Health benefits of losing weight

If you are overweight or obese, the ideal and healthiest way is to lose weight gradually.

A sensible weight loss rate would be 0.5 – 1kg (1-2lbs) per week.

Nevertheless, whatever weight you are, a small reduction (around 5-10% of your starting weight) can produce significant health benefits.

Benefits of losing weight include:
  • Reduction in high cholesterol levels
  • Reduction in joint pain associated with arthritis
  • Reduction in breathlessness
  • Ability to exercise more easily
  • Improvement in blood sugar level
  • Improvement in your fertility
  • Reduction in the likelihood of suffering from:
    • Cancer
    • Coronary Heart Disease
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Stroke
Woman exercising

There are many reasons why people want to lose weight, it may be because of their health, but there may be more personal reasons for wanting to change.

Below are some quotes from people who have started to make changes to lead a healthier life:

If I lose weight I will be able to fit into smaller dress size"
"Losing weight will mean that I won't need to take the medication for my diabetes"
"The pain in my knee will be reduced if I lose weight"

If you are overweight, spend a few minutes thinking about what losing weight would mean to you.

Facing the challenges

It's often easy to focus only on the positive things that can come from losing weight. But often there is a cost too, as you will need to change behaviours that you enjoy or have been doing for a long time.

Thinking through the pros and cons realistically will help you to anticipate the things that might make your plans difficult to stick to, so that you can think ahead of ways to overcome them.

Download a pdf of the 'Facing the Challenges' Worksheet
Click here to watch some videos from the British Heart Foundation about the health benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Why does it matter if someone is overweight?
Identifying and noting down the factors that helped or hindered you in the past, can help you to better plan what sort of support you need to lose weight now.
  1. What factors do you think led you to gain weight?
  2. Was your weight gain linked to a particular time in your life – for example, having children, stopping work, giving up smoking?
  3. What factors do you think have helped you to lose weight in the past?
  4. Reflect on the last time you were able to lose weight. What was different between then and now? For example, did you have someone to support you, were you more active, did you have less opportunity to snack between meals?
  5. If you lost weight, then put it back on, what factors do you think caused you to regain weight?
  6. How quickly did the weight come back on again? Why do you think you found it difficult to stick to your changed eating and activity patterns?
  7. What have you learned from previous weight loss attempts that can help you stick with eating or activity changes this time?
Download a pdf of the 'Reflecting on your Weight Gain' Worksheet