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Military Health System

Six Immediate Health Benefits You Will See If You Lose a Little Weight

Image of A soldier assigned to the 256th Combat Support Hospital, Twinsburg, Ohio, drinks water from a gallon-sized jug during Combat Support Training Exercise 18-03 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, March 26, 2018. The 256th CSH implemented a goal setting competition, dubbed Dandy Camp, to teach and encourage soldiers to monitor their total carbohydrate intake during the field exercise. The overall goal of Dandy Camp is to educate soldiers about healthy eating choices and encourage soldiers to set and meet goals for themselves. . A soldier assigned to the 256th Combat Support Hospital, Twinsburg, Ohio, drinks water from a gallon-sized jug during Combat Support Training Exercise 18-03 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, March 26, 2018. The 256th CSH implemented a goal setting competition, dubbed Dandy Camp, to teach and encourage soldiers to monitor their total carbohydrate intake during the field exercise. The overall goal of Dandy Camp is to educate soldiers about healthy eating choices and encourage soldiers to set and meet goals for themselves. Photo by Army Sgt. First Class Debra Richardson

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Did you know that dropping just 10 pounds of body weight takes 40 pounds of pressure off your knees? That's equivalent to not carrying around a cinder block.

Losing even a little weight now can have a major impact on your health and quality of life. This long list of benefits might help motivate you to adjust your habits to achieve a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Reduce Blood Pressure

Eating more nutritious foods and drinking more water can reduce high blood pressure, and its risk of stroke and heart attack. Nearly half of service members diagnosed as overweight or obese are also diagnosed with hypertension, Defense Health Agency data shows.

Reduce Joint and Back Pain

Carrying less body weight will reduce stress on your entire body. DHA data shows that one in five overweight service members reports lower back pain.

Women's Health

Obesity can also have significant consequences for women's reproductive systems, including menstrual disorders, infertility, miscarriage, and poor pregnancy outcomes. If you plan to get pregnant, now's the time to shed some weight.

Better Sleep

The more weight you lose, the less likely you are to snore or have sleep apnea, where your breathing actually stops for short periods of time throughout the night. You might even get to stop using your C-PAP device.

DHA data finds that 1 in 4 service members who are overweight share a diagnosis of sleep disorder like apnea and snoring.

The result of better sleep? You're less fatigued, have more energy, and a happier bedroom partner.

Reduced Risk of Diabetes

Another bonus of losing weight? Your chances of developing prediabetes or full-blown type 2 diabetes drop significantly as your blood sugars drop.

Mood improvements

As you take more control of your weight, you may see a decrease in symptoms of depression and an improvement in self-image.

Finally, you likely will reduce the anxiety that hovers over you knowing that you're going to have to pass that fitness test.

How to Start

So get started. Talk to a nutritionist, dietitian, or physical trainer about getting your weight loss plan in place. In the long run, finding and sustaining a healthy weight lowers your risk of serious chronic diseases. Now's the best time to start.

Pro Tip 1: Drink More Water

What should be your first step and how quickly can that help you? The answer is as simple as drinking more water.

Drinking water throughout the day fills you up, lubricates your joints, improves your skin, eliminates toxins faster, and helps with digestion. No more acid reflux, also known as GERD, or eating handfuls of antacids like candy!

Start carrying water with you at all times and sip it until you need a refill. Then do it all again.

Making this one change can help with joint pain which comes with being overweight, as well as reducing arthritis symptoms.

Pro Tip 2: Start Small

The best advice from nutritionists is to start small and then make more changes as your health improves.

Start with a specific, measurable goal that is achievable within a short period of time. That will make it relevant to you.

For example, try to lose 5% of your body weight, dropping 1 or 2 pounds a week. For a 230-pound man, that's about 11-1/2 pounds.

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Last Updated: February 24, 2022
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