Top tips for losing weight
“In this blog, Dr Lim invites his colleague, Dr Saira Hameed, who runs the successful Imperial Satiety Protocol (Sat Pro) weight loss program, to write on the benefits of weight loss”
The benefits of weight loss by Dr Saira Hameed
If you are overweight, then your doctor might have recommended weight loss as the elixir for improving your health and wellbeing. But what lies behind this recommendation? As a doctor working in one of the UK’s most highly specialised hospital weight clinics, I would like to answer this question by sharing with you my five top reasons for losing weight:
Weight loss improves and can even reverse type 2 diabetes:
If you have type 2 diabetes, this is likely to be due to carrying extra weight. You might recall that there was a past, lower weight, at which you did not have diabetes, but that when you crossed a particular weight threshold, you developed the condition. This observation is also a cause for optimism because it shows that if you row back by losing weight, (usually in the region of 10% of your overall body weight), you will once again cross this weight set-point and either substantially improve or, even better, reverse diabetes altogether. Living a life free of diabetes will pay dividends for your future health and life expectancy.
Weight loss lowers blood pressure:
High blood pressure has several causes, but if you are overweight, this will almost certainly be contributing. Numerous research studies have shown that weight loss will reduce your blood pressure and when your blood pressure falls, so too will your risk of having a stroke, a heart attack or developing kidney disease. What’s more, the reduction in blood pressure might mean your doctor advises stopping some or all of your blood pressure tablets, which will be a significant achievement, especially if you had previously been told that you would be on these medications for the rest of your life.
Weight loss reduces body inflammation:
Inflammation is a powerful body process that should be called on infrequently, for example, if you have an infection or you break a bone. In these situations, inflammation plays an important part in the body’s repair and healing processes. However, excess weight ramps up inflammation throughout the body and because you carry the excess weight every day, inflammation is switched on every day.
Long-term, this weight-driven inflammation causes damage to the body resulting in conditions such as cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Medical research has shown that weight loss reduces inflammation in the body, which will both prevent any further damage and might even allow previously damaged parts of the body to repair.
Weight loss decreases the chance of serious Covid-19 infection:
After his near-fatal Covid-19 illness last year, Boris Johnson explained that his condition had become so serious because I was too fat.’ It is now well recognised that weight plays an important part in how sick you will get if you contract Covid-19, with data showing that people who are obese have a 40 to 90 % higher chance of dying of Covid-19 compared with someone who is a healthy weight. While other risk factors for the severity of Covid-19 infection, such as age, gender and ethnicity are not modifiable, bodyweight is. For the Prime Minister and many others, Covid-19 is, therefore, another reason to lose weight, so that if you do contract the virus, your chance of becoming very ill or even dying from it is significantly reduced.
Weight loss will improve your mood:
Aside from weight-related physical health problems, being heavy also affects your mood. There can be many reasons for this including, disturbed sleep, reduced self-esteem, increased pain in the joints and negative responses from others. In addition, the inflammation generated by excess weight might also be a cause of depression. However, almost universally, when you lose weight, you will find that your mood, confidence and energy levels will significantly improve.
Very often I see this happen in a self-propelling ‘virtuous cycle’ which might look like: weight loss resulting in less joint pain, leading to you taking more exercise, which improves sleep quality, giving you more energy which brings you full circle to on-going weight loss and further mood and well-being improvements.
I have seen all five of these health outcomes first-hand in my patients who lose weight and I am confident that, by losing weight, you too will recognise these and many other physical and mental health benefits as well as an improved sense of ease and wellbeing.