Benefits of 5-10

It is again a New Year with new and unknown possibilities and challenges. People often want to begin the year with the resolution of losing a lot of weight and getting healthier. People think that they need to lose dozens of pounds or even hundreds to improve their health. Actually, that is not the case. Lets talk about the benefits of 5-10.

Research has shown that you do not have to reach your ideal body weight to have optimal health. In fact, a weight loss of 5-10 % of your initial body weight can bring about marked improvements in health. For example, someone who weighs 200 lbs. and is 5 feet 3 inches in height achieves a 20 lb. weight loss and, thus, weighs 180 lbs. Technically, this person is still considered obese by measurement of the BMI. However, this weight loss can result in the following:

An increase in HDL (the good form of cholesterol); on average, a 5-10% weight loss can result in at least a 5 point increase in HDL; with HDL, the higher the better.

An improvement in Blood Pressure; on average, a 5-10% weight loss can reduce blood pressure by at least 5mmHg.

A reduction in Triglyceride levels; high triglycerides are associated with Diabetes Type 2, Heart Attacks, and Stroke.

An improvement in HgbA1c; a 5-10% weight loss can result in at least a 0.5 point decrease usually much more. HgbA1c reflects what your blood sugars have been running for the previous 3 months.

A reduction in Inflammation; the fat cell produces inflammatory chemicals that are involved in disease processes. These inflammatory chemicals can bring about damage to blood vessels leading to heart disease and stroke as well as joint destruction. A modest weight loss will decrease this inflammatory process.

So, instead of committing to a huge weight loss this year, start with small changes and build upon them. Keep your goals realistic and work on making positive lifestyle changes. The goal is to develop healthier habits that will be maintained. In the process, you will lose an amount of weight that can positively impact our health!

Here is an example of what can happen with a 10% weight loss. This person was able to normalize his Blood Pressure, his Triglycerides and his Diabetes with this modest degree of weight loss. 

40 year old - Male - 70 inches tall
Weight / BMI 220 lbs / 33 200 lbs / 30
HgbA1c 7.5 5.6
BP 140 / 90 124 / 84
Triglycerides 422 150

Kathleen Baskett, MD is the Medical Director of Weight Management at St. Vincent Healthcare. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the author of “Moving Forward: The Weigh to a Healthier Weight”.