A whopping one third of Americans are currently fighting a battle against obesity. It is a very real, and very difficult, struggle. When you think you have large amounts to lose, getting yourself to your goal can feel darn near impossible. But, the results of a recent study may just be enough to give you some hope!
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found that the greatest health benefits come from not losing extreme amounts of weight but by shedding a small amount relative to your total weight.
What's that magic number? 5 percent of your total body weight!
"Our findings demonstrate that you get the biggest bang for your buck with 5 percent weight loss," Dr. Samuel Klein, the lead investigator and director of the school's Center For Human Nutrition, said. "The current guidelines for treating obesity recommend a 5- to 10-percent weight loss, but losing 5 percent of your body weight is much easier than losing 10 percent. So it may make sense for patients to aim at the easier target."
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5 percent of your body weight is a much more realistic goal for most people, lowering the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while improving the metabolic function of organs like the liver which can lead to even more weight loss.
The study randomly assigned 40 obese adults with the task of either maintaining their weight, or going on a diet to lose 5, 10, or 15 percent of their body weight. The biggest improvements were seen when the subjects lost the smallest percentage. The subjects showed continued success with more weight loss but the impact was not as significant.
So what does this mean for you? If you weigh 300 pounds, all you need to lose to see improved health is 15 pounds. If you are 175 pounds, losing less than 9 pounds could see you reaping the rewards of better health.
The study looked at adults with a BMI of 30 or greater and it is unclear at this point if people who are overweight (but not obese) or those seeking to get into better shape will experience the same results.
Let this study serve as a reminder that you don't have to lose extreme amounts of weight to improve your health. It can be unrealistic to set ridiculously high weight loss targets and can lead to stress, anxiety and yo-yo dieting. Sometimes, that type of weight loss is just not sustainable.
"If you weigh 200 pounds, you will be doing yourself a favor if you can lose 10 pounds and keep it off. You don't have to lose 50 pounds to get important health benefits," Klein says.
Remember, healthy choices beget other healthy choices. Once you feel better and your health improves, living a healthy lifestyle will be that much easier. Why not let us help you get started? Cleaning up your diet is a major first step towards a lighter, healthier you. The BodyRock Meal Plan offers you 30 days worth of healthy meals and snacks that are sure to satisfy your tastebuds. We'll balance your diet for you! No more menu planning, no more boring dishes. Each week, we give you a detailed grocery list so all you have to do is grab the ingredients and follow along. Get your BodyRock Meal Plan here
What do you think of this study and its results? Does a 5 percent weight loss seem like enough?