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5%, 10% or 15%: How Much Weight Should I Lose?

Obesity is a multifactorial disease that affects one’s health in different ways. Obesity has become a pandemic and in today’s modern world, children are also not spared by obesity.

As per WHO, if obesity is not treated or managed on time, it can cause severe health issues like cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, certain cancers and infertility. However, losing even 5% of the total body weight can improve these health conditions.1

Let’s read about how much weight loss affects primary health conditions.

Losing Weight for Multiple Health Benefits

The advisable amount of weight to lose depends upon individual health concerns. However, losing even 5% of your total body weight can show significant health benefits. Losing even a small amount of weight can improve the quality of life and reduce the risk of future complications.

Many people with obesity are confused about the right amount of weight to lose and what number will improve a specific health condition. However, stating a fixed number on the weighing scale is not ideal. You can begin by aiming to lose 5% of your total weight and gradually increase it to 10% and 15%.

This blog covers the amount of weight you need to lose to see specific health improvements. If you plan to start a new weight loss treatment, this blog will help you to gain more information on how to approach and improve a particular health concern. Keep reading to learn about these parameters.

Health Benefits of Losing 5-10% Weight

Losing even a small percentage of your total weight gain can be beneficial to different health markers. Losing 5% of the weight is accepted as clinically meaningful, whereas 5-10% weight loss is considered as a medically supervised goal.

It might look like a small number but it is a great way to start your weight loss journey.

Various health benefits of losing 5-10% of weight include:

    1. Reduced Risk of Type-2 Diabetes:
      Losing even 5% of your total weight can lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. It improves blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of other related severe complications.
    2. Improved Heart Health:
      Obesity is linked to several cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. Losing even 10% of your body weight shows improvements in triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure3 that are related to heart health.
    3. Improved Osteoarthritis of Knee:
      One complication associated with obesity is osteoarthritis of the knee. One study concluded that with each pound of weight lost, there was a 4-fold reduction in the load exerted on each knee during every step.4
    4. Reduced Obesity-Related Inflammation:
      People with obesity have immune activation along with chronic inflammation. It can have a negative impact on the progression of chronic diseases. Weight loss, in this case, can reduce inflammation and prevent chronic diseases.
    5. Reduced Cancer Risk:
      Weight loss reduced estrogen serum concentrations and other potential breast cancer risk factors.5 Moreover, women who lose even 5-10% of total weight experience fewer menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats over a year.
    6. Promotes Better Sleep and Reduced Sleep Apnea:
      A study proved that obesity could cause sleep problems like insomnia, sleepiness, restless sleep, etc.6 Weight loss treatment is a recommended treatment option for sleep apnea.
      Losing even 5-10% of body fat, especially abdominal fat, improves sleep quality.
    7. Improved PCOS Symptoms:
      Women with PCOS experience menstrual irregularities, excess androgen and metabolic dysfunction. Studies show that losing even a minimum of 2-5% of weight can regulate ovulation and help conceive naturally.7
Health Benefits of Losing 10-15% Weight

If you are dealing with obesity and wish to lose weight, now is always the best time to start. If you have other obesity-related complications like hypertension, low sex drive, stress, urinary incontinence, memory issues, excess sugar cravings, etc., weight loss workouts can help address those issues and improve your health.

If you can make significant and consistent lifestyle changes, you can reap maximum weight loss results.

