If you need to lose weight, you don’t need to lose much to realize health benefits. A modest reduction in your BMI reduces your risk for a list of chronic illnesses. What’s more, you can still collect those benefits ten years later, even if you gain the weight back.
Drug-free weight loss strategy
The Diabetes Prevention Program is a national study investigating treatment alternatives other than drugs to help people lose weight. The study included 3,000 overweight people with impaired glucose tolerance—a pre-diabetic condition—who were trained to change their behavior rather than take weight loss drugs.
The prescribed weight loss strategy included keeping a food journal to track all the food eaten throughout the day and keeping unhealthy food out of the kitchen. The participants also worked with trainers who helped them become more physically active.
Diabetes risk plummets
Reinforcing a healthy lifestyle made a huge difference in diabetes prevention. The amount of weight participants lost was modest—14 pounds, on average. But that was enough to reduce a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Researchers also noted that the health benefits—ranging from better cardiovascular heath to more mobility—lasted up to 10 years even for people who had gained the weight back in that time period.
According to lead researcher Dr. Rena wing, losing just 10 percent of your body weight is enough to realize concrete, long-term health benefits. Slow and steady is the best way to lose weight, and losing 20 pounds in a year is a realistic goal for someone who weighs 200 pounds and is overweight.
Lose 20 pounds in a year easily
Cutting calories too fast slows the metabolism and makes losing weight more difficult. Losing 20 pounds in a year equates to just 1.67 pounds a month. Because one pound equals about 3,500 calories, about 5,845 calories need to be cut each month. This seems quite reasonable when the math equals a reduction of just 180 calories a day.
Cutting 180 calories a day is as easy as avoiding the extra calories in junk food. According to the Department of Agriculture, an ounce of corn chips contains 153 calories and 12 oz. of cola has 155 calories.
The pace is gradual. Keep track of your calories because your body will need fewer calories as you lose weight. If you fall behind the pace, reduce calories slightly or exercise more frequently until you regain equilibrium.