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There probably aren’t many of us that wouldn’t like to lose a few pounds (or ten or twenty). Everywhere we look these days we’re confronted with images of actresses and models with that oh-so slim and perfectly toned body – no matter whether they’re in their 20s or their 60s.
But, the reality for those of us without a personal trainer, private chef or in-home gym is that losing weight can be challenging (especially if you have a goal that seems impossible to hit) with so much contradictory information on which diet works the best and how much and what kind of exercise you should do.
So, let’s make it simple…
How much do you really need to lose in order to be healthy?
After all, we all know that being overweight can cause major health problems and has been linked to everything from heart disease and diabetes to Alzheimer’s and even cancer.
How much weight loss is enough then to lower your risk of disease so that you can have the quality of life you really want no matter what your age?
A big bang for your buck
The answer might be less than you think.
In fact, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine set out to answer just that question. And, here’s what they found…
In order to improve your health outcomes and decrease your risk of disease, you only have to lose five percent of your body weight.
That means if you weigh 190 right now, you would only need to lose 9 ½ pounds to lower your chances of ending up with things like high blood pressure and blood sugar problems.
That’s a much more reachable goal than if you were thinking you needed to get down to 160 pounds, right?
Of course, the researchers noted that more weight loss resulted in even more health improvements… So a 10 percent loss versus the five would deliver even more bang for your buck.
How to lose the weight
Okay, then how do you lose that five or ten percent of your body weight?
#1 – Be aware of thyroid issues
First, be sure to pay attention to issues that can slow down or completely stall your weight loss like a sluggish thyroid. Have your thyroid hormone levels checked by your doctor but be sure to ask for a full panel since many doctors only test your thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH and can miss an underlying problem.
If you find out you have an underactive thyroid or know that it’s already a problem, adding supplements like iodine, selenium and magnesium to your diet can help.
#2 – Choose an eating plan that works for you
The word eating plan is better than diet because often just using the D-word can send long-time “dieters” into a spin.
The goal is to find something you can stick to and provides your body the healthy foods it needs while still allowing yourself room to “cheat” so that you don’t feel deprived and give up.
#3 – Focus on your wins
And, no matter what… Don’t punish yourself or feel bad if the weight loss is slow or you hit a plateau. Instead, focus on and celebrate each small win down the path to a healthier you.
While our health may not be the first thing we think about when we consider losing weight, maybe it should be. And, all it takes is a small weight loss to deliver big gains when it comes to decreasing your risk for chronic disease and living a healthier and longer life.
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