The Big Payoff from Small Weight Loss

Health Writer

In need of some weight loss motivation? A new study encourages even small weight loss, based on findings that it could provide a big payoff.

At some point in any person’s battle with obesity or being overweight, there comes a time where it becomes very important to face reality and start making changes to lose weight. However most weight experts can agree that setting goals that are too lofty or ambitious may end up pushing the person to abandon their efforts, or caught in a vicious cycle of weight loss and weight gain. But what if you feel that achieving small weight loss goals doesn't really seem like progress? A recent study, published in the journal, Cell Metabolism, reveals that shedding just a few pounds can reduce the risk of some serious health issues and even modify ongoing disease.

A small study with big results

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis) looked at a group of 40 subjects. They examined three groups of patients, some who had lost 5 percent of their weight, some had lost 10 percent of their weight and some who had lost 15 percent.

Researchers found that even just a 5 percent weight loss was enough to reduce several risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That’s huge!!!! This suggests that if you are about 5’8” in height , weigh 200 pounds and have insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome,hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure , that losing just 10 pounds, can modify and improve your profile of these risk factors.

The weight loss results also translate into less of a health burden on your heart, kidneys and pancreas. Think of the 5 percent as a big bang for your buck, and let the small goal motivate you.

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Creating realistic goals

Even if your health is in dire need of significant weight loss, knowing that a small first step has a major payoff can be a huge motivator for someone to stay the course when it comes to a committed lifestyle change.

Here are some first-round habit changes that can easily fuel a 5 percent initial weight loss:

  • Swap out all caloric drinks for water or unsweetened teas or black coffee

  • If you must drink coffee with cream, choose one of the new very low calorie creamers.

  • Measure out all grains and pastas using “80 calories or a half cup per serving” as your guide. Drop down to three servings daily.

  • Avoid fried foods.

  • Limit red meat to once a week and eat skinless white meats.

  • Avoid creamy dressings and always have oil-based dressings and condiments on the side. A serving is one to two level tablespoons.

Just embracing these somewhat tolerable habits can easily help you to achieve a 5 percent weight loss over a four to five-week period.

Your next set of goals

Once you reach this initial goal, you will likely feel better and will have lowered your risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and other metabolic disease. Use that goal and achievement to fuel another round of weight loss and to help motivate additional habit changes. You can add (to the existing list above) the following habits:

  • Cook more at home so that you control ingredients and portions.

  • Cook simple recipes that use measured amounts of healthy oils, spices and herbs to season food.

  • Use fat free yogurt, cashews blended with water (which becomes creamy), and silken tofu to cream up recipes.

  • Commit to selecting only whole grain or high protein breads, cereals, pastas and rice.

  • Swap out desserts for whole fruits.

  • Go meat free at least three days a week.

  • Make your lunch and dinner plate half vegetables, one quarter protein and one quarter grain.

  • Try not to eat after dinner.

_Let this study help to alleviate the pressure of a lofty weight loss goal!! Just a 5 percent loss of body weight gets you some motivating health benefits!! _

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U.S. News & World Reports