Frequently, when someone embarks on a weight loss journey or transformation challenge, they’re focusing on the immediate results, such as looking in shape for an upcoming reunion, wedding or beach vacation.
And, make no mistake, no one will fault you for wanting to take steps to improve your immediate health and fitness, but did you know that getting fit and losing weight also has several long-term effects, even when you’re young?
In fact, reducing your body weight by as little as 5-10%, if you’re overweight, can have some remarkably astounding effects on your health, both in the short-term and long-term.
Here are three major long-term benefits of losing weight:
#1 Metabolic Health
It’s no secret that obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome are on the rise, especially in younger individuals.
More and more, young adults are presenting with a variety of metabolic-risk factors, including:
- High blood pressure
- Elevated blood sugar
- High triglyceride levels
- Low HDL (“good”) cholesterol
- Large waistline
Moreover, the longer you have these conditions, the more likely you will develop long-term complications and lifestyle disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or metabolic syndrome.
The good news is that these issues can be largely avoided (or the risk considerably minimized) by adopting healthy lifestyle habits, such as reducing processed food intake, increasing intake of nutrient-dense, whole foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, etc.), maintaining high levels of physical activity, and tracking your calories, using an app such as the 1UP Fitness app.
#2 Brain Health
Losing weight not only improves body composition and metabolic health, but it also improves the health and function of your brain. Research has found that losing weight improves mood and well-being as well as executive function, attention and memory.[1,2]
What’s more, losing weight may also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
#3 Immune Support
Carrying around excess body fat raises inflammation levels in the body, which can increase inflammatory cytokines -- small proteins that are released during periods of infection.
In acute scenarios, these inflammatory proteins can be beneficial, but when elevated chronically, it can reduce the effectiveness of the immune system.
Studies have consistently found that individuals who maintain regular exercise habits have better functioning immune systems and are at less risk for adverse outcomes during illness. Conversely, being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for serious complications following infection.
In other words, one of the best things that can be done to help support the immune system is to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy body composition.
The Bottom Line
Losing weight provides benefits both in the short term and the long term. However, it’s important to remember that results come from making meaningful, sustainable changes -- ones that you can do day in and day out, regardless of what life happens to throw at you.
With this in mind, it’s helpful to take a more “macro” view of your weight loss journey. Start by identifying healthy choices you can make each day and work towards making them habits that you’ll do no matter what.
In doing so, you’ll create a daily/weekly routine containing your healthy lifestyle habits that will set you on the track for weight loss success.
This includes things like:
- Getting enough sleep
- Having protein at each meal
- Exercising regularly
- Reducing reliance on processed foods and eating more whole foods (e.g. fruits & veggies)
- Managing stress
- Tracking your food intake to make sure you’re on track with your weight loss goals
To that last point, if you need help estimating how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, you can open up the 1UP Fitness app and get suggested calorie intakes and macronutrient breakdown to hit your goals based on your age, sex, training experience, and preferences.
For added help with weight loss, we also offer an assortment of men’s and women’s weight loss aids, including both stimulant and non-stimulant options, to help you stay on track with you diet and training and get the results you want!
- Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. "Weight Loss Improves Mood In Depressed People, New Research Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727102028.htm>.
- Veronese N, Facchini S, Stubbs B, Luchini C, Solmi M, Manzato E, Sergi G, Maggi S, Cosco T, Fontana L. Weight loss is associated with improvements in cognitive function among overweight and obese people: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2017 Jan;72:87-94. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2016.11.017. Epub 2016 Nov 24. PMID: 27890688.
- Risk Reduction of Cognitive Decline and Dementia: WHO Guidelines. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019. Evidence profile: Weight reduction and cognitive decline or dementia. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542803/