Losing Weight in the New Year

Senior woman on exercise machine chatting with a friend


Did you make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight? If so, you’ve got lots of company. According to Statistic Brain, the #1 resolution for most people is to lose weight. If you’re one of the millions of people trying to lose weight this year, congratulations! Losing weight can go a long way in improving your overall health and well-being. Here are some just some of the ways losing weight can improve your life.

Your risk for many diseases will drop

According to the National Institutes of Health, being overweight can greatly raise your risk of many diseases. Shedding those extra pounds can, in many cases, immediately cut your risk for:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Some cancers

You’ll be less prone to injury

In a study conducted by Ohio State University, researchers discovered that the higher a person’s body mass index (BMI), the more likely they were to have an injury, such as a fall. Falls account for over 70 percent of ER visits for older adults and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are the leading cause of injury in the elderly.

Your memory may improve

In a study of obese people conducted at Kent State University, study participants were divided into two groups – one had gastric bypass surgery, the other didn’t. After 12 weeks, both groups took a set of memory tests, similar to ones taken before the study began. The surgery patients, who lost an average of 50 pounds, showed improvement in a number of cognitive abilities, including memory. Those who had not had the surgery showed a mild decline in memory. Additionally, obesity has been shown to be one of the risk factors in developing Alzheimer’s disease.

You’ll get a better night’s sleep

Obesity raises your risk for sleep disorders, including apnea, one of the most serious. Sleep disorders generally result in a lack of restful sleep, which produces more of the hormone ghrelin, which makes you hungry. The hungrier you are, the more you eat, which, in turn, decreases your chance of having a good night’s sleep – vicious circle. By losing weight, you’ll sleep better, increasing your chances of being less hungry. If you’re less hungry, you’ll eat less. If you eat less, you may lose weight.

You’ll have more energy

Imagine having to carry a 30-pound box of weights around all day. Being 30 pounds overweight has a similar effect, which includes being exhausted by the energy it takes to carry those extra pounds around. Shedding those pounds means your body has to work less hard, freeing up all kinds of energy – to do whatever your heart desires!

You may save money

Because of the greater risk of disease among people who are obese, their medical bills tend to be higher than those of people of normal weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person who’s obese has medical costs $1,429 higher per year than someone who maintains a normal weight.

So, if your goal is to lose weight this year, take in fewer calories, eat more nutritiously and start an exercise program. It’s always a good idea to talk to your physician before making any dietary changes or starting an exercise regimen. Additionally, if you’re still having trouble shedding those unwanted pounds, your doctor may be able to identify an underlying health issue that is making it difficult for you to lose weight.

Categories: Senior Health