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Is a little bit of weight-loss worthwhile?

Dr Sally Norton, Vavista

Dr Sally Norton, Vavista

It’s an age-old issue that I’ve seen so many people struggle with all the time… Is just a little bit of weight loss worthwhile? The answer… Yes!

We would all like to be in the ‘ideal’ weight range and get disheartened when we feel as though that goal is unattainable. We may lose a few pounds and then feel that the goal is too far away….and we give up and the weight goes back on. A self-fulfilling prophecy!

But, did you know that even a modest weight loss can have an impact on our health?

Even if we lose just a few pounds and keep it off, we have done ourselves a huge favour. With that knowledge, the next time we manage to shift just a little bit of weight, we can give ourselves a huge pat on the back. Rather than feeling disheartened, we may then feel able to slowly take it to the next step…another few pounds will achieve even greater health benefits. Instead of recording the number of pounds you have lost and how far you still have to go, think of how much good health you have gained! And think of how much healthier you can get!

Science shows that losing even just 5% of your weight can pay dividends when it comes to your health. If you are currently weigh around 13 stone, for example, that means a weight-loss of around 9 pounds. Even if your ‘ideal’ weight goal is 10 stone, that 9 pounds is important! How? Well, research studies have identified that losing just 5% of your body weight can improve your glucose control, helping those with diabetes and perhaps reducing the risk for those on the verge of developing it. Improving or preventing diabetes has positive knock-on effects on your heart, blood pressure, kidneys and many other areas.

A small amount of weight loss can also help your joints.

Did you know that being overweight puts a lot of pressure on your poor knees? Every extra pound you carry puts an extra 4 pounds of force through your knees? So lose 9lbs and your knees will feel a whole 36lbs less pressure on them…2 ½ stones worth!

The great news is that losing a little bit of weight is far easier than losing a lot. If you have a couple of stone to shift, the quick-fix, rapid-results, crash diet seems like a good idea. How else will you keep motivated for long enough? Trouble is, you and I both know that sort of approach doesn’t work long-term.

If your goal is fixed on losing just a few pounds, you can look at smaller, easier ways to achieve it… simply swapping your morning high-street coffee-shop latte and muffin for a black coffee and an apple will save you a few hundred calories (and a few quid!) and could be enough in itself to lose a few pounds over a couple of months. Or making other smart, healthy swaps, like switching fizzy drinks for water, or walking instead of driving to work. Small changes add up to a few pounds weight-loss pretty quickly.

Then, once you have developed those healthier habits and lost that bit of weight, you can choose some new habits to work on and shift another few pounds!

So, the next time you feel that your weight-loss goal seems too far away to ever be achievable, just remember….every little helps.

By Dr Sally Norton, NHS Consultant & Founder of Vavista




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