What do you have to gain by losing weight?

Finding some good reasons to lose weight can take you from just thinking about losing weight to actually doing something about it. People don't take action unless there are good reasons for it! And, most importantly, having good, meaningful reasons to reach your goal can help you maintain your weight goal once you get there.


Lose those extra pounds! Six Pack Diets

Reason #1 - Look Better

No matter what age we are, we have an ideal of what we want to look like. How we look to ourselves (and to others) is rarely "good enough" and for anyone who is overweight, it's a real motivator to lose. Unfortunately, this starts at a very young age. A recent study published in Pediatrics concluded that as early as age 5, girls with higher body weight reported lower self-esteem than girls with lower body weight.*

Men typically want a flatter stomach, and women are usually concerned about having smaller hips and thighs. This makes sense since the deposition of body fat is heavily influenced by sex - women tend to gain weight in the lower part of their body and men tend to carry extra weight around the mid-section. For awhile, you can cover up extra body weight by choosing looser clothing, but eventually there's a point of no return!

What's the first thing that happens when you lose weight? People say "you look good, have you lost weight?" Have you ever heard anyone say, "I bet your arteries look great" or" how's that blood pressure now that you've lost 20 pounds?" And, doesn't it feel good when you can fit into the "thin" clothes you hid in the back of your closet?

So, looking better is a great reason to lose weight, but you might want to be concerned if it's your only reason. And, take a reality check. Looks and body type are strongly influenced by genetics. Making the best of what you've got is much more reasonable than trying to look like someone else.


Reason #2 - Feel Better

Getting a few pounds off can make a big difference in energy level, it's a simple matter of physics. When you carry extra body fat, it's like dragging around a 10-pound case of butter. Extra body fat is just storage tissue, it doesn't make you stronger like 10 pounds of extra muscle. So, the extra fat weight drags the body down, zapping energy, and over time it adds up to being less energetic. Studies of body movement and calorie burning have shown that obese people tend to move less. This makes for a cycle of - extra body fat - less energy - move less - gain more weight - move even less!

Body weight takes it's toll on joints, particularly ankle, knee and hip joints because they have to bear the weight. This joint pain, of course, makes it much harder for people to move and once again, makes it harder for an overweight body to burn the calories needed to lose weight.

But going on any diet doesn't necessarily make you feel better. "Crash" diets can make the problem worse! Quick weight loss leads to loss of water and muscle, and less fat. Eating too few calories doesn't give you enough energy to lose the right kind of weight!

Lose Weight and Get Healthier

Reason #3 - Get Healthy

If you're under the age of 30, you may not be too motivated to lose weight for health reasons. After all, the diseases that are strongly associated with obesity like heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes typically happen to those over 30. You've got other things to think about now - your education, career, finding someone to share your life with. Your reasons for wanting to lose weight are just as valid, but good health may not be one of them yet.

For those who are over 30 and are overweight, health concerns can become a major priority and it can hit home very quickly. Eating well and getting into better shape so that you can be around to enjoy your children and live life to its fullest are great reasons to make changes to your eating habits. And of course, looking better and feeling better is part of the whole package.

If you're making the effort to lose weight, the more reasons you have to follow through and the more meaningful those reasons are to you, the more likely it is that you'll be successful. Remind yourself of what those reasons are and follow a plan that doesn't just take you to your goal, but keeps you there.

*Pediatrics, Vol 107, No.1, January 2001