When you have a large task before you, whether it’s work-related, a home improvement project or even a financial issue, breaking it down into smaller increments can make things seem much less overwhelming. The same is true for weight loss. In fact, aiming to lose just 10 percent of your total body weight—that’s 18 pounds if you’re 180—is a great place to start. This works for two reasons: It breaks bigger goals down into more manageable pieces and achieving that smaller goal can mean a big boost, both to your health and motivation. Here’s what losing 10 percent can do for you (or someone you love)….
Decrease your diabetes risk. Your body uses insulin more efficiently when you drop some weight. This can help prevent pre-diabetes from developing into diabetes; or if you have already diabetes, it can make it easier to control your blood sugar and prevent serious complications like kidney disease, blindness, and neuropathy. Don’t have diabetes or pre-diabetes? Dropping 10 percent of your weight can reduce your risk of getting it.
Help your heart. A 10 percent decrease in weight can help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides, all things that reduce your risk for heart disease.
Put more pep in your step. Imagine carrying five-, 10-, or 20-pound weights around with you while you try to jog, play tennis, or simply go for a walk. Losing 10 percent of your body weight can make exercise and everyday activities feel like less of a struggle. You’ll be more energized and literally “lighter on your feet!”
Help you sleep more soundly. People who are overweight are more likely to have sleep apnea, a condition in which you stop breathing for short periods during the night. Sleep apnea can leave you feeling sleepy during the day, interfere with your concentration and even lead to heart failure. Losing weight can significantly reduce your risk for the disease—or help you reverse the condition if you already have it.
Increase your motivation to lose more. Losing that first 10 percent can be a powerful motivator to keep up the good work. Once you’ve met that goal, know you can do it, have seen the benefits, and know what it takes to get there, you’ll not only be driven to keep going but you’ll be realistic about how much more weight you want to lose and how long it will likely take.