What is weight loss?
Weight loss is when you reduce your body weight due to a decrease in body fat, muscle mass, or fluid (water) content. It can be intentional, as in cases of diet and exercise, or unintentional, often due to underlying health conditions.
Intentional weight loss refers to the purposeful and planned effort undertaken by individuals to achieve a healthier body weight through a combination of balanced diet, regular physical activity, and lifestyle adjustments. This proactive approach aims to improve overall well-being, enhance physical fitness, and reduce the risks associated with excess body weight.
But it’s important not to obsess just over the number on the scale. Factors such as how your fat is distributed, your genetic predisposition, and your health overall also play a role. In fact, increasing muscle mass can help you burn more calories, because muscles require more energy to build and maintain than fat does.
Risks of being overweight
In addition to reduced quality of life caused by limited mobility, being overweight or obese carries several health risks including:
- Heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems
- Certain Cancers including breast, colon, kidney, and endometrial cancer
- Respiratory and sleep issues including reduced lung function and sleep apnea
- Joint problems including osteoarthritis and joint pain
- Fatty liver disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and gallbladder disease
- Reproductive and fertility issues in both men and women.
- Mental health issues including low self-esteem, body image issues, and an increased risk of depression and anxiety
Benefits to losing weight
If you’re overweight, losing weight will give you more energy and reduce your risk of the issues listed above, most notably heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But for many, it is the boost to self-confidence, self-esteem, and body image that motivates them most.