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It’s no secret that being overweight can weigh on your heart.
Yet, considering how easy it is to gain it back, many of us don’t even bother with diets and exercise.
After all, why put in the work when the benefits won’t last?
However, that excuse might not pass muster…
That’s because according to research published by the American Heart Association the heart health benefits of shedding a few pounds can easily last five years or more, even if you gain it back.
Weight loss and your health
“Many doctors and patients recognize that weight loss is often followed by weight regain, and they fear that this renders an attempt to lose weight pointless,” said study co-senior author Susan A. Jebb, Ph.D. “This concept has become a barrier to offering support to people to lose weight.”
Yet, because most studies have focused on the immediate benefits of weight loss only, real evidence of just how long benefits can last has been lacking. So the researchers set out to do it differently…
They combined the results of 124 studies totaling more than 50,000 participants, with an average follow-up of 28 months. Specifically, their analyses compared the risk factors for both heart disease and diabetes among people who followed an intensive behavioral weight loss program (like dieting, exercising and practicing intermittent fasting) to those who followed a less intensive or no weight loss program.
And it was no surprise that the people who went intense with their desire to lose weight were more successful.
On average, the team found that the weight lost in the intensive programs was 5 – 10 pounds. And their hearts were clearly happy about it, experiencing lower blood pressure, better cholesterol numbers and even reduced blood sugar issues.
However, most people gained back 0.26 to 0.7 pounds a year, an issue you would think would make those benefits disappear.
But not so fast… the team found that on average:
- Systolic blood pressure, the top number in a blood pressure reading, was 1.5 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) lower at one year, and 0.4 mm Hg lower at five years after participation in an intensive weight loss program.
- The percentage of HbA1c, a protein in red blood cells used to test for diabetes, was reduced by 0.26 at both one and five years after that intensive weight loss program.
- The ratio of total cholesterol to good cholesterol (HDL) was 1.5 points lower at both one and five years after the intensive program ended.
In other words, losing weight won’t just help your heart and blood sugar in the short term. Weight loss can provide significant long-term benefits, whether you’re able to keep it all off or not.
Weight loss: a helping hand
It’s a relief to know that the heart-health benefits of weight loss can last five years or more, even if the weight comes back. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try a little harder to keep it off. Here are some tips to put to work…
- Satisfy your hunger – Many people who give up strict diet options like keto can find success with the Satiating Diet, which hones in on foods that make you feel full and satisfied.
- Add the weight loss juice – Studies have shown that drinking grapefruit juice helps improve blood sugar and insulin levels to keep excess pounds away. Grapefruit can interfere with some medications, however.
- Track your progress – Research by a team of doctors from the University of British Columbia Okanagan discovered that paying for a program that allows you to track your daily progress can help you double your weight loss.
- Keeping weight off requires a different approach – A study looked at the habits of people who’d lost 30 pounds within a year and kept it off. These folks maintained their calorie balance by staying super active rather than watching their calorie intake.
- Try supplements – While there’s no magic pill to help you lose weight (read about the problems with Wegovy here), there are three weight loss supplements that research says really can help.
Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!