Many of us go on a diet as summer approaches. Swimsuits alone are a good motivator to shed some fat. On the other hand, there are all those picnics, barbecues and vacation fare…many of us step on the scale come September only to find that we didn’t lose an ounce, and perhaps picked up a few pounds as well.
But fall can be a great time to focus on attaining a healthy weight. The cooler temperatures and colorful leaves make our daily walk a little more pleasant. And then there are the looming holidays with their traditional opportunities to overindulge—if we get a head start on our healthy eating plan, we’re more likely to keep it up when Halloween candy, turkey gravy and Christmas candy tempt us.
Even though you’ve put your swimsuit away, there are plenty of other reasons to work toward a healthy weight. If you need a little extra motivation, check out these medically documented benefits:
You’ll lower your risk for many diseases. Obesity increases your risk for numerous diseases, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. Losing weight can, in many cases, immediately reduce your risk for these diseases.
You’ll lower your risk of injury. Not only does carrying extra pounds increase your risk of disease, but it also nearly doubles your risk of injury—everything from falling to overexertion.
You’ll save money. If you eat less, you’ll probably spend less on food. That’s the first, most obvious way you save money by dropping a few pant sizes. But it can save you money in numerous other ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person who’s obese has medical costs $1,429 higher per year than someone who maintains a healthy weight. And obesity can increase the cost of both health and life insurance.
Your memory may improve. Numerous studies show that being overweight can be bad for our memory. A recent study compared the memory of a group of obese people and a second group that had gastric bypass surgery. After 12 weeks, both groups took a set of memory tests, similar to ones taken before the study began. The surgery patients, who lost an average of 50 pounds, showed improvement in a number of cognitive abilities, including memory. Those who had not had the surgery showed a mild decline in memory. Additionally, obesity has been shown to be one of the risk factors in developing Alzheimer’s disease.
You’ll sleep better. Obesity raises the risk of sleep disorders, including apnea, one of the most serious. The loss of restful sleep leads to the production of more of a hormone that makes you hungry. The hungrier you are, the more you eat, which, in turn, decreases your chance of having a good night’s sleep—a vicious circle. By losing weight, you’ll sleep better and be less hungry. If you’re less hungry, you’ll eat less. If you eat less, you may lose weight. Turn a vicious circle into a virtuous circle.
You’ll have more energy. Those extra pounds make it harder for your heart to get blood to every part of your body and for your body to move extra pounds from Point A to Point B. Just imagine having to carry a 30-pound sack of flour around all day to understand the effect. Shedding those pounds means your body has to work less hard, freeing up all kinds of energy—to play ball with the grandkids, to exercise more, to do whatever your heart desires!
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