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The 9 Best Reasons to Start Losing Weight Today

If you're overweight, you probably want to lose some or all of those extra pounds. But putting a weight loss plan into practice and following it all the way through to success isn't always easy. And one of the hardest parts is just getting started.

One way to get motivated to begin is by taking a good look at all the benefits of losing the weight. There are some powerful reasons to get started today. They generally fall into the three broad categories of health, lifestyle, and emotional reasons, and together, they affect nearly every aspect of your life. Hopefully, some of them will speak to you and move you to act on your weight loss goal.

Health Reasons

There are several health risks that decrease when you lose weight. Here are just 3 of the biggies:

1. Cardiovascular Disease
Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, and contributes to other risk factors of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

2. Type 2 Diabetes
Being overweight affects the way your body responds to insulin, and eventually you build a tolerance to it, leaving you unable to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Obesity is by far the leading cause of type 2 diabetes in both adults and children.

3. Osteoarthritis
According to the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center, being overweight directly increases the risk for developing osteoarthritis of the knee. Being even 10 pounds overweight increases the force on your knee by 30-60 pounds with every step.3

The good news about weight-related health problems is that even moderate weight loss, such as 10% of body weight lowers your risks considerably. This can be a powerfully motivating piece of knowledge. Set your goal to lose 10%. When you achieve that, celebrate your success and greater health. Then reassess, and set your next goal.

Lifestyle Reasons

Lifestyle changes go hand in hand with weight loss. Here are 3 of the top transformations you have to look forward to:

1. Better Sleep
The link between obesity and sleep disorders, particular sleep apnea, is clear and well-established. In a 20-year study conducted at an Australian sleep clinic, it was found that increases in BMI corresponded directly with incidents of problematic breathing events in the patients they studied.4 It's also been shown that weight loss improves the quality of sleep and decreases daytime sleepiness, even in the absence of sleep apnea and other specific disorders.5

2. More Energy
In addition to better sleep you'll be getting, there are other ways that weight loss increases energy. When you lose weight, you're simply not carrying around the extra baggage everywhere you go. Think about carrying around a 10 pound bag of flour with you everywhere you go. Now think about how much lighter and springier you'd feel if you put it down. Also, when weight loss is done correctly, your metabolism quickens. This, by definition, gives you more energy. Another reason for the energy boost is the rest for your digestive system. When you're eating less, you use less energy in the digestion process. This frees that energy up for other uses, like fun.

3. Better Example for Your Children
It's not only adults that are increasingly overweight. Children are following their parents down the path to obesity. When you decide to make the change to a healthy lifestyle, your children will see you as a living example of better health choices. Eating right and being physically active together as a family is good for every part of family life and health.

Emotional Reasons

The emotional consequences of being overweight can vary a great deal depending on factors such as how long you've been overweight and the core reasons for your weight problem. Whatever the factors, when you do lose the weight, you will experience emotional benefits. Here are three of the more common ones.

1. Feeling of Accomplishment
There's nothing quite like setting a goal, working hard, and achieving it. It boosts your overall view of yourself and your capabilities, and it prepares you to take on the next challenge.

2. Self-Confidence
Along with accomplishing the goal comes a greater degree of self-confidence in how you present yourself to the world around you. If you are self-conscious, often thinking everyone is staring and judging you harshly, weight loss will help alleviate this worry.

3. Relationship with Food
One of the reasons for your weight problem may be that you have an unhealthy relationship with food. Many overweight people use food to comfort, console, and/or congratulate themselves. Starting and sticking with a weight loss program will help you reorder that relationship. You will start to see food as fuel and energy for your body, instead of comfort and company for your mind.

Ultimately, making the decision to move forward and reach your weight loss goal is a very personal process. In your heart, you already know your reasons, be they health, lifestyle, or emotional ones. That is why you are here, working toward making that decision. With the proper motivation, plan, and commitment, all the benefits of weight loss are yours for the taking.
3. Bartlett S. Osteoarthritis Weight Management. The Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center. 27 February 2012. http://www.hopkins-arthritis.org/patient-corner/disease-management/osteoandweight.html#joint
4. Pretto JJ,Gyulay SG,Hensley MJ.Trends in Anthropometry and Severity of Sleep-Disordered Breathing Over Two Decades of Diagnostic Sleep Studies in an Australian Adult Sleep Laboratory. The Medical Journal of Australia. 2010;Vol.193(No. 4):213-216. http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/193_04_160810/pre10058_fm.html
5. Vgontzas AN et al. Obesity Without Sleep Apnea is Associated with Daytime Sleepiness. Archives of Internal Medicine. 1998;Vol. 158(No. 12): 1333-1337.http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/158/12/1333