Various health benefits of losing 10%-15% of weight include:

  1. Reduced Hypertension:
    A study on the connection between weight loss and hypertension concluded that 1kg of weight loss resulted in a reduction of 1mmHg blood pressure.8 Weight loss also improved heart health and other cardiovascular risk factors.
  2. Improved Sexual Satisfaction:
    Past research showed a strong correlation between increased BMI and sexual dysfunction. Losing even 10% weight has positive results on sexual life. Studies showed that this amount of weight loss improved erectile function in men9 and sexual disorders in women.10
  3. Reduced Urinary Incontinence:
    Overweight women experience increased episodes of stress urinary incontinence. Weight loss reduced these episodes and improved the condition. Diet and exercise help overweight women to prevent urinary incontinence in the future.11
  4. Improved Immune System:
    Obesity directly connects with impairing your immune function and increasing the risk of other health diseases. However, losing around 10% of your weight can reduce inflammation-causing immune cells.
    Weight loss improves immune function and keeps you healthy.
  5. Reduced Mortality:
    Obesity and its related complications claim several lives every year. Diseases like hypertension, cardiovascular disease are severe complications associated with obesity. However, it was found in a study that losing 10% of the total body weight can reduce mortality significantly.
  6. Reduced Sugar Cravings:
    People with obesity have frequent cravings for high-calorie food. However, in a study, people who lost around 14.6% weight showed a reduced preference for sugary foods. It means that losing 15% of the total body weight can reduce your sugar cravings and keep obesity at bay.12
  7. Reduced Chronic Diseases:
    With a decrease in the risk of high blood pressure, high sugar levels, infertility, and sleep apnea, 10-15% of weight loss reduces the risk of developing chronic disease. If you get an obesity treatment on time, there are reduced chances of getting obesity-related complications.

In conclusion, losing even a small amount of weight can benefit you in several ways. If you have a particular health condition mentioned above, you now know that losing weight is a good point to start making improvements to your health.

There is no shortcut to losing weight, and a healthy weight loss starts with patience. You need to keep a long-term mindset to see good results.

If you are dealing with obesity, it is best to plan your weight loss journey in consultation with a weight loss doctor or specialist.

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Reference Links:

  1. Williamson DA et al, Is 5% weight loss a satisfactory criterion to define clinically significant weight loss? Obesity (Silver Spring) 2015 Dec;23(12):2319–20.
  2. Ryan D et al, Guidelines (2013) for managing overweight and obesity in adults. Preface to the full report. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Jul;22 Suppl 2:S1-3.
  3. Wing RR et al. Benefits of modest weight loss in improving cardiovascular risk factors in overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2011;34:1481–1486.
  4. Messier SP et al,  Weight loss reduces knee-joint loads in overweight and obese older adults with knee osteoarthritis. ARTHRITIS & RHEUMATISM. 2004;52(7):2026–2032.
  5. Tamimi, RM et al, “Combined E and T Use and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women.” July 24, 2006. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166(14):1483-1489.
  6. Losing Weight, Especially in the Belly, Improves Sleep Quality, According to a Johns Hopkins Study” John Hopkins Medicine
  7. Kiddy DS et al. Improvement in endocrine and ovarian function during dietary treatment of obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 1992;36:105.
  8. Neter, JE et al. “Influence of Weight Reduction on Blood Pressure – A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” September 15, 2003. Hypertension. 2003;42:878–884
  9. Wing R et al. Effects of weight loss intervention on erectile function in older men with type 2 diabetes in the Look AHEAD trial. Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2010;7(1 Pt 1):156–65.
  10. Wing RR et al. Sexual Dysfunction Subgroup of the Look AHEAD Research Group Effect of intensive lifestyle intervention on sexual dysfunction in women with type 2 diabetes: results from an ancillary Look AHEAD study. Diab Care. 2013;36:2937–2944.
  11. Phelan S et al. Weight loss prevents urinary incontinence in women with type 2 diabetes: results from the Look AHEAD trial. J Urol. 2012;187:939–44.
  12. Nishihara, T et al. “Effects of Weight Loss on Sweet Taste Preference and Palatability following Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Women with Obesity.” Obesity facts vol. 12,5 (2019): 529-542.
  13. Ryan DH, Yockey SR. Weight Loss and Improvement in Comorbidity: Differences at 5%, 10%, 15%, and Over. Curr Obes Rep. 2017;6(2):187-194. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0262-y