It makes sense that decreasing your risk of life-threatening conditions would lead to a longer life. “A 5 percent loss can lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, so yes, it may indeed extend your life,” Sass says. Dr. Webster agrees that losing even a small amount of weight can improve overall health, though official reports haven’t confirm this. “Although 5 percent weight loss improves health and decreases the risk factors for serious diseases, we do not know if this will translate into an increase in lifespan, because that study has never been done,” Dr. Klein says. The reverse, though, has been shown: Those with a high BMI have a greater overall mortality risk. In any case, if you’re looking to feel better both inside and out, it doesn’t take a major weight transformation—just a few pounds will do. Find out how much your life expectancy goes down for every two pounds you gain.
Losing a little bit of weight can help you conceive if you’re looking to have a baby. “Women with BMIs [body mass index, or ratio of height to weight] greater than 27 are at increased risk of abnormal periods and infertility,” says Jane van Dis, MD, chair of the Bakersfield Memorial obstetrics and gynecology department and medical director of business development for Ob Hospitalist Group. “Studies show women with elevated BMIs are at increased risk for insulin resistance, which can then lead to increased testosterone circulating in the body.” This can cause polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), in which ovulation doesn’t occur regularly. But losing just 10 to 15 pounds can help bring your periods back to normal. Here’s how to lose weight if you have PCOS.
In one four-week Spanish study, researchers found that eating a calorie-restricted diet that also included four weekly servings of legumes aided weight loss more effectively than an equivalent diet sans the pulses. Those who consumed the legume-rich diet also saw improvements in their bad LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure. Next time you’re cooking something starchy for dinner, consider eating fiber and protein-packed lentils instead.
The truth is there is no “one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy weight loss. What works for one person may not work for you, since our bodies respond differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors. To find the method of weight loss that’s right for you will likely take time and require patience, commitment, and some experimentation with different foods and diets.
Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Get these seven tips for the best sleep ever! Why? Ever notice how you start to crave donuts and drive-thru breakfasts when you’re exhausted? When you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones are thrown out of balance. Running on no sleep can actually drive up the hormones that make you want to eat, while pushing down the hormones that signal for fullness—and that’s a recipe for weight gain. When you’re well-rested, it’s much easier to make healthy decisions and stay on track.