists estimate that the average person gains one to two pounds per year from the time of early adulthood to middle age. The numbers indicate that dramatic weight gain is concentrated to the 20s, for both men and women. The average American man weighs 185 pounds in his 20s, but he gets closer to 200 pounds by his 30s. The average American woman’s weight goes from 162 to 170 pounds over that same period. There are numerous factors at play, but a primary factor is that people leave school, so they participate in sports or activities a lot less. Depending on jobs or commutes, quick takeout meals become more attractive than healthier home-cooked meals. Add marriage and children into the equation and weight gain starts to climb a little more, until it plateaus in the 50s. Take the average weight in your 20s and add two pounds yearly into your 50s. Now, imagine your pant size.
At this point in life, most adults realize that they are halfway through life and they want to turn their health around. They want to lose weight and avoid chronic conditions that may already affect them, including heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. When you are this age, many factors make it difficult to lose weight, including hormonal imbalances or underlying health conditions. That’s why it’s integral to manage your weight early on in life.
Advantages Of Weight Loss:
The slightest weight loss, even between 5-10% of your total body weight, can benefit your physical health. If you are currently obese or overweight, a small decrease in weight can open the doorway to a healthier you. Even if your end goal is to lose 200 pounds, you may start to notice the following benefits once you reach that 5-10% mark. Here are some evidence-based advantages of losing weight:
- Lower blood glucose levels
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk of stroke
- Decreased back, knee, and joint pain
- Reduced risk of sleep apnea (or a reduction in symptoms)
- Improved cholesterol levels
- Improved range of motion
- Decreased risk of certain cancer
In addition to the above benefits, it’s also possible to experience other lifestyle benefits. These benefits relate more to mental and emotional health, but these are important aspects to overall wellness. When your physical, mental, and emotional health are in alignment, life is much better.
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved sexual function
- Higher self-esteem
- Improved self-confidence
- Enhanced vitality
- Better sleep
When you start seeing the transformation and feeling the difference, you’ll be more motivated to stick with your weight loss program. In order to stay strong on your weight loss journey, it’s beneficial to have the support of your piers, be they family or friends. A strong support system goes a long way in maintaining long term success.