Losing Weight: Losing A Little Goes a Long Way in Improving Your Health!

May 05, 2022
Losing Weight
Losing even a relatively small amount of weight can greatly improve your health, losing more has an even larger impact! We can help!

Losing even a relatively small amount of weight can greatly improve your health, losing more has an even larger impact! We can help!

When does excess weight begin to negatively affect your health? How much weight do you have to lose to improve your health? 

Is it better for a person to resign themselves to a lifetime of being overweight or obese than to struggle with the challenges associated with trying to lose weight?

What does the current research tell us about the effects of excess weight and the benefits of healthy weight loss? This post explores how excess body fat, along with the loss of even relatively small amounts of weight can significantly impact your health!

Excess weight and health effects

Numerous studies using various study methodologies have repeatedly linked excess weight to an increased risk for death and cardiometabolic disease. While this is not surprising, what is surprising is these increases are consistently noted starting when a person’s body mass index (BMI) rises above as little as 25.

If you are curious regarding your current BMI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a free tool to quickly calculate your own BMI here.

At a BMI of 25 to 30, you are considered “overweight” according to the CDC. When your BMI climbs above 30, you are considered “obese.”

As BMI rises above the normal healthy weight BMI ranges of 18.5 to 25, your risk also rises for:

  • Diabetes 
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease

The higher your BMI climbs above the healthy range, the higher your risk for these diseases.

Excess body fat and how it affects your health

Losing Weight

Knee pain, inflammation, fatty infiltration of the liver and muscle tissue, heart disease, excess fat is no joke!

Excess body fat undermines your health through a variety of mechanisms. These include:

  • Four-fold increase of pressure on the knee with each daily step for each excess pound, contributing to the development of osteoarthritis and joint pain
  • Fat cell hormone secretion includes pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as pro-thrombotic (blood clotting) molecules
  • Secretion of fatty acids from fat tissue into the bloodstream infiltrates the liver cells and muscle cells, creating a state of insulin resistance and elevated serum cholesterol 

How much weight do you have to lose to experience health improvements?

It can be discouraging when our BMI reaches numbers well above the optimal range of 18.5 to 25. Getting our weight down to that range can feel overwhelming and impossible.

However, achieving optimal weight is not necessary to achieve significant improvements in your health status and to reduce your risk for disease. 

Losing 5% of your body weight improves liver function and decreases insulin resistance 

Losing Weight

Just a 5% decrease in body weight leads to improvements in insulin sensitivity

Research has shown that losing as little as 5% of your total body weight can lead to significant improvements in:

  • Blood sugar levels improve due to fat cell and liver cell insulin sensitivity improvements
  • Liver enzymes (which can become elevated due to damage to liver cells when exposed to excessive levels of fatty acids)
  • Triglyceride levels begin to fall, reducing the amount in the liver by 13%
  • Improved fertility in females with polycystic ovarian syndrome

11% weight loss builds on these improvements

  • At 11% weight loss, insulin sensitivity improves in muscle tissue.
  • HDL cholesterol begins improving when more than 5% of body weight is lost.
  • Diastolic blood pressure begins improving when more than 5% of body weight is lost
  • Knee pain begins to improve significantly when more than 5% of body weight is lost
  • When body weight loss exceeds 20 lbs obstructive sleep apnea symptoms begin to improve
  • Reductions can be noted in IL-6, an inflammatory cytokine, when weight loss is paired with exercise
  • Liver triglycerides clear by 52%!!
  • Further fertility improvements in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • 21% reduction in serious cardiovascular events

16% weight loss lowers inflammation levels and insulin sensitivity continues to improve

Losing Weight

Improvements in blood pressure, sexual health, cholesterol, inflammation, less knee pain–the benefits of weight loss add up!!

At 16% weight loss:

  • C-reactive protein (a measure of body-wide inflammation) improves significantly
  • Pancreatic beta-cell functionality improves (these cells produce insulin)
  • Muscle cell insulin sensitivity continues to improve further reducing diabetes risk/ severity
  • Liver triglycerides clear by 65%!!! Talk about a true liver cleanse

Other benefits noted in the study-participants who lost weight

Those following a lifestyle improvement plan including weight loss and an emphasis on greater than 175 min walking/ moderate exercise per week experienced:

  • Sexual function improvements
  • Urinary incontinence improvements 
  • Slowing in the rate of decline experienced with aging over the study period
  • Reductions in hospitalizations and associated costs for participants 
  • Reductions in prescription medications and associated costs for participants 
  • Improvements in self-reported quality of life

How Lancaster Wellness can help

Losing Weight

If you have struggled with weight loss efforts, we can help you!!

Similar to the research cited above which combines lifestyle interventions with weight loss, Lancaster Wellness provides the following services to help you on your weight loss journey:

  • A progressive fitness program
  • Meal planning using evidence-based foods and strategies
  • Medication as appropriate 
  • Clients frequently experience 20lbs + weight loss

Summary: You don’t need to get down to a BMI of 25 to benefit!

The major takeaway from the research? You do NOT have to get down to a BMI of 18.5-25 to experience the benefits of weight loss!!!

Losing 5% of your body weight creates measurable improvements in our body’s health. These improvements climb as weight loss increases, and disease risk or burden decreases!!

Unsure how to get started? Reach out! We can help!! Live well!


Look AHEAD Research Group, Wadden, T. A., West, D. S., Delahanty, L., Jakicic, J., Rejeski, J., Williamson, D., Berkowitz, R. I., Kelley, D. E., Tomchee, C., Hill, J. O., & Kumanyika, S. (2006). The Look AHEAD study: a description of the lifestyle intervention and the evidence supporting it. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)14(5), 737–752. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2006.84

Ryan, D. H., & Yockey, S. R. (2017). Weight Loss and Improvement in Comorbidity: Differences at 5%, 10%, 15%, and Over. Current obesity reports6(2), 187–194. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-017-0262-y