Don’t Make the Same Mistake Every Year. Your Life Depends On It.
It’s January, and like every other American around this time you have a New Year’s resolution. You may be trying to lose weight; either by promising to go to the gym more often or eating “better”. That’s great. Do your research on the actions you will need to take, but I implore you to set a goal for your weight loss.
Precisely how much weight should you lose this year to successfully fulfill your resolution? According to scientific literature, a weight loss of anywhere between 5% and 10% of your baseline weight (today’s weight) can have tremendous health benefits. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs. today then you should aim to weigh between 180–190 lbs. by January 2020. You may be thinking that this does not sound like an impressive weight loss. Don’t be fooled, consider these health benefits:
- If you have pre-diabetes, you can cut your risk for diabetes by almost 60% if you lose just 7% of your body weight².
- If you are overweight or obese and suffer from knee pain related to osteoarthritis, then a weight loss of at least 10% can significantly decrease your pain and improve knee function¹. This is a dose-dependent response, which means the more weight you lose the more powerful the effects will be.
- A weight loss of just 5% can cause physiologic changes that include: improving multi-organ insulin sensitivity and improving your pancreatic beta cell function — thus, decreasing your risk for diabetes⁸. A 5% weight loss also leads to improvement to your blood pressure and your triglyceride, which are both significant risk factors for heart disease and stroke⁸.
Not sure if you can achieve a 5% weight loss, or is weight loss not a resolution for you this year? You may want to add it to your list of New Year’s Resolutions if you suffer from any of these health issues below:
- Gout — There is strong scientific evidence that shows weight loss can impact gout development and prevent gout attacks³.
- Psoriasis – Weight loss can affect psoriasis severity and improve health-related quality of life⁴.
- Rheumatoid/Psoriatic Arthritis — The effectiveness of certain medications for psoriatic arthritis (biologics) can be optimized by achieving a 5% weight loss⁵. Studies have shown that you are more likely to achieve a minimal disease state when you achieve weight loss while on these medications.
- Low Testosterone — Recent scientific literature shows that weight loss of 10% leads to a statistically significant increase in testosterone levels⁶ ⁷.
Keep in mind that the list above is only a select few of the many diseases processes that are improved with sustained weight loss.
Aside from the apparent health benefits I listed above, a minimal 5% weight loss over 1 year is a goal that is reasonable and achievable. Don’t set the bar so high that you become easily discouraged if you don’t reach it right away. Promising yourself that you’ll go to the gym every day or eat salad 7 times a week is much more difficult to follow. Set a goal for the weight you want to be in 12 months; and, read up and experiment on the different actions (nutrition, exercise) you can follow to reach this goal. Stick with it.
Ninety percent of New Years Resolutions fail — yours doesn’t have to.
If you are curious about my references, please see below:
1. Messier S, Mihalko S, Legault C et al. Effects of Intensive Diet and Exercise on Knee Joint Loads, Inflammation, and Clinical Outcomes Among Overweight and Obese Adults With Knee Osteoarthritis. JAMA. 2013;310(12):1263. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.277669
2. Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin. New England Journal of Medicine. 2002;346(6):393–403. doi:10.1056/nejmoa012512
3. Nielsen S, Bartels E, Henriksen M et al. Weight loss for overweight and obese individuals with gout: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Ann Rheum Dis. 2017;76(11):1870–1882. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2017–211472
4. Jensen P, Zachariae C, Christensen R et al. Effect of Weight Loss on the Severity of Psoriasis. JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(7):795. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.722
5. Di Minno M, Peluso R, Iervolino S, Russolillo A, Lupoli R, Scarpa R. Weight loss and achievement of minimal disease activity in patients with psoriatic arthritis starting treatment with tumour necrosis factor α blockers. Ann Rheum Dis. 2013;73(6):1157–1162. doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012–202812
6. Camacho E, Huhtaniemi I, O’Neill T et al. Age-associated changes in hypothalamic–pituitary–testicular function in middle-aged and older men are modified by weight change and lifestyle factors: longitudinal results from the European Male Ageing Study. Eur J Endocrinol. 2013;168(3):445–455. doi:10.1530/eje-12–0890
7. Corona G, Rastrelli G, Monami M et al. Body weight loss reverts obesity-associated hypogonadotropic hypogonadism: a meta-analytic study. Endocrine Abstracts. 2013. doi:10.1530/endoabs.32.p758
8. Magkos F, Fraterrigo G, Yoshino J et al. Effects of Moderate and Subsequent Progressive Weight Loss on Metabolic Function and Adipose Tissue Biology in Humans with Obesity. Cell Metab. 2016;23(4):591–601. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.02.005