The Benefits of Losing Weight

Woman exercising outside
adamkaz / Getty Images

Before you set a weight loss goal, it’s important to understand the benefits of losing weight. Understanding the wide range of weight loss benefits may help to keep you motivated during the challenging moments of your healthy eating and exercise program. Every weight loss journey hits a rough patch at some point.

To set yourself up for success, consider all of the different ways that losing weight may improve your social life, physical health, and psychological health. Make a list of the weight loss benefits that mean the most to you and keep it in your weight loss journal. Visit the list on the days when you feel discouraged.

Health Benefits

You don’t have to lose hundreds of pounds to enjoy the physical health benefits of weight loss. If you are currently overweight or obese, you may be able to lose just a small amount of weight to improve your overall health. In fact, some studies show that just a 5% to 10% decrease in your weight can affect your health. Losing weight can mean:

  • Decreased joint pain
  • Decreased risk of certain cancers
  • Decreased risk of diabetes
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Decreased risk of stroke
  • Decreased risk or improvement in symptoms of osteoarthritis
  • Decreased risk or improvement in symptoms of sleep apnea
  • Improved blood sugar levels
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Improved mobility
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced back pain

Your doctor can provide more personalized information about the health benefits you can expect to see when you lose weight. For example, you may be able to decrease or eliminate certain medications or reduce your risk of disease.

Your doctor may also be able to provide a recommendation or referral to a registered dietitian or physical therapist to help you build a healthy weight loss program.

Lifestyle Benefits

In addition to the health benefits, you may also experience an improved lifestyle if you lose weight. People who have successfully lost weight report:

  • Better sleep
  • Decreased stress
  • Greater confidence
  • Improved body image
  • Improved energy
  • Improved mood
  • Improved sex life
  • Improved vitality
  • More active social life

While working out comes with many health and lifestyle benefits, it also boasts many mental health advantages. A 2019 scientific review determined that exercise can be as effective for treating depression as other first-line treatments and is vastly underutilized as a treatment method.

Another 2013 article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry explored the connection between physical activity and anxiety. Researchers found that the addition of exercise leads to an increase in self-efficacy and improves a person's ability to feel confident in their success. Article authors also found that exercise may function as a distraction from anxiety, reducing symptoms of anxiety by helping a person focus on other actions.

Weight Loss and Your Relationships

The health and lifestyle benefits may be enough to motivate you to stick to a weight-loss program. But some people also try to lose weight to improve the quality of their relationships.

This is an area where the benefits of losing weight get tricky. While some people have better relationships after weight loss, losing weight solely to make someone else happy is not always a smart idea. There may be other relationship problems that weight loss won't solve, and when you diet or exercise to make someone else happy, you might lose weight in the beginning, but the weight often comes back.

Having social support can certainly have a positive impact on your weight loss journey, but to ensure long-term success, make sure that ultimately, you're losing weight for yourself and your personal goals.

Healthy Weight Loss Tips

Everyone's weight loss journey is unique, but there are certain tips that can help you begin yours:

  • Set goals. At the beginning of your weight loss journey, set S.M.A.R.T goals to help you map out your process. Take the time to detail how you want to feel, make sure you know how to track your progress, and keep your goals realistic for the timeline and your current lifestyle.
  • Calculate calorie needs. Once you've set your goals, use a weight loss calculator to measure your daily calorie goal. Depending on your age, sex, height, current weight, goal weight, and how active you currently are, the calculator will help you determine the goal number of calories you should consume each day.
  • Reduce calories. In order to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn, creating a calorie deficit. Reduce your caloric intake to initiate this calorie deficit, helping your body create and burn energy by using stored fat.
  • Exercise. Diet and movement are two critical components of weight loss. Adding exercise into your weight loss routine can help to accelerate progress. Follow a guide to exercise for beginners or launch an at-home workout routine to start incorporating exercise into your day.
  • Keep a weight loss journal. A weight loss journal, whether it's an old-fashioned paper-and-pen method or a smartphone app, helps you log your food intake, exercise, sleep, and progress throughout your journey. You can note your progress, as well as your emotional and mental health, to see how you're working toward your goal.
  • Get support. Finding a community can help motivate you and keep you accountable on your journey. Whether you enlist the help of family and friends or choose a digital weight loss support group, you'll stay connected with people who can encourage you on easy and tough days.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the health benefits of working out besides weight loss?

Beyond weight loss, exercise offers many health benefits. Regular physical activity helps improve your cardiovascular health and can prevent heart disease. It can manage your blood glucose levels, preventing diabetes, and can lower high blood pressure. Working out can also boost your sex life and libido, can provide you with added energy, and can even increase your overall mood.

Beyond physical health benefits, it can also help fight anxiety and stress and can improve your self-confidence.

What are the benefits of drinking water when losing weight?

Incorporating more water into your daily routine, or replacing sugary and alcoholic drinks with water can help increase weight loss. Increasing your water intake is a powerful weight loss tool and can help you cut empty calories from your diet while keeping you fuller longer.

What are the benefits of losing 5% of your body weight?

Moderate weight loss of 5% to 10% of your body weight can still result in significant health improvements. A study published in 2016 found that adults with obesity who lost 5% of their body weight had a lower risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. The same 5% loss in body weight also led to metabolic improvements in the liver and muscles.

A Word From Verywell

If you decide that there are significant reasons for you to lose weight, then there's no time like the present to start your weight loss journey. Your first step should be to set a reasonable goal. Then, make small changes to your daily routine and eating habits. Ask for weight loss help from your healthcare provider and friends and family to make the process easier.

Was this page helpful?
6 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Losing weight. Updated February 4, 2020.

  2. Swencionis C, Wylie-Rosett J, Lent MR, et al. Weight change, psychological well-being, and vitality in adults participating in a cognitive-behavioral weight loss program. Health Psychol. 2013;32(4):439-46. doi:10.1037/a0029186

  3. Belvederi Murri M, Ekkekakis P, Magagnoli M, et al. Physical exercise in major depression: Reducing the mortality gap while improving clinical outcomesFront Psychiatry. 2019;9:762. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00762

  4. Anderson E, Shivakumar G. Effects of exercise and physical activity on anxietyFront Psychiatry. 2013;4. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00027

  5. Magkos F, Fraterrigo G, Yoshino J, et al. Effects of moderate and subsequent progressive weight loss on metabolic function and adipose tissue biology in humans with obesityCell Metabolism. 2016;23(4):591-601. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.02.005

  6. Gardner J, Kjolhaug J, Linde JA, Sevcik S, Lytle LA. Teaching goal-setting for weight-gain prevention in a college population: Insights from the CHOICES study. J Health Educ Teach. 2013;4(1):39-49.

Additional Reading