Finding the motivation to lose weight can be hard. Everybody knows that when you get your weight down to a healthier level, you look better, you feel better, and you have fewer health risks.
And everybody knows that when you’re overweight, you have higher risks of diabetes, cancer, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, and other major medical problems.
But motivation is a funny thing. As it turns out, the most popular incentives — scary disease statistics and fitness vanity tips — aren’t very effective motivations to promote weight loss.
But there are better reasons to give you that motivation to lose weight. Have you thought of these benefits of losing weight?:
Motivation #1: Losing weight makes things easier on your joints
We tend not to think about arthritis much, until it starts to give us problems. And osteoarthritis is extremely common — everyone’s grampa has at least a tinge of arthritis pain. So we think it’s a normal part of aging.
Arthritis can be very painful and debilitating. Like so many chronic conditions, arthritis is a vicious cycle:
- Your joints hurt, so you move less.
- Moving less means your joints don’t get loaded.
- Less joint loading means muscle weakness.
- Muscle weakness means force doesn’t get cushioned correctly.
- Less cushion means the condition worsens.
- More osteoarthritis means more pain.
- And the downward spiral continues…
Being overweight makes it much more likely that you’ll get arthritis.
And if you do get it, it’s worse if you’re overweight.
So, your motivation to lose weight here is to reduce joint pain and arthritis symptoms.
Motivation #2: When you lose weight, your immune system works better
Body fat is actually an active part of the endocrine (hormone) system. With too much body fat, our hormones — and therefore our immune systems — get out of whack. Too much body fat can release large amounts of immune chemicals. This chronic high exposure can interfere with the body’s ability to spot and stop actual outside infections. And over time chronic high exposure can interfere with the body’s ability to spot and stop actual outside infections.
So your motivation here is to build a healthier, more robust immune system. This means fewer colds, fewer infections, and avoiding auto-immune problems.
Motivation #3: You’ll sleep better
A good night’s sleep isn’t just about feeling well-rested! Sleep is a major regulator of our metabolism. If our sleep is bad, so is our metabolic health.
Poor sleep means things like elevated inflammation, increased appetite, rapid cell aging, hormone disruption, and higher risk for all kinds of nasty chronic diseases.
A major deterrent to healthy sleep is sleep apnea — when you actually stop breathing, over and over, during the night. Sleep apnea is terrible for your quality of sleep, terrible for your brain in the morning, and terrible for your heart.
Overweight people are much more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than those who lose weight. Here are the shocking statistics:
5 percent weight gain = 250% increase of severe sleep apnea
10 percent weight gain = 650% increase of severe sleep apnea
20 percent weight gain = 3,700% increase of severe sleep apnea
More body fat means higher potential for sleep apnea. Here’s why:
- Fat in your airway narrows the space available. This makes your airway more prone to collapsing.
- Fat in your upper body puts weight on your lungs and reduces the space available to them. You need more oxygen but you can’t get it as well.
So your motivation to lose weight here is to get better sleep.
Motivation to lose weight #4: You’ll enjoy eating more
There is a relationship between excess body fat and craving sweet foods.
Research shows that being overweight actually changes your taste sensations towards rewarding fat/sugar stimulation and avoiding bitter vegetable flavors.
The good news is that tastes are changeable. Losing fat, getting fit, and consistently building healthy habits will actually change how you perceive flavors. In a good way.
One of the hallmarks of obesity is falling victim to sugar cravings, stress eating, and mindless emotional eating. But once we start to build healthier food habits, we tend to eat more purposefully. Purposeful eating leads to more enjoyment, as opposed to mindless gobbling that you didn’t even pay attention to!
Plus, when you enjoy healthy food, you’ll eat less of it but actually feel more satisfied.
So your motivation here is to actually enjoy what you eat.
Motivation #5: You’ll have more energy
Being overweight is a drain on all your energy systems. When you’re heavy, even simple physical tasks are more demanding. Your joints are stiffer, you get out of breath more quickly, and it takes longer to recover when you exert yourself.
When you lose weight, you’ll have more energy and have an easier time being both more productive and more active.
Here are some more ways to get motivated to lose weight
1. Focus on the small blessings and achievements of everyday life
“I can run around with my grandkids.”
“My random aches and pains have stopped.”
“I can walk the whole golf course now.”
“I have so much more energy.”
“I don’t get tired through the day.”
“My knees work again!”
2. Focus on incremental changes
“Getting down to your goal weight” and “Healthy at any size” are the two opposite extremes of the all-or-nothing approach to a healthy body weight.
Permanent improvements require a different approach: Small changes over long periods of time. Milestones, not grandiose goals or acceptance of an unhealthy state.
When you lose weight, your life often becomes easier and better. You’re a little more functional and mobile. A little more able.
Keep the focus on positive changes you can see in your life after just a few weeks.